A weekend in Rye

“Come, listen to my ditty, while of Rye I sing the fame;

For ’tis indeed an ancient town in character and name.

At first it was an island rock all lonely in the sea;

And neither man nor woman there the mariner could see.

I think ’tis more than probable; the seagulls settled here,

And were the sole inhabitants thro’ many a distant year.”

William Holloway (excerpt from ‘Rye: a ballad’)

 

Rye planning

We spent last weekend in Rye for the boys birthday. I chose Rye because we had our first ever weekend away there almost exactly three years ago! We even stayed at the same hotel (http://thegeorgeinrye.com) although my budget didn’t quite extend to the same level of luxury as his! The bed was comfortable but the room was really hot – we ended up unplugging the heater so we could sleep better!

Last time we visited, we went kite surfing which was great fun but i’d definitely recommend waiting until the weather is warmer! We had also climbed the tower of St Mary’s church, which is definitely well worth doing. Keep your eyes looking up so you don’t miss the oldest functioning church turret clock. The Quarterboys strike the quarter hours and there is a tenor bell to announce the hour.

Ypres castle

Somehow, we managed to miss Ypres Tower last time, despite this being just behind the church! I would thoroughly recommend a visit – it’s only £4 for an adult and packed with much more than you’d expect from the outside. The two staff we met were great fun and told us more about the exhibits. I enjoyed reading about the smugglers and other local legends. As you can see from my photo, we didn’t have the best weather (rain in England in February – who’d have thought it!) so didn’t spend too long out on the balcony! Ypres Tower was built in the 14th century, making it the second oldest building in Rye. Walking out towards the cannons after we’d finished looking around, we spotted the Ypres Castle pub. The rain provided a good excuse to pop in and we were lucky to grab seats by the fire. The staff were lovely and the hops above the bar were a lovely touch. We were still full from our generous breakfasts but the food smelt great!

Other pubs worth a mention are the Mermaid Inn, where the notorious Hawkhurst smugglers used to meet. As we were not staying in the hotel, we could only sit in the Inn area. I liked the stained glass and historic wall decorations. The Old Bell, Rye’s oldest pub, has a lovely beer garden (for warmer days) and is quaint in it’s décor.

We made sure we popped into The Tiny Book Store which is crammed full of books of all genres. The Rye map shown in the top picture was bought in Campion Frames which was a treasure trove of goodies – the boy is still talking about a picture he wished he’d bought!

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Overall, we had a lovely chilled weekend. Sadly we had to leave early on Sunday, just as the sun came out and the whole historic town looked beautiful with the backdrop of blue skies. We’ve already said we’ll come back when the weather is warmer, with a view to going to Camber Sands and visiting one of the three nearby vineyards.

Dorking and Denbies

“Penicillin cures but wine makes people happy”
Alexander Fleming

My friend, who has lived in Australia for the last four years, has been back in the UK over the festive period so we thought we’d use one of our catch-ups to get out of London  and do something fun. After much deliberation, we settled on Dorking due to its close proximity to London and the presence of Denbies and a large number of pubs!

We stayed in the newly refurbished White Horse (bespokehotels.com/dorking-white-horse), which had lots of lovely touches in the room such as Dickens books and horse shaped shortbread. The bed was super soft and we loved all the equine touches in the bar/restaurant.

 

white horse

 

The next morning, we headed off to Denbies, which is one of the largest wine producers in the UK. I am a member of the loyalty club – well worth the £25 annual fee. We had an informative tour which included a film on the history of the vineyard, followed by a tour of the working winery and then a tasting. We had opted for the classic tasting, trying two whites and a rose in the cellar room, with beautiful barrels as the decoration. I am definitely going to return in warmer weather when you can have an outdoor train tour through the beautiful vineyard setting. After our tour we treated ourselves to a glass of Denbies award winning sparkling wine in the cafe.

 

wine tasting

 

We then had a lovely lunch before strolling through Dorking, browsing the antique shops with a quick pit stop in a pub or two… The museum was closed as it was midweek so it looks like I have a few good excuses to pop to Dorking again soon!

Looking forward to 2018

“It’s pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves.

The book is called opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day”

Edith Lovejoy Pierce

 

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The start of a new year is often taken to be a new beginning. In fact, the first month gets its name from Janus, a two-faced God who the Romans believed looked backwards into the old year whilst simultaneously looking ahead to the future.

 

Traditionally, new years resolutions were about improving ones self. In fact, common objectives set now have been proven to be more successful than resolutions made at other times of the year.

 

Personally, I am hoping that 2018 will be my year of travel. I’m hoping to get away every single month this year and am aiming to up my country count too – I am on a rather respectable 50 plus (which is about 22% of the world) but have nearly 50% of Europe yet to visit! So first off is a city break to Riga in Latvia next week. My first holiday and first new country of the year.

 

I’m also aiming to be a better tourist in my own country. The boy and I aim to get away together once a month, often booking last minute. But I also want to explore more of London – I can’t remember the last time I went to a museum here!

 

Along with the rest of the country, I am going to join a gym and aspire to a healthier me.

 

Oh and of course, I want to blog…