During May, we celebrated our third “bank holiday weekend” of the year in the quaint medieval town of Rye. Enamored with England’s southeastern coast from the two prior weekends, we boarded the Southern high-speed train service headed to Kent for a new adventure there.
Arriving in Rye, we found ourselves in an amazingly tranquil and sunny, exquisitely preserved town not far from the beach.
Top memories from our three-day weekend are identified below and also shown in a gallery of photos. I hope that if you’re planning an outing to Rye, this info will inspire you and help you plan.
- Arrive at the pretty little train station and check in at the Regent “Motel” where it’s possible to park a car
- Find the bike rental shop and make arrangements for the next morning
- Walk around scenic Mermaid Street and its surrounding cobbled streets
- Eat, drink, and be merry at Mermaid Hotel, Pub, and Restaurant
- Attempt to see Lamb House (which was temporarily closed, unfortunately)
- Stroll through Cemetery of St. Mary’s Church
- Visit Ypres Tower/Castle, its courtyard and Woman’s prison tower, and its panoramic terrace with historic cannons
- Grab a second lunch at Fletchers House or next door to it, at Simon the Pieman (my guy gets very hungry)
- Tour St. Mary’s Church, its annual flower festival
- Climb St. Mary’s bell tower to reach the spectacular panoramic view—this is a climb suited only to brave and well-coordinated folks (the passageways and stairs are extremely narrow and I tripped any number of times on the roof)
- Shop in the boutiques around town and visit the Kino to check show times to see if any suit
- Wander around town, visit the fun fair, and drive like a maniac at bumper cars
- Dinner at The Devil in Rye, in the bright, sunny indoor courtyard area in the back
- Enjoy a scenic night stroll through the town
On our second day, we set out for a leisurely bicycle trip toward Rye Harbour and Winchelsea town.
- Enjoy breakfast at Whitehouse Rye, then rent bikes at Rye Hire, Ltd.
- Pack a picnic lunch, and make a cycling tour, heading in the direction of Rye Harbour taking time out along the way for whatever pops up, such as an RV open house at JC Leisure
- Relax I the courtyard and cemetery of the Church of the Holy Spirit and the nearby playground
- Stop off at William the Conqueror, and attend special bank holiday events, such as traditional musicians and traditional folk dancers (Morris dancing) performing I. The streets in both Rye Harbour and Winchelsea town
- Explore the WWII bunkers along the coast, the seawall at the mouth of River Rother, Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, and many protective structures along the coast and at Winchelsea Beach
- Experience sunset rays piercing through slit windows at the spectacular St. Thomas the Martyr church in Winchelsea, and search for famous names in the cemetery surrounding g the church
- Enjoy a refreshment at The New Inn, in the lovely, floral Biergarten, a walled secret garden
- Head home via rugged footpaths, as long as you’ve got an off-road bike–but next time, I’ll go for the electric bike rather than rent a push bike, so I can cover more distance
- Dine again at The Mermaid Inn in Rye, “The Mermaid’s doors had been opened 150 years when Elizabeth I visited Rye in 1573” since it serves food late into the evening
On the final day, we checked out of the hotel, the. We de died to:
- Enjoy breakfast in Rye, and jump on the Wave 101 bus to Camber Sands Beach (21-minute trip)
- Sit on the beach, play in the shallow water, and walk along the beach and seawall until time to head back
- Return to Rye, pick up bags at the hotel and enjoy a quick cookout meal at the pub in the old Water Works building, constructed 1869
- Head to the Historic train station for the small two-carriage train back to Ashford International Train Station and on to London
Note that evening trains are extremely crowded on bank holiday Mondays.