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Things To Do In Rye, East Sussex

Feb 3, 2008
The historic town of Rye in East Sussex is situated close to the Romney Marshes.

One of the reasons for the popularity of the town of Rye is that there is so much history here. It has been a town since the time of the Normans and by the time of the 13th century it had become a thriving port.

Since that time, storms and "long shore drift" of the coastline have landlocked the town and it is now around 2 miles away from the coast.

Walkers often pass through Rye as part of their journey along the Saxon Shore Way, one of England's long distance footpaths. If you're following this interesting walk, you may decide to book your accommodation in Rye so that you can take in the local sights.

Another popular choice of things to do when you stay in Rye is to explore the Romney Marshes. These wetlands cover around 100 square miles and even lay claim to their own breed of sheep, who thrive in the wet conditions of the marshlands and have also been exported to Australia.

The marshes have been important over the centuries as their closeness to the European mainland means that they have often been at the front of the various invasions to England. Amongst other defenses here, King Arthur built a fortress in the village of Appledore.

More recently, the Martello Towers were built as part of England's coastal defenses in the 1800s. This was a series of small forts standing up to 40 feet high, sometimes surrounded by a moat to give more chance to keep invaders at bay. You can see some of these still standing in the area today, preserved as historic monuments.

Naturally the often bleak nature of the marshlands led to them being regularly used by smugglers from the 1600s right through to the 1800s. The sheep were an important part of the smuggling trade as their wool was smuggled across to continental Europe. They also inspired Rudyard Kipling to write his famous Smugglers Song.

If you've ever read the Doctor Syn novels, you'll recognize the landscape in the area as it was a setting for them.

Those with more energy may want to try their hand at the sport of kitesurfing, sometimes also known as kiteboarding. You can experience the thrill of being drawn along the water on a small board, similar to a surfboard, powered by a kite. Even if you don't want to participate, you may well be able to spot some kitesurfers practicing their sport in Rye Harbour or the nearby Camber Sands.

Shoppers are also catered for. There is a regular Farmers Market in the town of Rye, where you can buy fresh local farm produce and also a more varied Country Market which features locally made crafts and unusual plants as well as food.

When you visit Rye, you'll find a good range of places to stay, including a variety of small, family run bed and breakfasts and guest houses, where you are sure to receive a warm welcome.
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