The Best Weekend in Rye Itinerary: Where to Eat, Drink, Be & Sleep

I recently spent the weekend in Rye with my parents and toddler son. We had a brilliant few days relaxing in this charming town, and pootling around trying some of the best places to eat and drink. We also stayed in one of the coolest Airbnbs I’ve ever seen – take a look…

Rye for a weekend

If you’re after a weekend getaway that’s both quaint and full of character, you can’t go wrong with a trip to Rye. Visitors flock to Rye for boutique shopping, olde cobbled streets and pretty village scenes with half timbered houses. It’s just so pretty!

As well as having lots of things to see, there are also lots of things to do in Rye.

Here’s what my parents, my two year old son, and I, got up to on a weekend in Rye to help inspire your future weekend in East Sussex.

Weekend in Rye Itinerary

What to do in Rye for 2 days of fun. Where to eat, drink, be & sleep.

Friday afternoon / evening in Rye

We arrived in Rye after the 2-3 hour drive from Portsmouth, and parked at The Strand car park, strategically chosen to be near The Mermaid Street Cafe for a celebratory ice cream. You can enjoy the cafe downstairs and outside here, or the restaurant and licensed bar upstairs.

first stop in Rye

Just by The Strand Car Park you’ll see the second hand shops in the Old Grain Stores. Talullah Rose and Halcyon Days were two of my faves – offering all kinds of things I couldn’t look at properly as my attention was fully on my enthusiastic toddler.

Once you’ve exhausted them, you can wander up the cobbled street a few minutes to get to The Mermaid Inn. This is one of the oldest pubs in the UK, and an essential stop in Rye. Last time I visited we just enjoyed the foliage outside, but it was too cold and wintry for that – so in we went for a glass of house wine by the fire.

weekend in rye

This was a great way to settle in to our weekend in Rye, with a good seat by the window watching the Rye tourists go by. Think I made it into quite a few photos that day!

Come 4 o’clock and we were ready to check into our airbnb, just a few minutes drive away. It was a careful and cautious walk down the cobbled street back to the car, but a fun one admiring the houses along the way. We particularly enjoyed the house names ‘The House With the Bench’ and ‘The House Opposite’ (The Mermaid Inn).

Where to stay in Rye

We stayed at this 70s inspired airbnb about a 10-minute walk from the High Street. We had 3 bedrooms, a big bathroom, a great garden and a kitchen and lounge to relax in at The River House. Perfect for an afternoon of chill after a morning’s sightseeing. It’s the perfect location!

Find out more below!

Rye dinner at The Globe Inn Marsh

Just a few minutes walk from our airbnb, was The Globe Inn Marsh. One of the most-loved and highly-rated pubs in Rye. I booked us a table for the first night, although they do keep some tables for walk ins.

Such a great pub…

After some deliberation, given the chairs and tables were all different, we chose our seat in the corner. Great, because it had a partition which gave my toddler son a sort of barrier that he knew not to cross, and kept his noise in!

So first, cocktails, then an amazing seafood, fish and chorizo stew for me, and fish and chips for Reggie. Mum had scallops and beetroot salad, and dad had the Catch of the Day (seabass).

where to go in rye

We loved the vibe of The Globe Inn Marsh, in fact, so much so, we went back again the next day. It was just so easy from our airbnb on a cold and wet weekend. We all loved it, so why not?!

The next night dad and I had beef burgers, and mum and Reggie both had the kiddie fish and chips. With a carafe of wine to wash it down with, we were all happy!

Evening in Rye

The Globe Inn does do live music nights, so check the listings for your date. But, if you want some evening entertainment, I’d suggest The Grapevine Champagne and Jazz Bar in the centre of Rye. They have plenty of selection to drink from, and live music 5 nights a week.

Saturday morning in Rye

Take a leisurely stroll through the historic quarter. Expect narrow cobbled streets, half-timbered houses, and cosy little shops – it’s like stepping into a storybook!

exploring rye

Where to go for brunch in Rye

The Fig is one of the most popular breakfast spots in Rye. The lovely staff help to create a warm and inviting atmosphere, and there’s an amazing menu featuring a good range of breakfast options.

best brunch in rye

I went for the shakshuka, which was very filling and very tasty. The feta added creaminess, the peppers and onions the flavour, the chorizo a smokey depth and the bread a fun way to scoop it all up. The eggs were cooked perfectly too.

what to eat for brunch in rye

I ordered Reggie the banana waffles, and gawwwd they were good. So fluffy. I’d never order this myself as waffles are (usually) always disappointing. Not these. He’s a lucky boy!

Visiting The Fig was a really lovely experience, and it puts you right in the centre of Rye. It wasn’t cheap, but the best food usually isn’t!

Saturday afternoon in Rye

We had a little wander down to the lookout point near The Fig, where we tried to operate the telescope, with little success. We wandered back past the boutique shops, with a little visit to the library for Reggie to run around and cause havoc.

Here are some of the best things to do in Rye on a weekend, although we pootled back to our airbnb. I’ve done all of these things on previous visits…

Rye Castle Museum

The Rye Castle Museum is housed within the Ypres Tower. Enjoy the exhibits showcasing Rye’s fascinating history. Climb to the top of the tower for a stunning panorama of the town and its surroundings.

what to do in rye

Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

With its picturesque trails and abundant wildlife, you’ll feel a world away from the hustle and bustle at the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. Take in the sights, keep an eye out for rare bird species, and let the soothing sounds of nature wash over you.

Camber Castle

Visit the majestic ruins of Camber Castle. Take a leisurely stroll through the countryside, embracing the tranquility as you admire the castle’s robust structure. It’s the perfect spot for a picnic, so pack some goodies and enjoy the serenity of this historical gem.

