A staycation in Rye

Scallop and Caviar at Webbes Fish Café

Staycations are soaring as people look for a trouble-free way of enjoying a relaxing break in the UK. The complications of holidaying abroad have led to a rise in visitors discovering all that the UK has to offer and Rye is very much open for business.

Whether you are planning a day trip to the town, a short cultural break to browse galleries, antiques and history, or a longer stay to explore the surrounding coast and country, you will find a warm welcome.

Businesses have been working hard to open their doors to visitors again and to make their premises safe. To help you plan your visit we’ve prepared some of our top picks of Rye’s independent shops, historic pubs, restaurants, culture, history and walks.

The links below the gallery will take you to some of our previous articles where you can read more and get a taste of what the area has to offer.

Eating out

The article in last’s week’s Rye NewsBook your tables now“, gave details of the government’s scheme which entitles all diners to a 50% discount, up to a maximum of £10 per person for food and non-alcoholic drinks to eat or drink in. The scheme starts on August 3 and is available to be used all day, every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, until it finishes on August 31. This week’s article “Recipe for Success” gives details of three  restaurants who are taking part.  Look out for the “Eat Out to Help Out” logo in other restaurants around the town.

As you walk around the cobbled streets you will find a choice of beamed pubs and tea shops, coffee shops, fish and chips, restaurants offering many different types of cuisine. Try Fletchers House (where the Jacobean playwright John Fletcher was born) for a cream tea, or Simply Italian, a family run restaurant with outdoor seating, for delicious pizzas. The Mermaid Inn now has a continental style table service in place which means a relaxed environment in which to enjoy food and drink.

Chocolate lovers simply must fit in a visit to Knoops for an expertly crafted range of hot chocolate drinks where you will struggle with the large choice.

Independent shops – antiques and collectables

Rye has always been known as a place to browse for antiques but it has also grown into a haven for design lovers (see McCully and Crane).  Another special shop for collectors is Glass Etc in Rope Walk (a former Salvation Army chapel), run by Andy McConnell, specialist in glass on The Antiques Roadshow. Andy says “The ’Etc’ in our name covers all manner of other forms of antique & vintage stuff, including architectural ironmongery, including door & window furniture, cabinet knobs, stained glass panels, etc”.

Those who love browsing for collectables will enjoy a trip to Strand Quay where there is an abundance of shops to while away the hours.

Art galleries

Rye Art Gallery has just re-opened (Wednesday – Saturday: 11am – 4pm)  and next door the Purdie Gallery re-opens on July 24.  See Art Gallery listings for links to other galleries in Rye.

The Avocet Gallery at Rye Harbour has now re-opened.  Not only can you enjoy art from over 50 local artists, but you can also enjoy great homemade cakes and really good coffee. Normal opening hours are Friday to Sunday 10:30 am to 4:30pm.


Sewing enthusiasts will be inspired at Merchant and Mills  (now opening at weekends) and Penny Royal for fabrics, wool and needlecraft. Craft Magic has a wonderful range of crafts for children and adults.

Stay or celebrate in Rye

See our Accommodation page for links to local tourist sites, accommodation listings and reviews.  Hotels, self catering accommodation and B&Bs are filling up fast.  Remember, you may get a better deal by booking direct with the hotels. If you have a special celebration coming up, venues are now adapting to meet new safety guidelines and taking bookings for small group weddings and other celebrations.

Historic town walks

Local writer and historian Alan Dickinson has created some themed walks of Rye so take your phone and you can enjoy a tour of the historic buildings in the town.

For some quiet respite, St Mary’s church is open for private prayer from 11am – 2pm daily, but only for those who want to pray.

Coast and country

For those looking to get away from it all you can walk, cycle or drive to The Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. The perfect place for bird lovers and people looking for a coastal walk to Winchelsea Beach or Pett Level.  Camber sands, with its wonderful sandy dunes is also within easy reach. The Gallivant Hotel in Camber  is open for small numbers and their new summer house offers free yoga daily and what they describe as “other enriching experiences”.

If you are a tourist business and you’d like to promote your services – send us your story or email info@ryenews.org.uk

If you are a visitor and you’d like to recommend somewhere you’ve visited in Rye, we’d love to hear from you. Please add your comments below.

Image Credits: Webbes Fishcafe , Barry Yates , Knoops , Fletchers House , Nick Forman , Marcus Crane , John Cole , Colin Page .


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