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Rye

Rye in East Sussex

Travelling westward across Romney Marsh, the distinctive outline of Rye can be seen in the distance. It rises above the level green pastures, stretching from the sea to the far hills which formed the shoreline before the marsh was drained.

Once surrounded by sea, this fortified hilltop town played an important role in the defence of the south coast of England. These days, the river no longer harbours warships and is home to the local fishing fleet.

Meandering for over one and a half miles from Rye to the coast, the river forms part of the picturesque scenery visible from several vantage points in and around the citadel of Rye.

St Mary's church tower (usually open to the public) offers the best viewpoint to show the terracotta roofs of the many timbered houses. These ancient buildings, cobbled streets and secret passages, once the haunt of smugglers and highwaymen, regularly attract film crews in search of historical settings for period productions.

Many authors, musicians, artists and celebrities have made Rye their home, a medieval haven periodically visited by Royalty. In 1573 the title "Rye Royale" was bestowed upon the town by Queen Elizabeth I after a three day stay.

The sheer concentration of living history packed into this vibrant market town makes it the ideal base for a holiday of discovery, or a relaxing short break. There are many comfortable, welcoming hotels and guest houses and plenty of charming inns and restaurants.

Other Towns and Villages Near Rye

Event

What's On in Rye?

  • The Art of Translation

    Monday 25th September
    Location: Rye

    Foreign fiction is becoming ever more popular in the UK, from Scandinavian noir to South Korean surrealism – but the ... more

  • Gould Piano Trio with Alec Frank-Gemmill (horn)

    Monday 25th September
    Location: Rye

    The Gould Piano Trio has remained at the forefront of the international chamber music scene for well over 20 years. ... more

  • Amy

    Monday 25th September
    Location: Rye

    A moving and revealing Oscar-winning documentary about one of Britain’s finest singer/songwriters, Amy Winehouse, who died aged just 27. Tickets: ... more

  • Winchelsea Cellars Tour

    Tuesday 26th September
    Location: Winchelsea

    There will be seven similar tours over the two weeks of the Festival. The tours are led by expert local ... more

  • Faces from the Front

    Tuesday 26th September
    Location: Rye

    Faces from the Front explores the pioneering facial reconstruction undertaken on wounded servicemen by surgeon Sir Harold Gillies at the ... more

  • Alexander Sitkovetsky & Maxim Rysanov

    Tuesday 26th September
    Location: Iden

    Two of today’s finest and most charismatic string players join together in music specially written for the violin and viola. ... more

  • Sarah McQuaid

    Tuesday 26th September
    Location: Rye

    Born in Spain, raised in Chicago and now living in rural England, Sarah refuses to be pigeonholed, segueing easily from ... more

  • 1066: Why does it matter?

    Wednesday 27th September
    Location: Rye

    Dr Marc Morris is an expert on medieval monarchy and aristocracy, and a fellow of the Royal Historical Society. In ... more

  • Piano Recital

    Wednesday 27th September
    Location: Rye

    The pianist Daniel Grimwood is a performer of international renown, combining an exceptional talent, rare versatility and refinement with an ... more

  • Winchelsea Cellars Tour

    Thursday 28th September
    Location: Winchelsea

    There will be seven similar tours over the two weeks of the Festival. The tours are led by expert local ... more

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