Located on England's South East coast, around 2 and a half hours from London, the historic fishing town of Rye has been synonymous with beachside holidays. With a quaint village to explore and a mere 10 minutes drive from the sandy beaches of Camber Sands, the only sand dune system in East Sussex.
Rye is also an easy 2 hour drive from Brighton and accessible by rail from London, Brighton, Eastbourne and many cities in neighbouring Kent.
What to do
Its ease of access makes Rye the perfect place for a mid week or weekend mini break by the sea. Away from the hustle and bustle of London, you can enjoy the best of old world charm, fine dining, beautiful beach walks and the cobbled lanes of yesteryear.
Whether you enjoy wandering around historic towns, a fine ale at the pub or going for a hike, Rye offers it all. The area is well known for its fresh produce and fine ales, and historically was an area known for its hops farming and brewing history. With this history in mind, the choice of accommodation for my mini break was obvious.
Dotted throughout the East Sussex and Kent Countryside you will see traditional oast houses. With their cylindrical walls and conical roofs, they are both a unique and beautiful site that is special to the area.
Their cylindrical towers originally held large kiln like fires that were lit to dry the hops after picking. The large white chimes adorning the roundels, spun in the wind to allow the smoke from the fire to escape. These days most have been converted into homes or hotels, making for a fantastic opportunity to stay in a unique dwelling during your mini break.
Playden Oasts Inn
Located a short drive from the centre of Rye, Playden is a historical town with roots to the Domesday book. It is on the leafy main road you will find the Playden Oasts Inn. Run as an Oast House until the 1970's, the Inn features 3 roundels and has recently been taken over by a small group of locals who are as passionate about the Inn as they are their guests.
Featuring 8 unique rooms, the Inn has a warm friendly and friendly feel, yet with the conveniences such such as a bar and two restaurants that you would expect from a hotel. The creme de la creme of rooms are the roundel rooms, which encompass a whole level of the roundels and allow you to gain a full appreciation of the unique architecture. The remaining rooms are a combination of double, family and garden rooms with accessibility and pets catered for also.
I stayed in a comfortable double room with a lovely view over the well maintained English garden. The room had a well sized ensuite, a comfortable bed, tea and coffee making facilities and some delicious chocolate biscuits which were a very welcome snack on my arrival.
I was lucky enough to dine with two of the owners, in particular Kim who currently runs the Inn. All of the new owners are very active in the running of the Inn and it is not uncommon to find them in the restaurant or the bar interacting with the guests.
We chatted over a drink in the bar before heading into the roundel restaurant for dinner. It was a hard decision what to choose for dinner. Their menu features the best of the local produce and offers a great selection. I chose the duck spring rolls for entree and slow cooked lamb shank for main.
If you are a wine lover, the wide selection will also leave you satisfied. I opted for an Italian Rose which complemented my dinner perfectly. The warm ambience of the restaurant accompanied by friendly conversation made for an excellent evening.
I was most impressed at the passion and love the owners had for the Inn and how their different stories intertwined with them collaborating earlier in the year to purchase the Inn when it came up for sale. Their love for the Oasts was evident in the warm way in which they interacted with all guests and the improvements, such as new menu choices in the restaurant, that they have made to ensure their guests have a wonderful stay and experience the best the area has to offer.
The excellent dining choices extend to breakfast, where you can wake from your slumber to a lovingly cooked hot breakfast. With choices like a traditional English, scrambled eggs with smoked salmon or kippers if you choose. The chef was also more than happy to amend any of the breakfast choices and I started my day with a pot of peppermint tea and a vegetarian breakfast minus the fried bread and hash browns.
The round up
With the hectic life we all live these days, planning mini breaks is ever so important. Rather than looking overseas, a much more relaxed way is to enjoy what is in our own 'backyard' and Rye is the perfect destination for this. It caters to nature and history lovers and is a centre for great local food and drink.
In terms of accommodation, I would highly recommend the Playden Oast Houses. Steeped in history and charm, the Inn is a comfortable and friendly spot from which to base your explorations. Alternatively, it is a great place just to relax, with the restaurants open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, meaning you don't have to wander to far at all if you don't wish.
If you are a lover for local architecture, history and great customer service, then the Playden Oast Inn is for you.
Whilst I was a guest of the Playden Oasts Inn, all views and opinions are my own.
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