A tourist reviews Rye


Rye News continues its series of interviewing tourists visiting the town. In this edition we talk to Feeroza Patel, who travelled from London with friend Sandra Egbon on the weekend of July 22-23 and joined the Festival of the Sea celebrations.

Here are Feeroza’s thoughts on Rye and her recommendations on things to do and places to visit:

After a hectic few weeks at work a weekend away from the big smoke, aka London, with a couple of my favourite people was in order. Rye fitted the bill perfectly for an easy-to-get-to escape from city life.

Tug of War

We were lucky that our weekend break to Rye coincided with the Rye Festival of the Sea. Unfortunately, we didn’t spot any sailors, but we did position ourselves strategically in The Old Grain Store for a good view of The Strand where the tug of war was due to take place and one of the best slices of apple cake and banana and coconut cake that we’d tasted.

Not having seen a tug of war since my schooldays, I underestimated how much I would enjoy it; in fact it turned out to be without a doubt one of the most fun spectacles I’d seen, helped along by a cheering crowd full of locals and tourists. There was a real party spirit in the street and the winning team, the Harbour Health Club were hugely impressive, quite literally forcing their opponents to their feet. Also, full disclosure for our Old Grain Store visit – we also bought 10 of their fizzy bath bombs for a bargain £4 – proof if needed that combining delicious food in a relaxed setting with lovely knick-knacks for sale is always a winner.

The Apothecary

This cafe became our local coffee shop away from home when we stayed in Rye, not to mention a place for lunch and breakfast. Our first visit was inspired entirely by the smell of their freshly baked pastries and cakes wafting out onto the street and very successfully luring us in. After that we were hooked, not only to the lovely food (brie and beetroot toast was a lunchtime favourite) but to the quirky shabby chic decor, which meant that there was always something interesting to see as we ate. Top marks also for the Tiffin which became a favourite for my friend Sandra.

Camber Sands

I must confess one of the appealing factors of Rye as our weekend getaway was the proximity to the famous Camber Sands. One of the most enjoyable things about it was actually walking there, although all the locals we spoke to suggested we take the bus as it was a long walk. They were right as it took an hour on foot, not helped by our slow pace, but it was a lovely meandering walk and very flat so all in all a perfect way to while away a summer’s day. We passed lots of sheep along the route and were lucky enough to also pass by a roadside stall selling fresh strawberries, sweet and warmed by the sun, on which we happily snacked en route to Camber.

Our arrival at Camber didn’t disappoint, after struggling uphill on the dunes we were rewarded with the sight of mile upon mile of wide sandy beach and even on a hot and sunny summer day with quite a lot of visitors, the beach still felt uncrowded. We picked up some water and snacks at the Kit Kat Cafe, but unfortunately missed out on the freshly made doughnuts, so our main tip for anyone going to Camber would be to walk there but leave in plenty of time to get to the doughnut shack at the Kit Kat cafe before it closes!

Needles Antiques

One of the many things we enjoyed about Rye was the distinct lack of ubiquitous chain stores, coupled with more antique shops than I can ever recall seeing in one town. This combination made shopping in Rye a pleasantly surprising experience with something new and exciting to be discovered in every store. After much happy perusing and chatting with the always welcoming shop owners, I was thrilled to find a sterling silver ring in Needles Antiques, which was exactly my size for the bargain price of £12. I always look for mementos from my trips away, however near or far; it’s so rewarding to find something unique with a story behind it and a buying experience that you’ll remember rather than something mass produced.

Marinos Fish Bar

In my mind, you can’t go to town as close to the coast as Rye is, without sampling the fish and chips and luckily my friends didn’t need much convincing, so one evening we took a short walk to Marinos Fish Bar to do just that. It was the Saturday evening after the first day of the Rye Festival of the Sea and the clouds were threatening rain, so a hot fish and chip supper in front of the fire was the ideal dinner.

Marinos was as busy as you’d expect on a Saturday night and we had a 15-20 minute wait for our order but it was worth every minute for the bubbly battered, freshly fried fish and crispy chips that was waiting for us on collection. The portions were extremely generous, which is worth being mindful of if you have a smaller appetite; we had to pace ourselves over dinner and even then we struggled to finish an entire portion. Also a tip to remember; ask for the onion vinegar, no true chippy would be without it and Marinos proved their chippy credentials by having a bottle on hand.

All in all, our stay in Rye did the trick of making us forget the hectic pace of life in London and gave us a welcome lesson in slowing down and appreciating the quality things in life – good food, beautiful nature and friendly people. We’ll definitely be back.



Photos: Feeroza Patel

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