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East Sussex village found on the A268 and on the A259, 11 miles east of Hastings. Features a Heritage Centre, Castle Museum and Ypres Tower.

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    6 Reviews
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      20.09.2013 11:52
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      On 10th September 2013 I visited a historical town named Rye in south eastern of England. The highlight of the visit was St Mary's Church.

      Brief information about Rye and St Mary's Church:

      Rye is an ancient town in East Sussex, England. In medieval times Rye was a very important settlement. Its historical roots made it a popular tourist destination. St Mary's Church is one you must see when you visit Rye.

      St Mary's Church has an over 900 year history and is dedicated to St Mary the Virgin. Dominating the hill on which the old town of Rye locates, St Mary's Church has been the most recognisable sight of Rye.

      What to see in St Mary's Church:

      For tourist the visit of the building starts from the North Transept.

      (1) The Clare Chapel

      Entering the entrance and turning to the left through the 14th century carved screen you walk in the Clare Chapel. There are two original Quarter Boys in golden colour standing in the first window. The grave of Allen Grebell can be seen in the Clare Chapel. Inside there is a doorway into the Chancel.

      (2) The Chancel

      The Chancel has two Norman Aumbries behind the High Altar. They are some of the oldest parts of the church. There is a 1901 Organ nearby too.

      (3) The Crossing

      In the Crossing you can see an 18ft long pendulum of the clock which dates from 1810. The clock itself dates from 1561-2 and is one of the oldest working church tower clocks in UK.

      (4) The Nave

      The Nave has two beautiful windows in the west and south. They were donated by E.F Benson in memory of his parents and brother. In the south end of the Nave you can see some of the stonework were damaged by the fire in 1377, when the French raided Rye and set fire to the town and the Church.

      Opening times and prices:

      St Mary's Church is open daily from 9am-6pm (4pm in winter) for sightseeing. The tower is also open daily and can be climbed, for a charge, to see the clock mechanism, the bells and a wonderful view of Rye and the surrounding countryside. St Mary's Church has regular services too.

      Conclusion: 

      I really enjoyed my visit of St Mary's Church. It helped me know more history about the old town of Rye. I also felt the peace of Christian religion fulfilled in the church.

      For more tourist sites please visit my blog: http://blossom-iwanttoseetheworld.blogspot.co.uk/

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      26.02.2012 19:17
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      Great place to spend the weekend doing lots, or doing nothing!

      Rye is a small medieval town in East Sussex., with a population of about 5,000. It is one of the original Cinque Ports, a series of towns along the Kent and Sussex coast formed for military and trade purposes, although Rye itself is 2 miles from the sea. Smuggling has played a huge part of Rye's history. The Mermaid Inn and The Olde Bell Inn were apparently connected by a secret underground passageway from the cellars, and the Ship Inn was built in 1592 as a warehouse to store contraband seized from smugglers.

      My husband and I recently visited for a weekend, staying at the historic Mermaid Inn. We drove down from London on the Friday night - a fairly easy drive once we had got under the Blackwall Tunnel - arriving in Rye just after 6pm.

      Upon arriving in Rye, we followed Tom Toms directions to the hotel with not really a clue where we were going. We finally got to the hotel and found that the car park was full (we knew parking was on a first come first served basis) but luckily found a parking space just at the bottom of the hill with no parking restrictions over the weekend. Mermaid Street is a beautiful narrow cobbled street. It is very difficult to walk on, and I am glad I didn't have to do it in heels! There is a narrow path on one side to walk on, but often it is busy so you end up on the cobbles avoiding people anyway. The buildings on either side are wonderfully old and all interesting to look at. Jeakes House (the former home of the American novelist and poet Conrad Aiken) a lovely looking bed and breakfast, is about half way up, and just past that is 'The House with Two Front Doors'! Unfortunately I didn't manage to see anyone going in or out to see which door they used!

      The Mermaid Inn is a real gem. With beams everywhere and roaring fires in the main bar, plus two guest lounges it was incredibly warm and welcoming. A porter took us to our room where we unpacked and had a good look around. The room itself was fairly small, but the en suite bathroom was spacious.

