Located in the heart of Rye is the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin. The church was built in 1103 and has obviously been very well maintained - apart from almost being completely destroyed by looters back in 1377.
It is home to the oldest working church tower clock in England, which dates back to 1561. It still has the original pendulum mechanism powering it - they don't make them like that anymore!
Take the time to pop inside the church, and if you are feeling energetic you can climb up the church tower and enjoy the excellent views over Rye and the surrounding area.
Mermaid Street is a gorgeous cobbled street in the centre of Rye. It is apparently one of the most famous streets in England…..nope, I hadn't heard of it either.
Take a walk up the street and admire the lovely timber-framed houses lining it, some of which date back as far as the 15th century. There is the quaint Mermaid Inn, with its award winning restaurant and character-filled bedrooms, or check out the houses with unusual names like "The House Opposite".
My favourite was the "The House with two Front Doors", which not surprisingly did have two front doors (see photo).
At the top of Mermaid Street, turn right and you will be at Lamb House. The building dates back to 1722, and was the home of American author Henry James from 1898 to 1916.
Continue up the road and you will arrive in Church Square, where you will see a large central church surrounded by attractive buildings.
Located just down from the eastern corner of Church Square is the Ypres Tower. The tower was part of the original 13th century fortifications that surrounded the town, and it is the oldest remaining section.
The tower was used as a prison for a few centuries, but these days is home to the Rye Castle Museum.
Take a wander to the front of the tower, have your photo taken sitting on one of the canons, and enjoy the view over the marsh.
Back in the 14th century, Rye was a fortified town, and at the time there were four gates built to allow access inside the walls - the Landgate, Strandgate, Baddings Gate and the Postern Gate. Of the four gates, only the Landgate remains today.
Located in the north-eastern corner of town, the Landgate has two towers and a chamber above the arch. There is also a clock on either side in case you forgot your watch ; ) Originally it also had gates, a portcullis and a drawbridge.
Every visitor, who is physically able to, should visit the historic Mermaid Street. With houses called "The House with Two Doors", "The House with the Seat" and "The House Opposite" to name but a few, it is well worth seeing! Every ancient building could tell a story on this steep and cobbly street but none more so than The Mermaid Inn - possibly the oldest Inn in the UK, dating from 1420, it was a favourite haunt of the notorious Hawkhurst Gang - smugglers with a most terrible reputation.
Camber castle is an old Tudor artillery fort located outside Rye in the fields of the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. It's a property owned by English Heritage but has fairly limited opening hours and these do change so see the english heritage website for details before going.
You can't get here by car. You also can't get here by public transport. You just have to walk across the fields. I have found that it is nice to walk across the Rye Harbour nature reserve from Rye train station on a fine summer day. East Sussex county council have a suggested walk on their website
The castle when open is staffed by volunteers of the nature reserve and when I have visited the gentleman on duty has offered guided tours of the castle. These are worth doing. Without this you might leave just thinking that you've seen a pile of rubble and old crumbling walls. The guided tour brings the history of the place to life and you get to see things that you would otherwise probably miss - such as the Tudor graffiti mocking Henry VIII.
Along the quay you can see all the old black wooden warehouses which have been renovated and made into shops and restaurants. Unfortunately they are not in this photo.
Rye Tourist Information office is here too.
St Mary's Church seits upon the hilltop town of Rye and has done so for almost 900 years. History has dealsth it a few blowes over the years, such as in 1377 when the French looted the town, set fire to the church and then carted the church bells off to Franch. They were eventually recovered the following year when local men went to Normandy and retrieved them.
The church boast the country's oldest church turret clock, which was constructed around 1561.
The church tower is well worth the small admission price you pay to climb it. The view from the top over the surrounding landscape is spectacular, you can see all the way to the coast. However do be careful not to be climbing the tower when the bells are due to ring, you'll deafen yourself if you're beside them when they start clanging.
You can visit the church daily between 9 and 6 pm, however in the winter the church closes at 4pm.
The home of the writer Henry James who lived here between 1898-1916 and later was also home to Rumer Godden and EF Benson. Now owned by the National Trust, there is a beautiful walled garden here and some of James' personal effects.
Please see the second photo for opening times and ticket prices etc
Just by the Ypres Tower pub are the stocks. I don't know anything about them other than they would have been used to punish local miscreants. What fun it must have been to throw rotten vegetables at some obnoxious neighbour or ne'er do well or undesirable!! A quick and easy way to vent one's frustrations and instantly reduce stress!
We can't do that nowadays but we can still stick our hands through the stocks and imagine what it must have been like :)
This is the part of the old fortification that is left standing today and dates back to 1249.
Once it was used for as a prison but now it is a museum.
During the 14th century Rye's defences were strengthened with stone walls and 4 gateways after the town was destroyed in 1377 by the French.
Only the Landgate still stands and sadly no remains of the original Norman Castle.
Behind these ivy-covered walls is one of Rye's most famous attractions - the Mermaid pub. The current building dates back to 1420, but it is known that a pub stood on this spot many years before that. During the 18th century it was a favourite place for smugglers to drink.
There is a small beer garden at the back of the inn, and inside the pub is furnished as it might have been centuries ago, with tapestries and creaking old chairs. The drinks are a little more than average, but it is worth it for the atmosphere - we felt that the bar food was a little over-priced though so avoided it.
Accommodation is available at the Inn and it would make the ideal base for a romantic weekend.
Lamb House's claim to fame is that it was the home of the writer Henry James during the early 20th century. It is now open to the public two days a week (part of the house is still lived in so it cannot open more often).
Only three rooms and the garden can be visited. Few of James' original possessions remain, but there is a lot of memorabilia associated with him such as photographs of himself and his literary friends. Sadly, his favourite room where he used to like to write no longer exists, as it was hit by a stray bomb during the second world war (fortunately nobody was hurt).
You only need around half an hour to visit the house, as there is very little to see and the rooms do become a bit crowded.
Open Wednesday and Saturday only, 2pm - 6pm. Price in 2004: 2.75. No toilets or refreshments.
The Landgate is the one surviving gate of the original four in the medieval defensive walls of the town of Rye. There is little left of these walls now except the Landgate which sits at the North East corner of the old town and is a nice place to enter the old town - although if you've arrived in Rye by train this does mean taking a short detour.
The gate dates back to 1329 and would originally actually have had gates and a portcullis to keep out unwanted visitors. It now has a clock each side instead as Rye tends to want to allow visitors in rather than keep them out!
The gun garden is part of the Ypres Tower museum but both the garden and the museum can be visited separately - I didn't buy a ticket for the garden as the gate was open and other people just seemed to be wandering in and out - maybe in the winter its free but anyway, there are lots of old cannons and stunning views over Romney Marsh.