Taking a detour to Rye

A gateway into Rye
A gateway into Rye

Smuggling and owling (wool smuggling) were once popular activities for locals and visitors to the southern English town of Rye. Today, tourists are more likely to come for some of the tastiest fish and chips you’ll ever eat or perhaps a milk shake made with various different strengths from creamy white chocolate with 28% cocoa content to an eye-wateringly strong 99% cocoa content drink at Knoops cafe.

Takeaway tea from Knoops
Coffee at Knoops
Milkshakes at Knoops
Milkshakes at Knoops
Cafe time in Rye
Cafe time in Rye
Specials at Knoops
Specials at Knoops
On the menu in Rye
On the menu in Rye
Fish 'n Ships from Marino's Fish Bar
Fish ‘n Ships from Marino’s Fish Bar
Foodie advertising in Rye
Foodie advertising in Rye
Art, history and food in Rye
Art, history and food in Rye
Rye's Mermaid Hotel, rebuilt in 1420!
Rye’s Mermaid Hotel, rebuilt in 1420!
One of Rye's many eye-catching doors
One of Rye’s many eye-catching doors
Looking to Camber Sands and Romney Marsh
Looking to Camber Sands and Romney Marsh

Once home to writers EF Benson and Henry James, the town sits several miles from the coastline, where a thousand years ago it was a major sea port. As the land was reclaimed by farmers and the rivers silted up, the town settled down as an agricultural backwater living of the wool trade off nearby the Romney Marshes. Today, watersports fans, tourists and yachties (there is still a small harbour open for business) fill its streets, squeezed into a camera-friendly cobbled-street maze within once fortified walls.

The town has two farmshops; Salts (saltsfarmshop.co.uk), which lies a couple of miles eastwards towards the sandy beaches of Camber Sands and Dengates, likewise outside the town, but a couple of miles north.

Rye is one of those towns that rewards those who visit and wander along its streets.

Bruce McMichael

I am freelance journalist and published author focusing on food and drink; business startups and enterprise; culture and travel. I have also written about the global upstream oil and gas industry, shipping and current affairs. Based in London, I travel widely, particularly across western Europe. I have chaired many conferences and meetings, spoken at conferences and events and often appear on radio and TV talking most about food, the business of food and being an entrepreneur.

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