Cast your mind back almost a thousand years in history and you can imagine the humble beginnings of the wonderful medieval market town of Rye in East Sussex. Rye is recognised as the jewel on the South Coast of England, it is one of most beautiful and historic towns that has survived through the many changing faces of the past.

Ypres Castle, Rye

Rye was to become a limb of the famous Cinque Ports Confederation, and was once a major defensive stronghold to protect our trade between northern Europe and repel our shores against the many attacks from our French neighbours. Rye was almost entirely surrounded by the sea and the ancient tradition of fishing from the town still survives to this day.

During its history its association with the sea has included providing ships for the service of the King in time of war, and being involved with smuggling gangs of the 18th and 19th centuries such as the notorious Hawkhurst Gang who used its inns such as The Mermaid Inn and The Olde Bell Inn, once connected by secret passage ways.

These historic roots and its individual charm make Rye a superb destination to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Much of Rye’s economy is based on tourism and there are many wonderful hotels, guest houses, B&Bs, tea rooms and restaurants, as well as many other attractions to ensure that your visit to Rye will be jam packed with things to see and do. In fact, there is so much to see in Rye that a weekend break is highly recommended.

Over many years Rye has attracted famous playwrights, composers, actors and affluent personalities to make their homes here. Today, Rye also plays host to a range of local talent and boasts numerous Arts galleries where many local and International names exhibit their works. You will also find many interesting and quirky retail shops as you make your way through medieval landgate at the top of the town through the high street and down to the Strand Quay.

Today, Rye is a living, working town that is incredibly proud of its heritage. In these ever changing modern times, Rye has managed to adapt to the demands of modern day life but importantly, still retain the incredible charm and mystique that seems to rub off on everyone that visits this beautiful town.

We hope that you enjoy your visit to Rye. Welcome to the past and welcome to the future and most of all welcome to Rye.

More things to do in Rye:

Rye Heritage Centre
Rye Museum
Rye Art Gallery
Local event listings
Rye Arts Festival

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