Rye

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.

EAT

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.

DRINK

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!

PLAY

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.

STAY

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.

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The Cotswolds

The quaintest countryside towns you ever did see! The Cotswolds offer stunning vistas of magical, sheep-dotted farms and hills. Visit the Cotswolds any time of year. Driving is the easiest, but it is possible to train from London to Moreton-on-Marsh, with a stopover in Oxford.

If you are driving from London, carve out a few hours to tour the great house and grounds of World Heritage site Blenheim Palace, Winston Churchill’s ancestral home.

EAT

The Cotswold Cheese Company With locations in Moreton-on-Marsh, Stow-on-the-Wold and Burford, this shop stocks locally made farmhouse and artisan cheeses. Try the Stilton!

The Cotswold Chocolate Company Locally, handmade chocolates with natural ingredients. Shops in Broadway and Stow-on-the-Wold.

The Peacock Oxhill 15th century pub a 10 minute drive from the villages of Upper and Lower Tysoe in the northern Cotswolds. Great for lunch or dinner.

The Swan Pub + Restaurant 16th century pub (with a remaining, exposed wall!) in Broadway with delicious food and an outdoor garden.

Sweet Memory’s Homemade fudge in Bourton-on-the-Water.

DRINK

The Bell Inn Traditional pub in Moreton-in-Marsh’s with an outdoor beer garden. The pub is rumored to have served as inspiration for J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Prancing Pony” pub in Middle Earth.

Lucy’s Tea Room Adorable spot in Stow-on-the-Wold. Take tea in the garden.

Lygon Wine Bar Chic, cozy wine bar in Broadway with a roaring fire.

The Swan Hotel in Bibury Peaceful place for afternoon tea on the River Coln in the picturesque town of Bibury. Try the local trout.

PLAY

Broadway Tower This one mile, uphill hike from Broadway’s high street to the Cotswold’s tallest castle offers stunning views of the town below.

Hike through the villages and countryside Many of the villages are near each other and connected by trails. Stow-on-the-Wold, the Slaughters, and Bourton-on-the-Water are all within easy walking distance from each other.

Shop the medieval, honeycomb-colored villages Visitors will be treated to local, homemade specialties, including jams, honeys, chutneys, mustards and more.

St. Edward’s Church in Stow-on-the-Wold The medieval church’s west door is said to have captured J.R.R. Tolkien’s imagination in creating “The Doors of Durin”.

STAY

AirBnB a cozy cottage We’ve enjoyed stays at Honeysuckle Cottage in Tysoe and Old Sheepcote in Broadway.

Old Farm This 15th century B&B is a working farm and a mile’s walk through sheep fields to the Moreton-in-Marsh town and train station.

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