Photo of Rye

About Rye

Historic Rye is the perfect pick for a mini break. It’s small, but picturesque to its core, a charming little village rising up out of a hill and overlooking the wide, flat expanses of the Romney Marshes. There’s a church on top, surrounded by cobbled streets, buildings dating from the Tudor period, and tons of charming boutiques, galleries, cafes and restaurants. Many of our recommendations for the best places to stay in Rye have been converted from historic buildings (dating back to the 13th, 15th and 16th centuries), pubs, inns, smuggler’s warehouses. There are all sorts of historic wonders on our list, as well as a few more contemporary offerings.

Rye is a fishing town, but it’s not on the coast; Rye Harbour is at the edge of the marshes. But you can see the sea from Rye’s Castle lookout, called Ypres Tower, and from the tower of the Church of St. Mary. On a clear day you can see the water from Rye’s garden balconies too.

The best places to stay in Rye are ideal for anyone who loves a stroll around antique and vintage shops, lovely meals, excellent hot chocolates, water views, historic surrounds, and the odd visit to a National Trust property, vineyard, or even the beach — which you can find in both directions. Rye is not far from the unusual landscape of Dungeness, and its charming tiny steam-railway, and to many sites painted by Paul Nash, Norman Ackroyd, and Fred Cuming, just to name a few.

The Best Places to Stay in Rye

For a Special Occasion

  • Rye’s most famous thoroughfare is Mermaid Street, a picturesque collection of steeply laid cobbles lined with Tudor buildings. And the 13th century Mermaid Inn plays quite an important role in this street’s appeal. In fact even if you opt for a different hotel you’ll probably end up taking a photo of The Mermaid’s white and black-wood facade, and wonderfully wonky construction. If you do stay you’ll be treated to a collection of 31 rooms and suites that really do ooze history and charm, whether you opt for four-posters, stained glass, open fireplaces, or else the family-sized attic suite where Catholic priests and smugglers were hidden. The restaurant is very good, specialising in local treats like Romney Marsh Lamb and Rye Bay Cod.
  • Another of Rye’s most characterful properties is the Rye Windmill B&B: a real, Grade II listed white smock windmill, with ten charming rooms and suites. Just two of the suites are in the white windmill tower, the rest are in the ‘skirt’. The Windmill Suites are grander, with incredible views, but all guests get the same hearty breakfast, free parking, and an excellent location within a short walk of Rye’s bars and restaurants.

For Romantics

  • Jeake's House is just across historic Mermaid Street from The Mermaid Inn, and has a similarly quirky facade, though from a younger generation. The interiors are quirky too, which isn’t for everyone, but for those who like to stay in memorable accommodation, these 11 rooms and suites will provide a theatrical backdrop to a stay in Rye. Expect four-posters and toile-du-joie, eclectic antiques and objets d’art, and dark and interesting corners. The breakfast is extremely substantial, and includes salmon, kippers, kidney, ham and all sorts of other hot wake-up food.

For a Beach Break

  • The Gallivant is in Camber Sands, about ten minutes drive from Rye, but close to a long stretch of sandy bay known for its lively wind. The building has been converted from a 1960s motel, and is long and low, but the decor is all fresh — they’ve gone for New England beach style, with ticking, stripes and white-painted floorboards. There are 18 rooms and suites, a restaurant and plenty of space to relax.

For a Mini-Break

  • The George in Rye is another chicly converted historic building in hilltop Rye, this time a 16th century offering with a cool gastropub and rather bold and colourful decor. Of the 34 rooms and suites all are unique, decorated with vintage finds and statement wallpaper — our favourites have copper bathtubs. The Haystack suites have cubbyhole beds for kids. The pub and restaurant are popular, and deservedly so.
  • Whitehouse is a small B&B above a popular bakery on Rye’s main street. We love it for its freshness — they’ve respected the building’s original beams, but painted them all white, opened up the attic in a architecturally interesting way, and kept beautiful original features like original tiles and fireplaces. 

For Great Value

  • The Ship Inn is an historic pub-with-rooms, converted from a 16th century warehouse — probably involved with smuggling! It’s a wonderful warren of old beams, wood floors, cellars and nooks and crannies. The ten rooms upstairs are all simple and fresh, with lots of white and minimal fuss. The big surprise is the Michelin-recommended restaurant. Very child-friendly too.
  • The Standard Inn is a cosy, 15th century-built inn in the heart of historic, hilltop Rye, with all the period features you'd expect: exposed ceiling beams and brick walls, wooden floors, big open hearths. There are just five guest rooms — all with lots of character, and deep baths — and the pub and restaurant are warm and welcoming.

Prefer a Private Apartment or Cottage?

  • If you'd prefer the privacy of a self-catering option then browse through the wide variety available online with our partner, Booking.com.

