What to See and Do
There is something for everyone in Rye Harbour and all within easy walking distance from The Old Vicarage.
Eating out couldn’t be easier, the Village has two local pubs the William the Conqueror and the Inkerman Arms, both provide good home cooking. The Bosuns Bite cafe is opposite the Lifeboat House and is open daily to eat in or take away and there is a small local convenience shop, Harbour Stores, just across the road that stocks just about anything you could need.
The Avocet Art Gallery and Tearoom is right next door and serves gorgeous home-made cakes and light lunches. Browse their fantastic range of original paintings and limited edition prints .There is also designer silver jewellery, woodcrafts and ceramics too. The unique range is always changing and regular exhibitions showcase new collections. The perfect place to find unique gifts that remind you of your stay in Rye Harbour.
Walking & Bird watching
For Nature- Lovers, Walkers and Birdwatchers, Rye Harbour Nature Reserve is literally just outside the front door – it is over 1000 acres of SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) with shingle ridges, saline lagoons, saltmarsh, reedbed, pits and grassland containing over 3,700 species. The Reserve protects the rich and varied flora and fauna. You can follow one of the many footpaths through the Reserve, (there are maps in our rooms to help you plan your route), stopping off at any of the five bird watching hides to watch some of the thousands of birds that visit every year. If you need any help in identifying what you have seen, call in to the Lime Kiln Information Centre where the friendly staff will be able to help you.
For the adventurous walkers it is possible to walk westwards along the coast to Winchelsea, Pett Level and even onto the Firehills and Hastings Country Park without stepping foot on a road. Why not order one of our picnic lunches to take with you. Just let us know the evening before.
Just a short walk down the private shore road (a made-up road but not open to public traffic) from the house takes you to the beach. Our beach is shingle – the collecting of blue boulders for the potteries provided a living for many Rye Harbour residents in the late 19th and early 20th Century –although at low tide a sand bank is exposed, perfect for a game of football or cricket, but keep your eye on the rising tide. The ideal spot for beachcombing. Or if it’s sandy beaches you are after, the famous Camber Sands which you can see across the River are a 15 minute drive away.
The tower just outside The Old Vicarage is number 28 and known as the Enchantress Tower; it can be viewed from the outside and gives its name to one of our bedrooms.
Henry VIII had this fort built to defend Rye from attack; it now lies just over a mile
from the sea, within the Nature Reserve. It is open to the public on the first Saturday of the month from July to September for those who want to explore within the walls, but you can walk to it at any time of the year and view from the outside.
Mary Stanford Lifeboat House
Reached by a short walk along the beach front this lifeboat house has not been used since the dreadful day of 15th November 1928 when tragically all 17 Rye Harbour lifeboat men lost their lives in what remains to this day, the biggest loss of life from a single lifeboat.
The Harbour & Boating
A short stroll from the Old Vicarage takes you to the Harbour itself, where you can sit and watch the comings and goings of a working Harbour. The RX registered boats from Rye’s commercial fishing fleet go to sea daily bringing back many delights such as Rye Bay Plaice or the renowned Rye Scallops, celebrated each year during a two week Scallop festival ( see Special Events for dates).
Visible from the Old Vicarage is the blue building that is the current RNLI Lifeboat Station. Manned by local volunteers the new Atlantic 85 class lifeboat B842 Hello Herbie was placed on service on 22 June 2010.
There is a public slipway located next to the Lifeboat Station. If you have your own boat or jet-ski you can purchase daily permits to use the facility. With a small chandlery and workshop right in the Harbour it is an ideal base for a boating holiday. We can make room in the driveway for you to bring your trailer in off the road (depending on size!) and even secure your jet ski in the garage overnight if you’d like. If you prefer to let someone else take the strain of launching and recovery Full Throttle Boat Charters offer charters from the Harbour.
Daily tide times are displayed in the porch at The Old Vicarage, so you can choose whether to walk on the sand, which is uncovered at low tide or be the first to beach comb along the line of the high tide once it has turned to run back out. The constant ebb and flow of the river can be watched from the Old Vicarage, on the highest Spring tides it even covers the salt marsh and reaches up to the foot of the flood defence banks. During these tides there is often a small Coaster (up to 150ft long) to be seen delivering cargo to the Wharf.
Cyclists are well catered for with most of the surrounding land being relatively flat. If you bring your own cycles we are more than happy to secure them in our garage for you overnight and if you don’t have your own bicycle there is no excuse as we have some available for you to borrow!