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- Diane

Eight great reasons to visit Rye

Eight great reasons to visit Rye

I'm going to let the pictures and captions do most of the talking, partly because Rye is so ludicrously photogenic, but also because, frankly, I'm so deep in holiday mode, I can barely string a sentence together.

1: It's seeped in history

Landgate, the sole surviving 15th Century gate into the town

Landgate, the sole surviving 15th Century gate into the town

A quick romp through Rye's back story: It started as a small fishing community before the Norman Conquest; was one of the five towns to be granted a Charter of the Cinque Ports by King Henry 111 in 1260; grew in prosperity during the 18th century thanks to the proliferation of smuggling and became a popular inspiration and base for artists (including Anthony van Dyck, Paul Nash and J.M. Turner) and writers (Henry James, G.K. Chesterton, H.G. Wells, Joseph Conrad and John Ryan, creator of Captain Pugwash, all lived in the town) 

The original 18th Century water cistern

The original 18th Century water cistern

2: It's bursting with fabulous old houses and buildings

Mermaid Street is regularly voted one of the prettiest in Britain

Mermaid Street is regularly voted one of the prettiest in Britain

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3: It has a 900 year old church and a 13th Century castle

St Mary's Parish Church

St Mary's Parish Church

Which has the oldest working church turret clock in the country.

The church is open daily from 9am to 5.30pm (4.30 in winter) and you can climb the tower and see the clock mechanism and the bells. 

The church is open daily from 9am to 5.30pm (4.30 in winter) and you can climb the tower and see the clock mechanism and the bells. 

Rye Castle  has been a castle, a private home, a court hall, a gaol and is now an enjoyable museum. It's open from 10.30 to 5.30 March to November, 10.30 to 3.30 the rest of the year. Entry is £4 for adults, free for children

Rye Castle has been a castle, a private home, a court hall, a gaol and is now an enjoyable museum. It's open from 10.30 to 5.30 March to November, 10.30 to 3.30 the rest of the year. Entry is £4 for adults, free for children

It also features what is thought to be one of the first women-only prisons in the country, known as the Women's Tower

It also features what is thought to be one of the first women-only prisons in the country, known as the Women's Tower

 

4: There are lots of wonderful quirky independent shops

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5: There's a wide choice of places to eat

We ate at these two restaurants, and I'd recommend them both

The George Grill   (The George is a very lovely hotel)

The George Grill  (The George is a very lovely hotel)

6: It has two weekly markets 

There's a smallish farmer's market from 10-1 on a Wednesday and a bigger, general market from 8-4 on a Thursday, where the usual market stalls selling clothes, beauty stuff, and general household goods are on offer, along with a few food stalls. There's also some marvellous bric-a-brac to enjoy.

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7: There's a wonderful nature reserve by the harbour

Rye Harbour Nature Reserve  is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a huge and fascinating area to see all sorts of unusual flowers, and wide variety of birds. It's a mile and half outside the town and many of the paths are accessible for disabled visitors.

Rye Harbour Nature Reserve is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a huge and fascinating area to see all sorts of unusual flowers, and wide variety of birds. It's a mile and half outside the town and many of the paths are accessible for disabled visitors.

8: It's the closest town to Camber Sands Beach

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And honestly, if there's a more sensational stretch of beach on the south east coast, I'd like to know about it.  True, if you don't have a car you need to take a taxi or a bus to get there from Rye. But it only takes about 15 minutes from the town centre and it's worth every one of those minutes. 

 

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