An August 2004 trip
to Rye by su-lin
Quote: An escape from London led me to Rye, in East Sussex, for the day. A highlight of my daytrip was a visit to Camber Castle, situated in the middle of the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve.
Spend the rest of the time slowly wandering through the cobblestone streets and admiring the medieval architecture. Many houses still retain the low doorways (I wonder what the ceilings inside must be like!) that would require a tall man to bend in half to get through!
Picnic supplies can be easily picked up either at the supermarket (a Budgens) across from the railway station or from various delicatessens and tearooms on the high street, the main shopping street.
The town is very small and a whole day of walking should take you around the town at least 20 times over! Maps can be found at the rail station or the tourist information centre(TIC). Though to be honest, it is very difficult to get lost in such a small town. If you are just staying in Rye, the rail station map is sufficient. Otherwise, maps for walks further out from the town may be bought at the TIC.
On my visit, two small parties had made reservations. However, the restaurant has many tables seating two-four (and I am sure they would push tables together for larger groups) at both the front and back of the restaurant - everyone who came in was able to get a table immediately. The majority of the diners were locals as the many tourists who come by coach had already left before dinnertime.
I started my meal with a traditional prawn cocktail - a large portion of prawns in a Marie Rose sauce on a layer of shredded lettuce. This was served with some sliced baguette with butter. This was followed by a whole pan-fried lemon sole with chips and salad. I had wanted to try some of the local seafood and the menu stated that this was locally caught. The fish was very fresh and perfectly cooked: soft and flaky but not overcooked. Lovely!
After these two courses, there was no room left in my belly for any of their desserts. Their portion sizes are best described as very generous, with many people opting for just a main course.
Sample menus can be found on their page on the Rye tourism website. Like many of the more affordable eateries in Rye, the Runcible Spoon closes relatively early - 9pm, with last orders at 8:30.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 20, 2004
The Runcible Spoon
62 Cinque Ports Street
Built between 1539 and 1544, the castle used to be on a small peninsula surrounded by the sea but now lies in the middle of the reserve. It was meant to be destroyed when the sea receded and made the castle obsolete by the end of the 16th century, but for some reason, most of the walls are still intact today. There is some erosion evident in the sandstone and limestone structure but details in the walls - stones carved as Tudor roses and lions' heads - are still visible. It is a fascinating site where you can imagine what it would be like, living as a member of the garrison, anticipating attacks from your enemies.
The castle is open to visitors every weekend afternoon, between 2 and 5pm, from July to September. The notice board does suggest that tours are available during the rest of the year but must be booked in advance. The guide was a lovely man with a real passion for the castle and was able to answer most of my questions. He even took the time to point out some 16th century graffiti to me - a carving of Henry VIII's face in the wall! This suggests that he had visited the castle but another possibility is that it was copied from a coin.
Although work has been done in the upkeep of the castle, there are some areas that can be potentially dangerous. Steps are very steep and there is limited visibility in some of the unlit tunnels, where headroom is also limited. Young children should not be left unattended. But do not let this warning put you off! This castle is fantastic!
Entrance is £2 for adults and £1 for concessions. Children and English Heritage members are free.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 22, 2004
between Rye and Winchelsea
London, United Kingdom