Arriving in Rye for the first time feels like you’ve stepped off the train / out of your car into the 1950′s.  There are no high street chains to speak of, no big supermarkets, just a quiet laid back market town that’s about as quintessentially English as any place can be.

Whilst tiny in size, Rye is grand in stature, with history that cities 10 times its size would envy!  Having been given the status of ‘Ancient Town & Cinque Port’ back in the 12th century, for many centuries Rye was considered the island’s major bastion against invasion on the Channel Coast and was one of the biggest trading ports in the country.  Its status made it a hot spot for smugglers and Rye was particularly famed for a type of smuggler known as an ‘owler’ who smuggled wool.  Today, every turn you make through the lanes & twittens (that’s the official countryside term for a ‘small’ lane, FYI) conjure stories of piracy, smugglers, and highwaymen…

Rye manages to be heart-achingly charming but without being chocolate boxy or twee. Cosied up together in amongst the tudor charm of little leaded windows, impossibly small front doors and beams you bang your head on, are the grand Georgian mansion houses lived in by many a famous person (EF Benson, Radclyffe Hall, Henry James and a good few more) and dramatic views across the marshes towards the sea…

If you’re staying at The Ship you’ll find lots of books on the town, plus maps and various guides to help you find your way around, or to get more of a sense of the place before you come see the ‘events’ and ‘area’ sections of the website.