A few days ago I put the final full stop on my new book, ‘Guinevere’ – an erotic novella telling the alternative myth of King Arthur’s famous wife.
It therefore seemed fitting to visit an English town that dates back to mediaeval times. Unlike the legend of Camelot, thought to be based in Cornwall, we visited Rye in East Sussex.
Despite living only 1.5 hrs away, neither my husband nor I had visited Rye before. Famous for its cobbled streets, rich history and old, old buildings, Rye is a famous tourist stop, and we decided it was about time we took it all in.
We stayed in The Mermaid Inn on the beautifully named Mermaid Street. An ancient building dating back to the 1100s (wow!), the Mermaid Inn is a pub with over thirty rooms, a cosy bar and a restaurant.
We were lucky enough to stay in a four-poster room and when I asked the chap who showed us to our room whether it was one of the haunted rooms (The Mermaid Inn is well known for being a popular ‘haunt’ with various spectres), he said no. However, when I checked out the room information, it very clearly said that there had been several sightings of the ghost of a man who terrifies guests by walking through the bathroom wall into the main room – aarrrgghh!
Ghosty didn’t make an appearance on the night we stayed (or if he did, we must have been asleep). I’m not sure whether I was relieved or disappointed about this!
We chose to have dinner in the bar as it was so lovely and cosy and heated with a huge open fire. We could have eaten in the dining room, which looked very lovely and had a tempting-sounding menu, but we wanted a relaxed evening, so we opted for a more informal setting.
We arrived Saturday midday and took a walk around Rye. If you like antiques, then Rye is a good place to visit, as it has so many antique shops. There’s also a very quaint looking independent cinema called ‘Kino’, which we’d have visited had we stayed longer.
There is an enormous amount of pubs and other eateries in Rye, many of which looked gorgeous. We, however, stuck with The Mermaid Inn, and took advantage of their mulled wine offering in the afternoon. It was a miserable, rainy January day, and there really seemed to be no better place to be than whiling the hours in the warm and comfortable bar. We even got chatting to the locals, which was very entertaining!
Rye is fairly small, so if you only have a weekend to spare, it’s a good town to visit. And if you like English history, ancient architecture and friendly locals, it’s the perfect place to go!