Stay at home: Rye

From hillside homes and cobbled lanes to vintage warehouses and Scandi cafes, Rye is both overwhelmingly quaint and refreshingly on trend

By Josephine Price
Published 9 Apr 2019, 00:17 BST, Updated 20 Jul 2021, 11:36 BST
Mermaid Street, in the English town of Rye

Mermaid Street, in the English town of Rye

Photograph by Getty Images

What to do

Vintage shopping — from Wishbarn Antiques to McCully and Crane, Rye is heaven for homeware hunters. The town is full of independent stores. In fact, you'll be hard-pushed to find a chain. Drop by The Fig for a coffee break amid Scandi-style designs.

Where to eat

95% of ingredients used in The Gallivant's kitchen are sourced from fishermen and farmers who live and work within 10 miles of the hotel.

Where to stay

Roaring fires, roll top baths and sheepskin throws await you at The Gallivant, which offers spacious, well-appointed rooms. Plus, it's only a stone's throw from the impressive dunes of Camber Sands.

We like

Mermaid Street is regularly touted as one of the prettiest roads in Britain. Start at the bottom of the hill and work your way up, past the affectionately named House with Two Doors and The House Opposite. The Mermaid Inn, dating back to the 15th century, was once the drinking den of choice for smugglers but today entertains more refined groups around its open fire. At The Parish Church of St Mary, climb the tower to gaze out over mossy roofs, the quaint harbour and Romney Marshes.

Don't miss

The ancient town of Winchelsea and its architectural quirks sit on an outcrop above marshes. Stock up on local produce at the farm shop, visit the Black Cat Gallery and swing by the Church of St Thomas the Martyr to see Spike Milligan's grave. Check out his Gaelic epitaph, translated as: 'I told you I was ill'.

Published in the Jan/Feb 2017 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)


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