Top things to do

Museum in Rye

Ypres Tower

Just off Church Sq stands the sandcastle-esque Ypres Tower (pronounced ‘wipers’). You can scramble through the 13th-century building to learn about its long history as a fort, prison, mortuary and museum (the last t…
Church in Rye

Church of St Mary the Virgin

Rye’s church is a hotchpotch of medieval and later styles. Its turret clock is the oldest in England (1561) still working with its original pendulum, which swings above your head as you enter. Climb the tower for pr…
British in Rye

Landgate Bistro

Escape the medieval excesses of Rye’s central eateries to this fresh-feeling bistro, slightly off the tourist trail near the impressive 14th-century Landgate. The focus here is on competently crafted dishes using lo…
Cafe in Rye


Long-time believers in organic and fair-trade produce, Haydens dishes up delicious omelettes, ploughman’s lunches, salads and bagels in a light, breezy cafe. There’s a wonderful elevated terrace at the back with gre…
Area in Rye

Mermaid Street

Most start their exploration of Rye on famous Mermaid St, a short walk from the Rye Heritage Centre. It bristles with 15th-century timber-framed houses with quirky house names such as ‘The House with Two Front Doors…
House in Rye

Lamb House

This Georgian town house is a favourite stomping ground for local apparitions, but its most famous resident was American writer Henry James, who lived here from 1898 to 1916, during which time he wrote The Wings of …
Cafe in Rye

Simon the Pieman

Many local cream-tea cognoscenti assert this traditional tearoom, Rye’s oldest, does the best scone-cream-jam combo this side of Romney Marsh. Further foes of tooth and waistline tempt from the shop’s window.