Rye is a very well preserved medieval town on a hill top with car free car cobbled streets and historical houses from the 16th and 17th centuries with a very Norman history and architecture style. Rye was once part of the Cinque Medieval Ports even today seems unlikely given that the sea waters start to retire almost 5 centuries ago and now the town is already 2 miles from the sea, anyway still an important festival of Scallop festival for the remaining fisherman fleet. But Rye is much more than an historic town, today the harbour is much alive, antique shops, tea houses and fine dining combine together with unique bird watching, saltmarshes and romantic sandy beaches.
What to do in Rye
• Choice one of the three walks to the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve where oyster-catchers and curlews are the bird to spot.
• Visit the Georgian Lamb House where the American author Henry James used to live.
• Discover the local history in the Rye Castle Museum and the Normand style St Mary´s Church. Also visit the Ypres Tower (also town jail for 400 years) and enjoy the great views of the Rye harbour.
• Get lost in the street and discover the most fascinating antique shops and art galleries mainly in the Strand Quay area.
• In warm days is a must spend a beach day in the nearby dunes of Camber Sands.
Where to Eat in Rye
|Mermaid Inn, Rye|
Where to stay in Rye
White Vine House is a luxury restaurant with period British rooms in the centre of the town.
|Lewes Castle gateway. Photo by Hackworth|
What to do in Lewes
• Visit the Castle museum
• Visit the house of Anne of Claves given to her by Henry VIII on the divorce settlement.
• Go to the local Victorian building of the Harvey´s Brewery.
• Get lost in the street, set aside your kindle and snoop on the several book shops.
• A day at the Opera in the English institution that is Glyndebourne Opera House
|Lewes Bonfire parade|
The Real Eating Company is a very good option to have a very local fresh breakfast or brunch and at the same time buy some of the best local products, and Bills Produce Store on Cliffe High Street is also a good fun place with a nice selection of drinks.
Where to stay in Lewes
There are old coaching inns such as the White Hart and the Crown Inn on the High street and the Shelleys hotel which has an old world charm and dates from the 15th century and ideal place to stay when the famous November 5th firework displays take place in and around Lewes. Pelham House in St Andrews Lane is another notable establishment with a magnificent garden with views over the Sussex Downs.
Must be my number one postcard from England, here the famous English coast white cliffs and chalky water colours have the addition of the bright red lighthouse that guard this coast plus the vertigo of walking in a perfect natural green turf make the perfect countryside day out. Few sea cliffs in Europe will capture your imagination and bring you the calm like in Beachy Head. The cliff are a clear reminder that England and France were once time ago joined and no separate by the English Channel, today one of the most undeveloped and beautiful English coast where in Beachy head the cliff plummets to 200 meters.
My favourite walk starts from the seaside resort of Eastbourne and finish in Cuckmere Heaven.
What to do in Beachy Head
• Start your walk in the Victorian town of Eastbourne visiting the pier and walking by the sea front.
• After you get a good photo of the Beachy Head lighthouse you next point will be the Belle Tout, the lighthouse that was moved in 1999 given the cliff eroding.
• Practice some fun sport. From Eastbourne before to reach the lighthouse exits a paragliding point; in Birling Gap is the surfer points and in Cuckmere Heaven canoeing and bike hiring is available.
• Cuckmere Heaven is a beautiful free development estuary with plenty wildlife and bird watching.
• Visit the Seven Sister Sheep Centre and meet the almost 40 sheep breeds from around the world .
|Paragliding in Beachy Head|
The Beachy Head Centre and the Golden Galleon are almost the only places, if you don’t want to ruin your day picnic is your best option and let the pub just for drink a refreshing beer. Another option is go to East Dean (not far for the Sheep Centre) and have a much better meal at The Tiger Inn.
Where to stay
Before or after all the walking take all the advantages of the more vibrant city in English south coast. Avoid the Grand Hotels of Brighton and the classic chain and let rest yourself in The Square Boutique Hotel or to the Trip Advisor winner The Twenty One bed and breakfast.