Perched on a hill, the medieval town of Rye seems almost suspended in time. It’s small enough to make you feel at home but holds enough secrets to warrant further exploration. Whereas many towns boast a colourful history but have little evidence of it, Rye has many ancient and interesting buildings that bear testimony to an eventful past.
The historic centre, known as the Citadel, sitting atop the rocky outcrop, is easy to explore by foot. At its heart stands the Church of St Mary the Virgin. Don't miss the view from the top of the tower, the highest part of Rye and for centuries the town's lookout. Overlooking Lion Street is an antique clock dating from 1561, with its mechanism, including 18-foot long pendulum, viewable on the way up the tower.
As you wander around Rye's cobbled streets, look out for local landmarks like the Ypres Tower (the castle) and Landgate Arch. Some of the old buildings are now enjoying new uses such as the working pottery in the former Augustinian Friary in Conduit Hill and the record shop in the old Grammar School on the High Street. The Town Hall in Market Street and the Mermaid Inn are still being used for their original purpose, several centuries after being built.
Mermaid Street is peppered with ancient buildings, with strange names such as, 'The House Opposite', 'The House with the Seat' and 'The House with Two Front Doors'. Even the sea is a little wayward - it retreated from the town years ago, leaving Rye feeling a little bemused - a seaside town where the sea is almost two miles away…
Check out the relaxing selection of places to rest your head in this historic town. Choose from Rye Hotels, B&B's, Guest Houses or Self Catering cottages.
Claim to fame: Henry James lived in Lamb House and wrote Wings of a Dove, The Golden Bowl, and The Ambassadors during his stay. He was one of several authors to have success while living there. E F Benson, also lived there. He wrote the Mapp and Lucia books and based the town Tillingham on Rye. He was also the town's Mayor. Author and Illustrator Mabel Lucie Atwell lived in Rye during the 1920s.
For more information on Rye, visit Rye Bay website