How to spend 3 days in Rye, East Sussex
Rye is such a gorgeous, quaint English town in East Sussex with plenty to keep your itinerary busy. We travelled by car from Bishop’s Stortford and the journey took around 2 hours. From London you can catch the train from St Pancras in just over a hour. Set out below is how I spent 3 days in Rye – I hope you find some useful tips!
Day 1 of 3 days in Rye
Morning in Rye
Part of the morning of the first day is always spent travelling to your destination. We therefore planned our day from midday starting off with a visit to Tillingham Vineyard which is a 10 minute drive from the centre of Rye. The vineyard is set within 70 acres of rolling hills and woodlands and offers tours, lunch, dinner and overnight stays. More details on our visit can be found in this blog post.
An alternative option to Tillingham is the more well known Chapel Down vineyards which is a nearer a 20 minute drive from Rye, near Tenterden.
After drinking wine and devouring the delicious sourdough pizzas, we made our way into Rye for the afternoon. We stayed at The Whitehouse Rye which also offers delicious breakfast dishes including in the room rate.
Afternoon in Rye
The afternoon was spent exploring St Mary’s Church and climbing to the bell tower for views over Rye.
The climb is fairly steep and narrow using a mixture of steps and ladders so not for the faint hearted! The tower is fairly spacious once you reach the top and we had it completely to ourselves. You also get to see the church bells on your way up and down! Entrance is £4 per person.
Just a couple of minutes from St Mary’s Church is Rye Castle and the Ypres Tower where you can wander around the castle and the battle grounds for free. If you want to visit the tower, it is a £4 entrance charge.
Very close by is the Ypres Castle Inn pub which has a large beer garden. The pub is named after the medieval castle, which took its name from John de Ypres who lived in the castle as a private residence for several decades from 1430. It is open from Thursday to Sunday for drinks (no food) with a wide range of cask and keg ale.
For dinner we visited The King’s Head Inn, where we had booked to watch the Euro final. It is around a 15 minute walk from the centre of town and has accommodation on site if you are looking for a place to stay in Rye. The garden area is intimate and just rather adorable with a covered wooden marquee and fairy lights. Food wise, there is a selection of small plates, sharers and larger main meals. We had the Risotto from the specials menu and a southern fried chicken burger. The hot stone steaks that came out sizzling also looked amazing.
Day 2 of 3 days in Rye
Morning in Rye
Our morning was spent walking to English Heritage Site, Camber Castle, which is only accessible by foot. From our accommodation in the centre of town, it was around a 45 minute walk, the second half through fields with sheep and lambs. The exterior is viewable at any time but the interior is only open by guided tour – check the website for dates and availability.
Camber Castle is not a must see but it was a lovely way to spend the morning and get some exercise.
After our walk, we headed back to Rye centre and had a light lunch at The Cobbles Tea Room , which is lightly hidden down one of the cobbled streets.
The tea room is traditionally decorated internally and there are a small amount of tables at the front and back. There is plenty of choice on the menu (afternoon tea, sandwiches, baguettes, cakes and more) and service was lovely.
Afternoon in Rye
Our afternoon was spent wandering around the cobbled streets of Rye, browsing in the shops and exploring some of the pubs! Mermaid Street is the most famous road in Rye with many of the houses along the road named including ‘The House Opposite’, ‘The House with the Secret Garden’ and ‘The House with Two Front Doors’.
We could not resist ice cream at The Mermaid Street Cafe which also offers light lunches, pastries and cakes followed by hot chocolate at Knoops which creates hot chocolates according to your taste preference.
We also couldn’t resist a tipple at Rye Waterworks Micropub.
We were recommended The Mermaid Inn for dinner in their 2 AA Rosette Restaurant in a traditional setting with its cellars dating to 1156! They have a set menu – 2 courses for £34.50 and 3 courses for £44.50.
We had the:
- Juniper Smoked Duck Breast Poached Gooseberries, Beetroot, Gin & Gooseberry Puree
- Cote de Boeuf to Share Jersey Royals, Mushroom Fricassee, Bone Marrow Butter & Red Wine Sauce
- A Selection of Local Cheese (V) Home-made Chutney & Biscuits
All courses were excellent, the cote de boeuf platter was HUGE and the service was great.
Day 3 of 3 days in Rye
Our morning was spent at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve where there are several walking trails you can follow. Parking is free and it is only a 5-10 minute drive from Rye.
The Nature Reserve was established in 1970 with Sussex Wildlife Trust currently managing the space, which covers over a thousand acres of flat, open, low-lying ground. Within the nature reserve there is saltmarsh, shingle ridges, sand, marsh and woodland and over 4,000 species. You could spend anywhere between 1 hour and 3 hours exploring the different routes in the reserve and I think you can even walk from the beach over to Camber Sands.
The last stop on our Rye itinerary was Camber Sands which is located just 3 miles from the centre. We parked at Broomhill Sands, just a little west to Camber Sands, for free.
We strolled from there towards Camber Sands – it’s just so lovely walking barefoot in the sand and had ice cream on the beach. Surprisingly, there aren’t many places for lunch along the beachfront – only a couple of cafes.
We had a fantastic 3 days in Rye exploring the small town and around the area. Other places that were recommended to be for eating and drinking in Rye are:
- Marinos Fish Bar
- The Grapevine
- The Globe Inn
- The Fig
East London Girl: 3 days in Rye