Autumn, the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. Skies illuminated with bursts of turquoise and pink, coast and countryside dusted with gold and auburn… The perfect time for a holiday beside the sea.
Why not explore the ancient towns of Rye and Winchelsea as the sky glows red and gold in the low autumn sun. Once surrounded by sea, these fortified hilltop towns played an important role in the defence of the south coast of England. These days, the river no longer harbours warships, instead it is home to the Rye’s fishing fleet, and the sea that once lapped the fortified walls has long since receded. Once the haunt of smugglers and highwaymen, now they regularly attract film crews in search of historic settings for period productions.
With historic sites galore, atmospheric battlefields, stately homes, castles, ancient port towns and Norman ruins scattered across our coast and countryside, this pocket of England is one giant museum, heaving with history and heritage.
Autumn is a wonderful time to explore the nature reserves at Rye Harbour and RSPB Dungeness as thousand of birds arrive to a mosaic of habitats beside the sea with shingle, saltmarsh, sand dunes, rivers, pits, grazing marsh, reedbeds and farmland with a bit of history thrown in.
Explore the surrounding Romney Marsh with its maze of watery ditches and its distinctive churches dominating the landscape. Famous for its emptiness, the sheep studded marsh, with its sweeping skies and sense of solitude and freedom has inspired writers, artists and poets alike. Discover the unique wildlife of the area and step back in time to imagine the running battles of the smugglers with the Preventative Officers.
Invasions, battles, pirates, smuggling and murders — not many places have had such a dramatic and violent history as Rye’s and a guided ghost walking tour will bring its spooky past and present to life.
A guided tour will give you a mere slither of the spectral experience on offer in one of England’s most haunted towns, and is a great way to start a haunting autumn night. Your tour guide will escort you through Rye’s historic half-timbered buildings and winding cobble streets, stopping off at the sites that are home to many things that go bump in the night.
Just ignore the disembodied footsteps following you round the cobbled streets…
Nothing rounds off a day of exploring our historic locations than a cosy inn, so it’s a good job we have plenty of them, all different but all full of character, offering fine wines, real ales, top notch food and with lashings of history to boot!