One of the prettiest and best-preserved medieval market towns in the United Kingdom, Rye is a few hours east of London in Sussex. This former port town is mere miles from the seaside and picture postcard perfect. Rye has it all with a nearby nature reserve and beach, charming cobble-stoned streets, antique boutiques and adorable pubs. A trip to Rye is a lovely way to spend a weekend.
Take a Southeastern train line from London St. Pancras Station to Rye Station in 1 to 2 hours, depending on the service. If you are coming from London and have a bike, bring it! Biking is the perfect way to traverse the three miles from the town to the nature reserve and coast.
Marino’s Fish Bar Classic fish and chips in a humble establishment.
The Mermaid Inn This restaurant, pub and inn dates back to the 12th century (though the current building was built in the 15th). It’s on the prettiest street in Rye, and maybe the United Kingdom, wethinks.
Rye Waterworks Micropub This 300 year old former water-pump is now a teensy craft brewery. Super friendly local vibe.
The Ship Inn A 16th-century inn and pub just a block from the River Brede. Apparently it used to be a halfway house for smugglers.
Ye Olde Bell Inn It calls itself the oldest pub in Rye!
Camber Sands This beach and dune area is three miles away but an easy bus ride from Rye. Recommended by a friend.
Mermaid Street Perhaps the most charming street in England, it is lined with medieval, Shakespearean style buildings.
Rye Harbour Natural Reserve This local nature reserve is over 1000 acres and was an important historic fortification in the 14th, 16th and 20th centuries. Buses travel regularly from Rye Station to Rye Harbour village and Winchelsea Beach near the Reserve.
St Mary’s Church A church has stood on this site for more than 900 years. Climb the bell tower for a gorgeous view of the town and sea and explore the ancient graveyard.
Strand Quay Great vintage, knick knack and homeware shopping.
Ypres Tower and Rye Castle This 13th century castle is now a quaint little museum. There is also a pretty view from the top of the tower of the coast.
Rye is an easy day trip from London but we’d recommend an overnight stay. Choose a quaint Airbnb within walking distance of the tiny town or the nature reserve. Alternatively, Rye Windmill is a historical bed and breakfast just a short walk from the town center. Recommended by a friend.