It says a lot about Rye’s beauty that she was recently named one of Britain’s best beach towns – despite not actually being by the sea.
This beautiful old town in East Sussex has nothing to do with your typical British seaside resort. There is no jetty, no rides and no beach.
But because it’s only a few miles from the coast, it was included in a survey by consumer magazine Which? where readers were asked to rate around 100 resorts across the country to make a comprehensive list of the best and the worst.
And unsurprisingly, Rye did very well.
Each resort has been rated based on its attractions, scenery, and beach, as well as the value it offers and the peace and quiet you can expect.
Even without a beach, Rye achieved an overall satisfaction rating of 77%, with only three resorts near London scoring better – Southwold and Aldeburgh in Suffolk, and Dungeness in Kent.
What’s Rye like?
The city is probably best known for its postcard-perfect cobblestone lanes, like Mermaid Street, which has to be one of Britain’s most photographed streets.
Along the streets are often wobbly medieval houses and it is easy to get lost in the history of the city.
You can explore the 14th-century Ypres Tower of Rye Castle, which was part of the town’s defenses but now houses a museum filled with paintings and exhibits on local history.
You can also climb the steeple of the 12th-century Church of St. Mary, for views of the rooftops and the countryside beyond.
If you want to stay overnight, there may be few better places than Rye Windmill, on the banks of the River Tillingham, which is home to a B&B.
And the city is full of cafes, restaurants and pubs, so it’s easy to turn a day into a weekend.
The city is even home to a jazz festival, although the 2020 edition had to be canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, with some of the big concerts planned being postponed until 2021.
If, after a few hours of exploring the city, you’re struggling to live by the sea but aren’t going to paddle, there’s a simple solution at your fingertips.
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The beautiful Camber Sands Beach, with its dreary sand dunes and long sandy beach, is just four miles away.
Just be aware that the beach can get very busy in hot weather.
Just last week, visitors were even turned away as local roads became congested.
How to get there from London?
By train, Rye is approximately 80 minutes from Charing Cross and 90 minutes from St Pancras, both via Ashford in Kent.
By car it is around 80 to 90 minutes from parts of South London, and you can get there via the M20 or the A21.
If you are planning to take a visit on a weekend, you may consider a visit to nearby Bodiam Castle, a trip on the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, a trip to Battle Abbey to learn more about the Battle of Hastings or a day at the Port Lympne Safari Park.
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