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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?

  • Rye Harbour Nature Reserve - What's So Special

    Tuesday 25th September
    Location: Rye

    The nature reserve at Rye Harbour is special for wildlife, with more than 4,000 species including about 300 that are ... more

  • Not About Heroes

    Tuesday 25th September
    Location: Rye

    Flying Bridge Theatre Co. & Seabright Productions Directed by Tim Baker Stephen MacDonald’s highly acclaimed Fringe First winning play about ... more

  • Winchelsea Cellars Tour

    Wednesday 26th September
    Location: Winchelsea

    Fascinating tours led by expert local guides,into some of Winchelsea’s original 13th Century cellars, which are normally closed to the ... more

  • Quilts – from Utility to Art

    Wednesday 26th September
    Location: Rye

    Linda Seward is the author of ten quilt books and is an international judge and lecturer on the art form. ... more

  • From Armenia to Armistice

    Wednesday 26th September
    Location: Winchelsea

    Husband and wife duo, Roland Roberts (piano) and Armenian violinist Ani Batikian present a programme commemorating the 100th anniversary of ... more

  • Mose Fan Fan with Somo Somo

    Wednesday 26th September
    Location: Rye

    Mose Fan Fan is the leader of the acclaimed Congolese band Somo Somo. They play happy, infectious Congolese pop music ... more

  • Winchelsea Cellars Tour

    Thursday 27th September
    Location: Winchelsea

    Fascinating tours led by expert local guides,into some of Winchelsea’s original 13th Century cellars, which are normally closed to the ... more

  • Saint Ronan’s Prep School Choir & Musicians

    Thursday 27th September
    Location: Iden

    The Rye Festival will feature the school’s Chamber Choir together with instrumental chamber ensembles and vocal and instrumental soloists. Music ... more

  • Jazz Night Supper at the Mermaid

    Thursday 27th September
    Location: Rye

    David Silk & Friends offer an evening of Jazz Music accompanied by a two-course supper with coffee. This evening will ... more

  • Music in Times of War

    Thursday 27th September
    Location: Winchelsea

    The Revolutionary Drawing Room - In the 1800s, while the Cinque Ports prepared for a cross-channel invasion by the French, ... more

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