Last year traffic from Calais was often interrupted by migrants trying to get across the Channel – and this had a knock-on effect on Rye’s Heritage Centre on Strand Quay which caters for visitors, many in coaches from Europe, in particular with shows recounting the town’s long history using a very large model of its historic site and buildings (shown below).
Parties of children, or older students, and even tourist groups, who arrive by coach, therefore often start their visit by seeing the model – and last week, unlike last year, the show was playing to full houses.
On May 30 it was seen by six Dutch groups, two groups of Germans and a UK group of mainly American tourists in one day, with every other show performance of the day between the pre-booked groups filled up by visitors, and families in particular.
So, as far as the Heritage Centre’s staff were concerned, May was “brilliant” and the summer is expected to follow that trend. And another trend they have noticed is that locally produced food is selling well. They currently stock Sussex honey, jams, tea, pickles and chutneys – and maybe local wines too in future.
However, though the year 2017-18 may have been quieter than expected, the recent town meeting was told the centre still:
- Sent out more than 100 brochures and dealt with more than 350 emails and enquiries from visitors and travel agencies.
- Distributed more than 4,000 Visit Rye Bay guides, 2,000 free town maps and 1,200 bus timetables.
- Arranged or led town tours for Japanese council delegates and journalists from Sweden, Denmark, Australia, Germany and Belgium, and acted as a first point of contact for visitors to all Rye’s various festivals covering four weeks (arts/food), two weekends (jazz) and three days (Xmas, bonfire night and the sea) and generally helping visitors with enquiries, somewhere to stay, where to park etc etc.
The Town Council-provided Heritage Centre therefore plays an important role both for visitors and the town.
Photos : Rye News Library
Image Credits: John Minter .