      We decided to go out and find something to eat and then have an early night. We walked down the hill and found a choice of four eating places serving dinner within metres of the hotel. These included Baileys restaurant which seemed to be more hip and happening with a younger crowd hanging around outside, The Ship Inn, Careys Sea Food & Steak Bar and Simply Italian.

      We chose to go to the Ship Inn for a drink and to check out the menu. The pub is spacious with a main bar area, and then a separate room with a fire in. There was a good choice of beer and wine, and local cider and perry which OH was thrilled about and got stuck into! Having looked at the menu, we decided to stay there for something to eat. The food was delicious! I had a Smoked Haddock Dipping Pot with Soldiers to start off with, and the OH had a large bowl of Steamed Mussels. I then had a huge Fish Pie, and OH had Scallops with Black Pudding and Bubble & Squeak. Even though mine was delicious, I must admit I had food envy! The food was well priced and dinner and (several) drinks costs us about £60.

      The following day we had a lovely breakfast and then went for a wander around the town. It is only small (Tom Tom had made it deceptively large the night before - I think we must have done a couple of loops!). We walked from the hotel up to the Ypres Tower, built in 1429 with the permission of Henry III to defend against the frequent raids made by the French. You can go in to the Tower, but it wasn't open whilst we were there so we wandered round outside. There are canons in the garden outside pointing out to sea, and there is a picnic are for the summer (or just warmer) months. We then headed to the large parish church of St Marys and from there in to the main shopping streets. Much of Rye is set on a hill, with single lane roads for the cars. There was a variety of shops. Our favourite was Forget-Me-Not on Church Square which had some lovely gifts - I think it would be a great place to go Christmas shopping. We stopped mid morning for tea and cake in Fletchers Tea House for a cup of tea and cake (there are several tea rooms to choose from - it was a cold day and went for the one we found with a roaring fire) and then went for a late lunch in Carey's Sea Food & Steak Bar - this was OK, but not a patch on The Ship Inn the night before.

      The choice for food a drinks is great - I think one of the bar staff in the ship said for a town with a population of around 5000 there is over 20 drinking and eating establishments. Later that evening we ended up back at The Ship Inn, where I was able to get over my food envy by having the dish my OH had the night before whilst he went for a pork belly dish.

      All in all we had the most amazing stay. The weather wasn't great, so the walking had intended to do went out the window and was replaced by relaxed pottering, and eating and drinking far too much! For us it was a great way to escape from London for the weekend without having to travel for too long. There are many things to do, but as with all places these are limited or reduced out of season. We had planned on climbing the tower of St Marys Church to see the spectacular views, but decided we will do this when we return and the weather is better ( we will definitely be going back). It is a peaceful and relaxed place and all the locals we spoke to were friendly and keen to share their local knowledge.

      Rye seems to be fairly easy to get to from many locations, and the train station is very local. Trains from London have a change at Ashford International. Things to look out for include the Rye Scallop Festival (February time) which unfortunately started the week after we left, were all the pubs offering a variety of scallop dishes and the Rye Arts Festival from 10th to 25th September 2012. Activities you can partake in include kite surfing, and other water sports, cycling (central bike hire place) and walking tours.

      Summary - a lovely little town to go and spend a few days, lazy ones or active ones.

      Thanks for reading, and please feel free to ask if you have any questions. Rachel

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        27.11.2011 14:22
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        Rye - a perfect place for a weekend away.

        My wife and I went to Rye a couple of weeks ago (early November) for a two day break and had a fantastic time. We stayed at a beautiful period hotel called Jeakes House on Mermaid Street, which we learned during our stay is one of the most historic (and steep!) roads in the town.

        The place is full of history and there are a number of listed buildings that date back to the 13th century. Rye really makes you feel like you've stepped back in time a few hundred years and thankfully development in the town is restricted so the High Street is not dominated by chain stores and the skyline is free of modern, high-rise buildings.

        For those who fancy doing a bit of walking I can highly recommend the Camber Castle trail, which takes in the Castle itself, built during Henry VIII's reign, and the very scenic Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. You can make the walk a fairly short one if you prefer, or take in the full lap which covers about 6 or 7 miles and ends at the Inkerman Arms pub, where you can dine on fantastic fish and chips in refreshingly unfussy surroundings. The Inkerman couldn't be less gastro-pub if it tried, which is surprising given the number of tourists that must visit, and in my opinion it's all the better for it.

