Dry January should not be extended to your adventurous activities. All too often January is a time that we find ourselves calming down from the Christmas and New Year fanfare. Our wallets have taken a hit and even if we did venture out, at the sign of oncoming rain and winds, we’d quickly retreat back to Netflix and chill mode.
So, in the spirit of keeping my adventurous spirit alive though January, I decided to explore some quaint small towns dotted around the UK. For me the closer to London, the better. And that’s in the spirit of staying within post-Christmas budget.
So Why did I decide to go to Rye? Well, with the help of some insta-piration from the Gram and seeing all the pretty pictures of this old East Sussex town. Even better, it’s just over an hour from London St Pancras Railway Station. The perfect last minute, ‘spare of the moment’ destination.
Once you arrive at Rye you want to begin at the famous Mermaid Street and travel uphill on it’s cobbled street, stopping to take in the eccentric names of the houses, like ‘House with two front doors’.
At the top of the hill and down the lane you will stumble across St Mary’s Parish Church and the old vicarage which happens to be the impressive pink house in front of the church.
If you do one touristy thing in Rye, you should head up to the top of the church’s bell tower as you will get the best view of the town, for an affordable £4. And if you keep your ticket you can come back as many times as you like within a year and head up again. That’s what I call a blessing.
Just a warning to go slow and that the stairs through the tower are extremely narrow. My backpack and I managed to edge our way up, but it will be a bit of a squeeze for some.
It was a grey overcast day, in true British style, but the view was nonetheless spectacular and the cloudy sky added to the charm for me.
From the Church tower I weaved my way along the cobbled town, through their high street and past inviting cafes.
The old town in Rye is pretty small, but it’s the perfect place to stop for lunch, tea, a sweet treat and to spot a couple of landmarks like the Landgate.
In the late afternoon I stumbled upon Knoops, a hot chocolate bar. And it’s not any old hot chocolate, but the kind made from the finest cacao sourced from around the world. It’s modern, it’s cozy, it’s very East London in fact. But the choice of having your hot chocolate the milkiest you can go, or full on 100% cacao is truly impressive. Especially with the notes of different ingredients, like lavender, chilli and orange. It’s like a winery, for chocolate.
My 72% Peruvian dark hot chocolate served in a generous mug was a warming end to wondering the streets of Rye.
When I do comeback to Rye, hopefully when things have warmed up a bit, I also would like to check out the Rye Castle Museum, stroll along the nature reserve and if things really do warm up, Camber Sands beach is located at the south of rye, a bus ride or a short drive down.
Hope you are inspired to have a little adventure out of the big smoke, that is London, even if it’s for a day.
Lastly if there are any other pretty towns in Britain that you think I would enjoy as much as Rye, please recommend in the comments below. As I mentioned in my New Years goals post, discovering more of Britain is a priority for me this year, wish I have launched with this trip to Rye. Yay me!