Exploring Rye with Coco & Wolf
I think it goes without saying that almost all of us are enjoying the freedom that this year brings, and with freedom comes adventure, exploration and travel. We're incredibly lucky that the UK has such an abundance of gorgeous locations for a weekend away and our Exploring series will have you eager to hop on a train some weekend soon! We've already explored beautiful Bruton together and today we're sharing our insider, local's knowledge of the historic hilltop East Sussex town of Rye.
The Gallivant, Camber
Situated just a stone's throw from golden Camber Sands and its iconic sand dunes, The Gallivant offers some seriously laidback luxe vibes. Inspired by The Hamptons, all the bedrooms are generously sizes and uniquely decorated, with vintage swimsuits adorning the walls, and garden rooms offer direct access to the coastal garden. The Gallivant's dune facing restaurant is not to be missed as it champions local ingredients cooked to perfection, but the real highlight has to be a prepared for you picnic basket, loaded with local wine and gorgeous food, perfect for sundowners in the dunes.
The Outbuilding, Appledore
I very nearly didn't include The Outbuilding at nearby Appledore. Not because it doesn't offer the perfect weekend retreat but because it's such a delight it's almost too good to share. The luxury self-catering holiday home sits in a pretty Kent village, conveniently just a few miles from the border with East Sussex and the market town of Rye. Sleeping up to five guests, it is designed to perfection with effortlessly chic industrial accents and plenty of luxury touches. All that's missing is some Coco & Wolf bedding!
Cabu - Just a short drive along the coast from Rye is the wonderful Cabu at St Mary's Bay. Surround yourself in nature and stay in one of the beautiful and well equipped cabins beside the sea. An intimate retreat, Cabu has immediate access to the beach, a centrally located (and heated!) outdoor pool, communal pizza ovens and a variety of Cabins available for all size groups.
Tillingham - You'll hear more about local biodynamic winery, Tillingham shortly as a destination for food and drink not far from Rye, but I couldn't leave their very comfortable and stylish rooms out! Available for dinner, bed and breakfast stays, the eleven bedrooms all enjoy great views across the estate and original Victorian farmstead and the wine is so good you'll be glad you don't have to travel anywhere to rest your head.
EAT & DRINK
It describes itself as a multifaceted, holistically managed farmstead, but Tillingham with its wide open spaces, restaurant, rooms, terrace and outdoor pizza and bar makes it a must-do, nothing more, nothing less. Set amongst 70 acres of rolling hills and woodlands with far reaching views, the winery really is the perfect place to while away an afternoon or evening. Take your pick from quaffing the organic and diverse wines Tillingham famously produces, laid back pizzas and drinks in the old dutch barn or a delicious dinner, showcasing the best ingredients, simply cooked, either grown on the farm, or sourced from the best growers and producers from the surrounding area.
In the heart of Rye itself, The Fig is our favourite place for brunch, great coffee and cocktails (ideally all three!). This independent, lively café has a focus on fresh, vibrant healthy food in a gorgeous yet understated environment. Take it from us, the avocado smash is next level, with marinated courgette ribbons, petit pois and delicious herb oil, all atop locally made sourdough.
Knoops - This expertly crafted chocolate drinks brand was founded in Rye and it is a must-do when you're in the town. Knoops offers around 20 different % chocolates, all of which are available as hot chocolates, and 10 of which are available as milkshakes and iced chocolates. And don't forget the homemade marshmallow. Chef's kiss.
Ypres Castle Inn - My craft beer loving husband would never let me hear the end of it if I didn't include this little gem! The Ypres Castle Inn is an independent pub serving beer and cask ale with an ever changing, well curated tap list. Alongside this there's a great offering of real cider, natural wine, local cheeses and cured meats. The jewel in its crown is the historic location, with a fantastic beer garden, views across Romney Marsh and the imposing castle tower.
4 miles southeast of Rye lays the glorious golden sands of Camber. Stretching almost five miles and boasting the only sand dune system in East Sussex, Camber is a beach-lover's paradise.
Rye Town & Shops
With its sloping cobbled streets, medieval buildings and antique shops a-plenty, ancient Rye is nothing short of charming. The hill top town has a unique artistic and laid-back atmosphere, with stunning views across the Romney Marshes and plenty of things to do to fill a weekend. Alongside our food and drink recommendations, we'd also recommend taking in Mermaid Street's iconic view, losing yourself in the plethora of independent shops (including our favourite Merchant & Mills), and visiting the historic Ypres Tower, overlooking what was once the most important harbour in England.
Dungeness - Kent's most remote but intriguing corner, Dungeness is a must visit for nature and art lovers alike. With nuclear power stations, battered fishermen’s huts, lighthouses and concrete oddities, the bleak headland is somewhat otherworldly but certainly not to be missed. Be sure to check out Prospect Cottage, where film-maker Derek Jarman once lived.
Rye Harbour Nature Reserve - Covering 475 hectares, this conservation area has a mix of habitats including wetlands, reed beds, salt marshes, shingle beaches and gravel pits. Its diversity makes it great for wildlife and there are over 4300 different plants and animals in the reserve, including 280 species of bird and rare British wildlife.
We will be sharing more of our favourite places for a weekend away very soon, and sharing insider tips for places to stay, eat and explore, so do keep your eyes peeled!