The historic Cinque Ports of Kent and Sussex had an important role to play in trade with, and defence from, the continent. Situated along the coast of the English Channel at the closest point to mainland Europe, their Norman French title in modern times is ceremonial rather than functional and they count among their number the historic town and port of Rye in Sussex. The historic appeal of the town is such that it has changed little throughout the years and visitors come from all over the world to experience some of the charm and history of the place, much of which is evident in the many first class Rye hotels.
For such a small town, the periods in history which most define it far outweigh its apparent size and stature. Royal connections of the town start with Edward III and his son the Black Prince who in 1350 defeated the Spanish in what was then Rye Bay. Elizabeth I visited in 1573 and was so impressed she granted the use of the suffix 'Royal' in the name, and Charles I described the town as the cheapest place to get his fish. Still a fishing port today, guests within Rye hotels can expect to see some superb fish dishes on the hotel restaurants menus, particularly scallops, sole and plaice.
Now situated some 2 miles from the coast and accessed by road and rail from Hastings and Ashford, historically the town was completely surrounded by sea, and prone to silting up, a feature not lost to George I whose ship ran aground on a sand bank. He was accommodated for four days within Lamb House, a property which today is under the control of the National Trust. The royal connections of the town did not save it from the smugglers who plied their ill-gotten gains throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, a feature which just adds to the current charm and appeal of the town for tourists. There will be ample visitor information on all the town's history and sights available from the Rye hotels.
The original town which was set upon a rocky outcrop in the Channel remains largely intact today, with many historic buildings and landmarks. Church Square, Mermaid Street, and Watchbell Street contain many of the historic properties in the town and Ypres Tower stands as the last part of the town's walled defences. There are many cafes, bars, shops and other visitor amenities and the cultural high point of the year is the two week Arts Festival held in September. Bonfire night is also a popular event and highly celebrated with torch processions through town and a huge bonfire. Rye harbour offers mooring for yachts and is a popular and important base for yachting activities.
Some of the best Rye hotels are undoubtedly in the historic buildings of the town. Filled with character and all the amazing history they have seen, these classic establishments offer the kind of accommodation which places guests in the midst of the town's most obvious attractions. Historic they may be but they will also be well equipped to provide contemporary hospitality and are ideal for any stay in town. Other great hotels are the traditional inns and while the smugglers have gone, there is likely still to be an excellent social atmosphere for drinks and superb environments to enjoy some first class dining.
Whether large or small, historic or more modern, Rye hotels are well placed in the town for all the major attractions and they will provide accommodation for lone travellers, families and couples to enjoy all the town has to offer.