About Rye

Medieval Town of the Cinque Ports

One of the best preserved medieval towns in England, Rye is home to the enchanting cobbled Mermaid Street, the impressive Norman church of St Mary’s, a rich selection of specialist shops and a thriving fishing fleet. The famous Mermaid Inn was once the haunt of notorious smugglers, the Hawkhurst Gang as was The Hope Anchor who housed the Tenterden Gang, both of which fought each other for spoils (Much as it is now!). Camber Castle, built by Henry VIII is located in the dramatic Rye Harbour Nature Reserve.Rye was once surrounded on three sides by the sea and its maritime heritage dates back to Norman times. To defend it against frequent attacks from the French, Rye became an ‘ancient town’ of the powerful Cinque Ports Confederation and soon became a smugglers paradise.

Take time to discover its architectural treasures and narrow passageways. Climb the tower of St Mary’s Parish Church for fine views to Rye Harbour Nature Reserve and the beautiful hilltop town of Winchelsea, with its maze of medieval wine cellars.Rye has always been a magnet for writers and artists. Lamb House, a National Trust property, was once the home of Henry James and later E.F.Benson, creator of the Mapp and Lucia books. The artists Paul Nash, Edward Burra and Captain Pugwash creator, John Ryan all lived in Rye. Today a wealth of art and photography galleries thrives in the town alongside old sweet shops and traditional grocers and tea rooms.

Near Rye around three miles is Camber Sands, the only sand dune system in East Sussex and renowned for its outstanding natural beauty and safe bathing. Conditions are ideal for windsurfing, power boating trips, sailing and the ever popular kite surfing. With a spectacular combination of coast and countryside that’s scattered with relics and ruins from the past, 1066 Country is the kind of place where you don’t just learn about history, you live it. Known world-wide for its heritage, 1066 Country offers visitors a rich historical experience.

The thriving market town of Battle is home to the very spot where King Harold fell during the fateful conflict in the Battle Abbey’s grounds. The Edwardian seaside resort of Bexhill-on-Sea is the birthplace of British motor racing and Europe’s largest beach-launched fishing fleet can be seen in Hastings and you can also enjoy the picturesque Old Town with vernacular railway and historical buildings of interest. Pevensey was the landing point for both the Romans and the Normans and Rye is a maritime maze of Medieval and Georgian buildings with the countryside scattered with ancient castles, steam railways and historical houses and gardens.

If you want to get away from it all, explore 1066 Country’s beautiful countryside with its dramatic coastline, ancient forests, fairy tale castles, rich and varied wildlife and cosy country pubs, The Hope Anchor is the perfect base from which to relax and explore this historically rich area.

1066 Country’s varied coast and countryside, thriving towns and rich history offer a diverse range of activities to suit visitors of all interests. Whether you prefer adrenalin boosting action or a more sedate pace, there’s a wealth of potential to be explored. Experience the beauty of our countryside by meandering around our extensive network of walking and cycling trails. Relax and unwind in one of the many parks, museums, galleries and gardens or head down to the beach for some water-based activities or simply soak up the sun.