        Sticking with food and drink, Rye has some fantastic restaurants. We ate at Webbe's Seafood Cafe, which was very reasonably priced with a varied menu of local seafood, and the George, which is a hotel/restaurant with a pleasant dining room from where you can see through into the kitchen area. Personally I always find it reassuring to have a view of the kitchen and to see your food being prepared.

        In terms of pubs, the Mermaid and Ye Olde Bell are two of the most traditional and oldest in the town, and they are backed up by numerous other cosy watering holes such as the Ypres Castle Inn.

        Just a quick word on Jeakes House before I finish - this is a fantastic hotel with individually designed rooms full of intricate detail and ornate furnishings. The honesty bar is a nice touch, the breakfast is splendid and the owners - Jenny and Richard - are pleasant, welcoming and informative on the local area.

        I would thoroughly recommend Rye for a relaxing break full of history, scenery and with plenty of things to see and do.

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          01.09.2009 13:51
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          great for 1 or 2 days, but no more

          Rye is a very pleasant place to visit, i spent the day here with my Fiancee and had a great time.

          There are several tourist oriented things to do which include:-

          1) The old penny arcade. This is located on the first floor of the Heritige centre at the heart of Rye, it is great fun and houses a very good collection of old amusement machines from the early 1900's, it will cost you £1 for 7 old pennys which in my opinion is pretty good value for money. The machines probably wont appeal to the xbox and playstation generation much, but they are true classics and definately worth a look.

          2) The Rye town model. This is located on the ground floor of the Heritige centre and is a miniature scale model of the whole town. Some serious work has been put into this model, but i think it has been left alone for quite some time now and is looking a little bit tired, there is a show which incorporates the model, and has a video and soundtrack running in the viewing room which costs £3 for adults and £1.50 for children.

          3) Ypres Tower. A very historical site which was built in 1250, and has gone through many changes both superficially and in ownership. It is not the largest fortification in the world, but it is incredibly well preserved, and now houses a small but fun museum, which will appeal to kids as well as adults.

          4) The old cobbled streets and shops. There are several old cobbled dtreets that are incredibly pretty, and offer some lovely views, and along all of them are period buildings and inns which serve very good food and drink (there are even local ales for those that arent driving)

          5) Wetland Centre. a short drive from the town centre is the wetland centre, which offers a cornocopia of wildlife at different times of the year, including sea birds, and farm birds, cattle, and many types of flaura and forna. Best of all, its completely free! (as is the parking)

          After a walk through the town and wetland centre, you can always stop off at the sea for a bit of sunbathing or swimming if you prefer, and the local beach is actually quite nice, with a pebble backing leading down to a fine sandy beach.

          Rye is definately worth a look if its not a million miles away for you, however i dont think i couldf spend more than a couple of days there before exhausting its offerings.

