More information about Rye, Sussex

Rye is a wonderfully picturesque town which is difficult to match and has a lot to offer. You must be prepared to walk round as driving around to look at the sights is impractical. It's only a small place although a little hilly in places and wandering slowly around the cobbled streets is a delight. There is also a very good selection of shops and as for eating and drinking establishments you can't move without tripping over one.

The fact that Rye is so attractive means that a lot of people want to visit it which means that there are a lot of tourists around in season. If you are inclined not to visit because it is so popular then you will be missing a little jewel. This is one of those places where I would say put up with the other visitors and visit anyway. There were noticeable numbers of tourists when we were there in June and I expect there will be more later in the summer so if you can go early in the season you will find it less crowded.

One of the other reasons that it is so popular is that Rye was used as the town of 'Tilling' in the television series based on the 'Mapp & Lucia' stories by E. F. Benson. We watched the series many years ago and have seen some repeats since our vist. Watching the repeats was accompanied by "Oh look! That's the Guilhall" or "Oh that's the corner of Watchbell Street" and of course when we were in Rye we saw "Georgie's house" and 'Mallards'.

There are a number of web sites about the 'Mapp & Lucia' aspect of Rye:

The E.F.Benson Society
Tilling on Television"

and many others - do a search on "mapp lucia rye" to find more.

One of Rye's many attributes is the railway station which means, of course, that you can get there by train and the station is not far from the town centre. If you are travelling by public transport then you can pick your accommodation where ever you choose without having to worry about parking.

Rye is an old, quaint town with narrow streets which were never intended to accommodate motor vehicles and it follows that parking here is not easy. If you are driving, and particularly if you are staying for longer than a day, then you should read the parking page.

If you are using a hotel or bed & breakfast establishment and are travelling by car then don't take what they may tell you about parking at face value. Most accommodation establishments in the town do not have any parking of their own so you have to find your own. Most of them also mention the car park in Rope Walk but omit to tell you that it's closed on Thursdays. Some places do have parking but not enough for all their customers so I'll say it again - read the parking page. This will also apply to self-catering accommodation.

If you are visiting with your car then ask the Tourist Information Centre (see details below) to send you the free street plan which marks all the one way streets because you'll need it until you become at least a little familiar with the road layout. You can download the same guide and street plan as a PDF document. You'll also find it useful as a guide when walking round the town.

Go up the church tower if you have the opportunity but heed these warnings:

A Narrow Passage in the Church Tower, Rye, Sussex, England, Great Britain
There is a very narrow passage which has to be negotiated between the bell ringing chamber and the bell chamber itself and this is it.

Click the picture for a larger view.

One of the bells in the tower is used to strike the hours and we chanced to be in the bell chamber at precisely 2 o'clock. We had no prior warning so that to say we were taken by surprise must be the understatement of the year. It is VERY, VERY loud. We both remarked that we'd hate to have been there at mid-day.

The other warning is that some people may find the top of the tower induces a little vertigo although it is quite safe. There is a good strong stone parapet but the walkway is narrow so that you cannot move away from the outer walls.

Lion Street from the Church Tower, Rye, Sussex, England, Great Britain
The views from the top are pretty good and this one is of Lion Street running down to High Street. You can see the other views from the top of the tower on the  'More of the church'  page.

Click the picture for a larger view.

A Herring Gull, Rye, Sussex, England, Great Britain

Being near the sea there are plenty of Gulls about and we could see gull chicks on some of the rooves from our hotel room. This is an adult Herring Gull having a bit of a rest. A lot of people don't realise how large these birds are.

Click the picture for a larger view.





Address and contact information for Rye Tourist Information:

Tourist Information Centre
Rye Heritage Centre
Strand Quay
TN31 7AY

Tel: 01797 226696
Fax: 01797 223460


This information is based on our visit to Rye in June 2007.