Top 5 things to do in Rye, East Sussex

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If you’re looking for a relaxing day out or a restful weekend, I highly recommend visiting Rye in East Sussex. From London it takes about 1.5 hours to drive and there are plenty of parking spaces available around the town.  We went for a whole weekend and stayed in a pretty little cottage just on the outskirts of Rye, but there are a tonne of bed and breakfast / hotels for you to stay in if you’d like to be nearer the action.

Within minutes of walking along the pretty streets you’ll literally feel your stresses and worries melting away. It feels like you step back in time, everything works at a slower pace and it’s so very peaceful.  Here are my top 5 things to do, if you’re considering a trip.

  1. Walk along Mermaid Street

This quaint little cobbled street is an absolute must visit. There is so much to see!  It seems that every house has it’s own little story. It can get quite touristy during the day and there are a lot of guided tours walking up and down (if that’s your kind of thing worth a look) so can get very busy! My big tip is to hang around until 5pm when the road empties and you can get great photos, free of people.

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2. Visit Rye Castle

If you’re looking for a bit of history, Rye is full of it.  The Castle (otherwise know as the Ypres Tower) was built in 1249 and has been home to a prison, a court hall and it’s original purpose as a Fort. It has also been a private dwelling too. It’s now a mini museum and you get to explore all three levels at your own leisure – including some outdoor space too. It’s open 7 days a week and costs £4 for adults. Children under 16 are free as long as there is an adult with them.   Inside you get to see some of the history of the castle and in the basement there is a dressing up area for kids (and some adults lol). We really enjoyed our visit here and the staff were incredible.

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3. Have a drink in The Mermaid Inn

This pub dates from 1420 and is as quaint as it comes!  There are stories that it was the base for the Hawkhurst gang of smugglers back in the 1700’s. There are also rumours of it being haunted, but thankfully I cannot confirm this! They have some really great local ciders and beers & the staff are really knowledgeable. We stayed for a drink but they also serve food which looks delicious. The mere fact it dates back to 1420 is worth a visit!

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4. Do a bit of Shopping

One of my favourite pastimes haha – the majority of shops in Rye are geared towards collectables and antiques which I love. There is a lot of unique shops and the one that caught my eye was called “Christmas Comes Early” – basically a shop dedicated to Christmas all year round! Perfect for me. They had a small selection of tree decorations and some lights, was a nice find. You’ll easily be able to find gifts for loved ones including the usual mugs, magnets and boxes of fudge.

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5. St Mary’s Church

With 900 years of history, this church has some stories to tell. My favourite was when in 1377, the church was set on fire by French invaders. They stole the church bells and took them to France. In retaliation and on a recovery mission, men from Rye sailed over to Normady and stole the bells back setting fire to two French Towns in the process.

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Rye is really a beautiful place and well worth a visit this summer if you can.

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