Lamb House

Lamb House is the perfect place to visit to understand more about the literary importance of Rye. Both Henry James and E. F. Benson lived here – don’t know who they are? You soon will! Even if you’re not particularly interested in them, there’s a beautiful house and garden to look round.

More shopping in Rye

Rye has some of the coolest boutique shopping on the south east coast. Just aim for the High Street, Market Street and Lion Street to enjoy the eclectic offerings of the independent shops.

shopping in rye

Pop into lifestyle shop Sailors for its seashell-infused soaps, locally made artisan chocolate and oyster shell candles. Rye Pottery sells decorative ceramics and is best known for its hand painted animals – pick up a unique piece while you’re here!

To find something really special check out Ethel Loves Me or Forget Me Not, both are great spots for gifts.


If you’re a fan of hot chocolate, Knoops is a must-visit. This cosy cafe on Lion Street is renowned for its extensive selection of gourmet hot chocolate. However, they also serve a tasty breakfast menu to fuel your day. Enjoy a stack of fluffy pancakes, a hearty bacon sandwich, or their famous avocado and feta smash on sourdough toast. But please, get the hot chocolate!

Best place for dinner in Rye

As I said above, we actually just went back to The Globe Inn Marsh for our second dinner. May sound a bit mad, and I don’t think I’ve ever done that before, but it was so easy and close, and we enjoyed it so much, we just thought – why not?

If you want to cast your Rye net a bit further, how about one of these for dinner on your weekend in Rye?

  1. Webbe’s at The Fish Café: This restaurant offers a superb dining experience with a focus on fresh seafood dishes prepared with locally sourced ingredients.
  2. The George in Rye: If you’re looking for a more upscale dining experience, The George in Rye offers modern British cuisine in a refined setting. The menu features seasonal dishes crafted from high-quality, locally sourced produce. It’s right near The Fig on one of the main streets in town. If you can, pop in for afternoon tea!
  3. Hoof: If you’re in the mood for steak, Hoof is the place to go. This steakhouse offers a selection of high-quality cuts cooked to perfection, along with a variety of sides and sauces to complement your meal. Also, the burgers and Freakshakes are epic!

Or, how about a takeaway fish and chips to eat at your airbnb? Marino’s Fish Bar is the place to go if you fancy this treat best enjoyed by the coast.

Sunday morning in Rye

Breakfast in Rye

You could treat yourself to a delicious breakfast at one of Rye’s charming cafes.

Cobbles Tea Room: Tucked away on West Street, Cobbles Tea Room is a delightful little gem serving up a traditional English breakfast with a smile and vintage decor.

The Runcible Spoon: A charming cafe that prides itself on its homemade and locally sourced ingredients. Their breakfast menu showcases a range of delicious options, from classic cooked breakfasts to scrumptious vegetarian dishes.

Or, you could go to Tillingham Winery – just a ten-minute drive away.

Tillingham Winery

Seeing as we were in East Sussex – an area of England known for its vineyards – I wanted to visit one!

Of course I’ve always got the toddler to think of, so wine tours were out of the question. And Ben wasn’t with us, so I had to drive. So, breakfast at a vineyard seemed like the perfect compromise.

I messaged Tillingham Winery on Instagram and they booked us in.

brunch at tillingham

It was a wonderful experience. The views from the breakfast room across the vineyards were fab, our waiter was wonderful, the food was great, and Reggie had the freedom to explore as there was so much space up there. I loved what they’d done with the place, and the decor was fab.

You could taste the quality in the Full English, and the jammy sourdough, and the coffee was pretty special too. All in all we had a lovely experience at Tillingham, and I’d love to go back to taste the wine next time.

Not sure what I was thinking in not buying a bottle!

Sundays near Rye: Camber Sands Beach

If it’s a sunny day, hit the beach. Make your way to Camber Sands, it’s a beautifully expansive coastline with golden sand dunes. Look at all that space!

Camber Sands Beach

You can have a great UK day out here. Embrace the coastal vibes with a leisurely walk along the shore, challenge the wind with a kite-flying session, or simply bask in the sun’s warm embrace. If you’re feeling adventurous, try your hand at some water sports for an extra adrenaline rush.

Or, just sit, admire and enjoy.

Where to stay in Rye: The River House

We stayed at this 70s inspired airbnb about a 10-minute walk from the High Street. It also had parking for 3 cars, so our two fit on easily.

There were 3 bedrooms at The River House, all uniquely decorated. Reggie and I chose the rainbow one – mainly because the bed was against the wall in that room – but also, because we love rainbows. It was so fun to see the joy on his face everytime he saw it.

where to stay in rye

There were two other bedrooms with double beds and great views across the fields behind the house. There was a also a big bathroom with two sinks (no bath – washed the toddler in the kitchen sink), and a separate toilet downstairs.

We had a great kitchen and lounge to relax in, making it difficult to go out again on the Saturday afternoon. We hadn’t seen each other for a while so we just enjoyed a bottle of Champagne on the sofa, and in the garden. We were there in February but the garden would be a gorgeous space to relax in come summer.

It was the perfect location!

Weekend in Rye

If you’re looking for somewhere with a rich history, beautiful surrounding countryside and a thriving town centre, then Rye is a great place for your weekend trip. The antique shops, the historic pubs, and the general vibe of the town just makes for a great getaway.

what to do in rye

As you’ve read, there are some great local restaurants in rye and its just a short walk to the delights of Strand Quay and the Rye Heritage Centre.

Rye Station is right in the centre of town, for anyone wanting to explore by public transport, or it’s just a short drive to some great local attractions to suit all ages (including a sandy beach and wine tasting). Rye is one of the best-preserved medieval towns, and I’d definitely recommend it for your next weekend break!

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