The Globe Inn
Rye is spattered with the kind of historic inns and salt-of-the-earth watering holes that make you feel as if stumbling into a bygone era – though you could put that down to your bottle of Camber Down white. Our favourite? The Globe Inn, a gin-soaked clapboard pub, where the sun-trap beer garden is great for winding down in summer and roaring fires beckon in winter – especially good with a pint of Harvey’s Wild Hop Blonde, brewed in nearby Lewes. This place is prime for a knees-up on Thursday evenings when local musicians play, though its drink-and-paint club is the star event. Gastropub-style food is also available.
10 Military Road
Café des Fleurs
Spilling onto the pavement outside the railway station, this spot is blooming marvellous for caffeine-hungry Londoners who’ve just arrived on the train or those killing half an hour before a journey home. Part café, part florist, Café des Fleurs is a twee set-up, where unusual stems and ready-made bouquets are served alongside good coffee and great cake.
Rye Waterworks Micropub
Built as a pump house in 1718, this pint-sized building has had several reincarnations over the last 300 years, including as a soup kitchen, public toilets and antiques emporium. In 2018 it was reborn as a micropub (Rye’s first), an intimate space for supping a rotation of craft beers, local ciders and Sussex wines sourced within a 45km radius.
The Mermaid Inn
Legend has it that the ghosts of 18th-century smugglers call this 700-year-old alehouse home – trace its crooked floors along secret passageways to the priest hole and you’ll likely believe it true. We like this spot best for pitching up by the gaping inglenook fireplace on a cold evening, though The Mermaid also has 31 rooms – all red carpets, dark-wood panelling and carved four-poster beds – for a stay that will transport you to the Rye of yesteryear.
Knoops will ruin all hot chocolates you’ll ever have – they’re really that good. Simply select your base (ranging from white to 100-per-cent dark, single-origin, Madagascan cocoa) and throw in extras such as ginger, rosemary, Szechuan pepper or a shot of amaretto. Dairy-free options are available, as are milkshakes for warmer climes.