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Holidays in Rye

Sussex town for lovers of nature reserves and jazz music

UK | South Coast | Sussex | Rye
Mermaid Street, Rye

Rye can be found on top of a hill with stunning views across the Romney Marshes. Meandering along the sloping cobbled streets and browsing around the many arts and crafts shops and quaint cafes, you are bound to find a bargain. Rye is an ideal base from which to explore the surrounding area of Sussex including the fabulous Nature Reserve at Rye Harbour, the unearthly yet bewitching Dungeness, and the famous dunes and golden sandy beach at Camber Sands.

Conveniently placed for the coast it is situated close to several places of historical interest. For centuries, Rye was an island and its only land connection at low tide to the mainland was through the Landgate Arch.

Winchelsea Church incorporates sections of the 12th century monastery of Greyfriars is also worth stopping by as it’s very photogenic. The medieval church and beautifully preserved historic houses give the whole town a wonderful unhurried atmosphere.

Many annual events take place in the citadel of Rye and visitors return year upon year. Try the Rye Festival in September, the Rye Society of Artist's Summer Exhibition, the new Rye Sea Pageant in October, the Rye Bonfire in November, and Rye Bay Scallops Week in January. There’s plenty to keep the whole family entertained and stomachs full!

Rye Harbour is a few miles south of Rye sat on the banks of the River Rother. It’s also known as a thriving yachting centre and a fishing fleet. It is home to a lifeboat station, two pubs and a village shop.

“If you love live music then come to Rye during one its many music festivals…”

The Rye Harbour Nature Reserve is an attractive Site of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSI) and one of the most important conservation sites in the UK. You can enjoy a maze of paths through a range of coastal habitats that includes reed beds, marshes for grazing, and freshwater gravel pits. The nature reserve at Rye Harbour has around five hides with wheelchair access providing excellent spots for all to appreciate the wintering and sedentary birds that make the area their home.

Also visit neighbouring Dungeness for one of the UK’s most unusual natural habitats. The largest shingle bank in Europe, some people have referred to it as the country’s only desert, sadly it receives too much rain to be classed as such. Visitors are treated to an unusual landscape that includes one active and one decommissioned nuclear power station, two lighthouses, a small gauge steam railway, clusters of wooden fisherman’s houses including Prospect Cottage and its pebble and metal garden. It is the former home of famous filmmaker Derek Jarman, nowadays it’s a private residence but you can still see the house and garden clearly from the road. There is a pub and café at Dungeness, but its best to check opening times in advance for the facilities.

Camber Sands is great for those that love a beach in all its guises. It’s nice and sandy and perfect for the family to play games on. Large sections of it are also open to dog owners and kite surfers. The beach is a few miles long so there’s room for everybody to play. Even if the weather is less than perfect you can enjoy a brisk walk along the sea shore.

While you’re there

Rye Harbour

Rye Harbour is a great nature reserve. Bird watchers and nature lovers can marvel at the wide range of life that live in the wetlands habitat.


A great day out if you want to visit one of the UK’s most unusual coastal villages. Photo opportunities galore await.

Rye town centre

The centre of Rye is full of interesting craft and antique shops. It’s nigh on impossible to come away empty handed from a shopping sojourn in Rye.

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