The Best Hotels and B&Bs to Book in Rye, Sussex

Escape to the country and enjoy beautiful views over Sussex at Saltcote Place Rye
Escape to the country and enjoy beautiful views over Sussex at Saltcote Place Rye | © Saltcote Place Rye / Expedia
Photo of Pierre de Villiers
2 November 2021

A fortified hilltop town that once played a crucial role in the defence of the south coast of England, Rye in Sussex is the sort of destination architourists dream of. Medieval, Tudor and Georgian architecture are connected by a maze of cobbled streets in a place where you’re never far away from extraordinary accommodation. Whether it’s an inn once frequented by smugglers, an 18th-century oast house that’s been turned into a hotel or a shepherd’s hut in the middle of a field, you’re guaranteed to find somewhere incredible to stay – these properties are all bookable on Culture Trip.

Playden Oasts Inn, for historic charm

Playden Oasts Inn
© Playden Oasts Inn / Expedia
Looking like something out of a Disney movie, Playden Oasts is a remarkable building with a history to match. Built in 1800, it was once a working oast house to dry locally grown hops for the production of real ale. Playden Oasts has survived two fires and was sold for just £9,000 in 1971 before becoming a private motel, and then the hotel it is today – with some seriously cool Roundel Rooms at the top of the structure.

The Lookout Rye, for stunning views of the river

Boutique Hotel
The Lookout
© The Lookout / Expedia
A small independent restaurant with rooms, the Lookout has a killer location right in the centre of medieval Rye close to the town’s Landgate – the only surviving one of four original fortified entrances to Rye. There are 18 rooms to pick from – the Penthouse has 360-degree views of Rye, the River Rother and fishing boats. Located at the top of Rye’s High Street, the Lookout is close to attractions like the 12th-century Church of St Mary’s, the Ypres Tower and Gun Gardens.

The Mermaid Inn, for a trip down memory lane

The Mermaid Inn
© The Mermaid Inn / Expedia
Become part of a history stretching back 600 years at this inn which hints at Rye’s rich maritime past. The cellars here date back to 1156 – while the building itself had to be rebuilt in 1420 after the Mermaid and Rye were burnt to the ground by French raiders in 1377. You can now have a drink in the Giant’s Fireplace Bar and follow in the sneaky footsteps of the Hawkhurst Gang – local smugglers who frequented the establishment in the 1730s and 1740s.

The River Haven Hotel, for boat-watching from your room

The River Haven Hotel
© The River Haven Hotel / Expedia
Watch boats bobbing around on the River Tillingham from the superior rooms of this comfortable three-star hotel on the Strand Quay. From here, the centre of the medieval town is only a few minutes’ walk away, so doing an architecture tour – taking in the Landgate Tower, Town Hall and a myriad of buildings of historical interest – could not be easier.

Saltcote Place Rye, for a peaceful, adults-only setting

Saltcote Place
© Saltcote Place / Expedia
Set in a country house dating back to 1905 and surrounded by 4 acres (1.6ha) of landscaped grounds – just a 15-minute walk from Rye town centre – Saltcote Place is one of the most popular wedding venues in the region. If that sounds like it might be a bit too frenetic for a peaceful stay, fear not. The hotel prides itself on being a child-free venue and putting its focus firmly on adult guests with treats like late champagne breakfasts.

The Gallivant, for a laid-back lifestyle

The Gallivant
© The Gallivant / Expedia
The Gallivant believes that “happiness is a place.” Looking at the way this trendy hotel – about 3mi (5km) from Rye, opposite the dunes leading to Camber Sands – is set up, they might just be right. Everything here is designed to chill you out, whether it’s the mooted colours of the 20 bedrooms, the Beach Hut in the garden – where you can get a massage or facial – or the Recovery Station, where you can make your own bloody mary.

Hare and Hounds Bed and Breakfast, for rural countryside

Formerly a pub, the Hare and Hounds sits in the countryside just outside of Rye and offers a range of accommodation – from B&B rooms to bell tents. The most whimsical of these is the Shepherds Hut, which stands at the bottom of the camping field and is available during the summer months. Suitable for two people, it comes with a double bed, wood burner and a bench outside that’s hidden behind a delightfully ramshackle fence.

The Iden Bell, for an authentic British beer garden

The Bell at Iden
© The Bell at Iden / Expedia
According to local legend, the Iden Bell was built as accommodation for the monks that constructed the Iden church – about 1.9mi (3km) from Rye. Some also believe there’s a tunnel between the pub cellar and the church, although nothing has been found thus far. These days, the Bell is a great place to stay and socialise with a cracking beer garden for summer days – or a cosy snug with a wood-burning fire for the winter nights.

The Regent Motel and Bar, for a countryside-inspired stay

The Regent Motel and Bar
© The Regent Motel and Bar / Expedia
Located in the centre of Rye, the Regent has recently unveiled a series of new themed rooms – with stag, seagull and hummingbird wallpaper adding a fun element to the casually furnished rooms. For a bit of privacy, you can opt for the Regent Cottage – a self-catering home-away-from-home with a fitted kitchen and bathroom, complete with a roll-top bath and walk-in shower.

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