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            16.06.2001 00:34
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            If you want to experience a traditional, historic, picturesque little English town, then Rye is the place. Situated in the south of England, in East Sussex, it is easily accessible by either car or train. I will admit at the outset that I absolutely adore this little town, and it has played a crucial role in my family history, so my opinion is fairly one-sided! Right, let's start off with some of the historical background. Rye, an ancient Cinque Port Town sits on a sandstone hill, from which you can obtain fantastic and far reaching views of the surrounding area, including Romney Marsh and the sea. The positioning of the town was essential for the defensive role it has played, guarding the coast from foreign invasion. It was incorporated into the group of Cinque Ports in 1289, and has firstly helped to protect the country from invaders, and secondly, has contributed to the trade of the country, since it was previously a sea port. Rye has managed to survive many attacks from the French, particularly during the hundred years war, and some of the stone buildings you see still bear these marks of attack. During the 16th century, at least 200 ships were able to anchor near the Strand Gate, and every conceivable item was traded along Strand Quay. This of course also meant that smuggling was a problem, and apparently, even in Rye today there are still many hidden underground passages. I always find it more interesting to find out something like this – it’s fascinating to imagine what might have gone in the town (and maybe still does!). Apparently there are ghost tours you can take which might give you some further information, although I have never done this. It's something I think I'll look out for when I next visit - which will hopefully be in a couple of weeks. During the C17th however, the harbour gradually silted up. Today, if you come to Rye, you can see that the town is a real hotch potch of buildings from differe
            nt historical eras. Tudor buildings stand crowded together either side of little cobbled streets, mixed in with the odd Georgian building. The most famous street in Rye, and one which will you will undoubtedly see reproduced on postcards, paintings and prints from the town, is Mermaid Street. A fairly steep cobbled street, it is incredibly picturesque and is the perfect place to stroll along with your partner on a Sunday afternoon in the summer. Probably not ideal to wear high heels - the cobbles are not the easiest of surfaces to walk on. There is an atmosphere of peace, and calm here. There is nothing ‘exciting’ or ‘adventurous’, so this is not necessarily the place to appeal to everyone. If you are happy just to wander around, calling into a quaint English tearoom for afternoon tea, and then maybe visiting the Church, or the potteries, looking round craft shops, art galleries and twisty back streets, possibly buying a locally made ice cream, then you’ll enjoy it here. In the summer you may come across street fairs, one of which (in August) is based around a medieval theme, in keeping with the history of the town. There are also traditional little inns and pubs, serving local ales. Sussex is of course right next to my own hop-growing county of Kent. If you are looking for a tearoom, I highly recommend Simon the Pieman. You will be served tea and a variety of fattening (but yummy) cakes in a very traditional English setting and manner – almost like stepping into a historical film! A complete contrast to the fast food, throwaway, ‘plastic’ way of living that so many people make do with nowadays. Another place well worth a look is “Ye Olde Tucke Shoppe”. I remember when I was small I used to try to persuade my mum and grandmother to buy me little pink sugar mice from here! Always a treat, even now. Ye Olde Tucke Shoppe is a traditional English bakery, with all goods made to old family reci
            pes and cooked in a 200 year old brick oven. Oh and I’ve just remembered, they sell Hedgehog bread! This too used to be a treat – basically it is just bread made into the shape of a prickly hedgehog, but it always tasted better like this! If you want to get a fantastic panoramic view of Rye, over the town itself as well as further afield, then go to St Mary’s Church, where you can climb up the Tower (warning – wear trousers for this – do not make the same mistake I did and go up in a short skirt and sandals – there are ladders to climb!). Once up on the top of the tower, the view is amazing, you can see directly over the patchwork of historical roofs and streets, and further out, to the Ypres Tower (built as a medieval form of defence and known to the locals as Wipers Tower), and over to the sea, and the Marsh. Take a camera – I have got some spectacular pictures from this vantage point. You have to pay to go up the Tower, but it is only in the region of a pound or so, and well worth it. Another place well worth visiting is the tourist information centre, situated near to the harbour. You’ll find a model of the town, and a 20 minute audio visual presentation giving you further information about the history of the town. Staff are on hand too if you have any further questions. Maybe once you’ve been here, the harbour will tempt you. Taking a walk along here is always great fun, and there is a little craft shop nearby which sells items made with the theme of the harbour and the sea – crafted from shells and driftwood for example. If you are artistic then Rye may give you some inspiration! And as a final point, if you are wondering what Rye has to do with my own family history, well, in 1928 there was a famous lifeboat tragedy, on board the Mary Stanford lifeboat, and all those on the lifeboat were killed (17 men). My great grandfather was a member of this lifeboat crew, but was il
            l in bed the day this tragedy occurred – which, from our point of view, was incredibly lucky! You can find out information about this in the tourist information office. Overall then, a fantastic little town, well worth a visit for anyone who is looking for a pleasant way to while away a sunny afternoon. You can spend as much money or as little money as you like here, since much of the enjoyment is gained simply from wandering along the historic streets, and looking in the galleries and craft shops. If you decide to visit, have a great time! Try to go before the schools break up for the summer at the end of July - it will be much more peaceful!

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              27.08.2000 15:32
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              Rye is a lovely small town in East Sussex. It used to be a port but silting up means the sea is now a mile or more away. It is well known for the large number of antique shops and if you like that you can spend a day looking round them - and spend a lot of money if you wish. It also a pleasant town just to wander around with some narrow streets and old buildings. It is worth going up to the higher part of the town for the views. You can also walk by the river and for the energetic you could walk to the coast. Shopping and eating tends to be more towards the specialist and therefore somewhat higher priced end of the market. It can be quite busy in summer but its still worth a visit.

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