Travel Information

  • London’s airports are the closest for Rye: Heathrow is on the right side of London, though if you’re travelling the rest of your route by train you still have to go via one of the central London stations, and Rye is an hour and a half but train from London St. Pancras. Rye is also about an hour and a half away from Heathrow by taxi or car. Gatwick Airport or London City Airport offer similar convenience, because if you’re using rail for your onwards journey they all pass through central London.
  • If you want to hire a car we recommend you visit our online partner, Rentalcars.
  • This is the UK, so expect changeable weather whatever the season. Rye is popular in summer, of course, when the average maximum temperatures are around 20°C. But it’s also beautiful in spring and autumn — if you don’t mind a chill and a bit of a shower or two. Winter is wonderful if you like things to be ‘bracing’. Rye’s charms run past the historic architecture to relaxed shopping, and restaurants, the nearby beach, spectacular views, and the wonderful atmosphere, all of which make it a year-round favourite.

Still not sure where to stay?


Monthly Weather in Rye

Best Hotels in Rye

  • The George in Rye Rye (Rye) 34 rooms from £150

    Boutique  -  A 16th-century inn with a twist — expect cool vintage finds, a gastro pub, and added luxuries like copper bathtubs
    Chic  -  A favourite of Clooney, Costner and other Hollywood movie stars — this is an undeniably chic British inn
    Short break  -  Trains to London take around an hour, making this an ideal choice for a quick weekend getaway
    Romantic Break  -  For a romantic getaway pick one of the rooms with an in-room bathtub
    RestaurantNo pets
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith, I Escape, Frommers, Good Hotel Guide, Kiwi Collection, Sawdays

    A 16th-century inn turned into a chic gastropub & hotel in historic Rye. Designer owners have given the place a truly individual touch. Expect vintage finds, patterned wallpapers, copper bathtubs & plenty of character. The bar is popular locally and the pub offers good British fare. A stylish stay. See More

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  • The Mermaid Inn Rye 31 rooms from £150

    Historic  -  The cellars date from 1156 and the building was rebuilt in 1420. It's a genuine piece of Tudor architecture
    Restaurant  -  2 AA Rosette dining featuring local produce, such as Winchelses Beef, Rye Bay Cod and Romney Marsh Lamb.
    Sights nearby  -  Well located for major sights.

    Historic inn in the centre of Rye which dates back to the 13th Century. Rooms ooze period charm with carved four poster beds, sloping beamed ceilings and gorgeous original features including a vast fireplace in the bar. Delicious 2 AA Rosette dining. A perfect weekend getaway. See More

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  • Rye Windmill B&B Rye, East Sussex 10 rooms from £80

    Landmark  -  Comes with a reputation.

    Charming and unusual B&B - two rooms in the mill itself (one of Rye's most famous landmarks) the rest attached. Next to the river and within walking distance of Rye town centre. See More

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  • The Ship Inn, Rye Rye 10 rooms from £85

    Beach Life  -  Spend the day on Camber Sands, with over 2 miles of stretch of beach to explore
    Local exploring  -  The B&B is the perfect spot for discovering the wonders of Rye and beyond
    Sights nearby  -  Visit Rye Castle, less than 10 minutes away from the B&B
    Restaurant  -  The restaurant serves locally sourced seasonal food
    RestaurantGardenPet friendlyParking
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide, Sawdays

    A charming and historic pub with rooms, nestled in the centre of the idyllic town of Rye. Rooms are chic, comfortable and filled with lots of natural light. The traditional pub prides itself in its love for English wine. Enjoy deliciously simple yet artisan locally sourced food at the restaurant. See More

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  • The Standard Inn Rye (Rye) 5 rooms from £100

    Local exploring  -  A great establishment from which to explore the local area.
    Great walks  -  There are several circular walks in and near Rye, as well as the 31-mile 1066 Country Walk.
    Quirky  -  An experience!
    Lively  -  Hip and happening.

    This 15th C inn in the centre of Rye is cozy and intimate. Rooms are full of character with beamed ceilings and pretty fabrics. Enjoy the warmth of the open fireplace after dining in the restaurant from a locally-inspired menu. There is lots to see and do in this Area of Natural Beauty. See More

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  • Whitehouse Rye (Rye) 6 rooms from £115

    Local exploring  -  Well positioned on Rye's main street meaning that independent stores, restaurants, and attractions are nearby
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the nearby 13th-century Rye Castle or Lamb House (the former home of Henry James)
    Great walks  -  Take long walks along the coast and through Rye Harbour Nature Reserve
    Full of character
    Pet friendly

    A small hotel set above a popular bakery on historic Rye's main street. Charming rooms are all named after a baked good. Expect wonky whitewashed walls, exposed beams, and simple modern furniture. Breakfasts are (unsurprisingly) a real treat. A friendly and laidback base. See More

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  • Jeake's House Rye 11 rooms from £120

    Sights nearby  -  Situated bang in the centre of town.
    Full of character
    Four poster beds  -  For romantics.
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide, Sawdays

    An old favourite; quirky, old-fashioned and slightly theatrical B&B bang in the centre of Rye. Full of character, in a wonderful town for weekending. See More

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  • The Gallivant Rye, East Sussex 18 rooms from £135

    Views  -  Fantastic views over Camber Sands
    Cooking classes  -  Overnight packages available
    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
    Sea Views  -  From some rooms.
    Recommended by  -  Sawdays, Mr & Mrs Smith, Michelin Travel

    1960s motel reborn as stylish New England beach hotel with good cafe and bistro dining, on Camber Beach. Driftwood style, retro detailing and a magnificent sandy beach. See More

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