Inspiration - 5 min read

A local’s guide to East Sussex

By Julia Smith

Photographer Julia Smith from Humphrey & Grace was born and raised in Sussex. She used a recent visit home to reconnect with her favourite spots in Rye and the surrounding area. These are some of her top tips. Julia was based at The Gallivant – a lovely boutique hotel within walking distance of Camber Sands.




The Fig Cafe

Food and coffee shops

The Fig, at the top of the high street, is well worth visiting. It’s a modern but cosy place, excellent for lunches, coffee and cake. If you love hot chocolate and chocolate milkshakes, head to Knoops. They make rich, gorgeous drinks from every chocolate on the spectrum! The Standard Inn, situated on the narrow, curving street known as The Mint, is a traditional English pub whose origins can be traced back to the 15th Century. Their menu includes as much seasonal, local produce as possible. They have a deserved reputation for their pie and mash, but you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. About half an hour west in Hurst Green is the Eggs to Apples farm shop. With a wonderful ethos and a wide range of produce, Eggs to Apples is well worth a visit if you’re picking up ingredients for dinner.



Puckhaber Antiques

Antiques and galleries

Rye, one of the Cinque ports, has a fascinating history full of tales of naval expeditions and smugglers. There are plenty of independent antique shops and galleries that all celebrate and commemorate that storied past. Puckhaber Antiques or the Crab & Lobster Arts and Antiques house are two personal favourites, but there are loads to explore.

View our places to stay near Rye >





Camber Sands

Rye’s wild side

A short walk from Rye town centre brings you to the wetlands nature reserve that sits next to Camber Sands. The huge sweep of beach, with the famous lonely red cabin, is a dramatic sight and the wetlands change so much with the light.

In the area

It might be just over the border, but I never miss the chance to drop in to The Walled Nursery in Hawkhurst. The collection of Victorian glasshouses have been undergoing a full restoration and are now a lovely sight; pick out a new plant or take a sightseeing break in the Vinery Cafe. If you want to see horticulture on a larger scale, there are many fine gardens in Sussex, with Great Dixter the local celebrity. The original 15th-Century house was built upon by architect Edwin Lutyens in the early 20th century, although it’s most famous as the home of gardener and author Christopher Lloyd and the garden is a riot of colour in summer.



More inspiration…

Slow Guide to Sussex

Slow Guide to Sussex

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Places to stay in Sussex

Places to stay in Sussex

Explore our collection of special places to stay in Sussex; find B&Bs on vineyards, characterful farmhouses and beautifully designed barns.

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Coastal holiday cottages

Coastal holiday cottages

View our collection of coastal cottages; from white villas clinging to the cliffs of the Amalfi, to terraced spa hotels on the Cornish coast and old stone cottages hidden in the crags of Pembrokeshire.

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