So we went to Rye

"Where would you like to go today?" enquired Tigger as we went down the front path to the street.

"Um…" I replied, not being good at decisions, especially open-ended ones, especially this early in the morning and especially before breakfast.

"How about Rye, R-Y-E," proposed Tigger, spelling it out for the slow-witted.

“Um… yes,” I said enthusiastically.

So we ran for a 73 bendybus, then walked through a crowded Kings Cross station to St Pancras. There Tigger queued for tickets while I made my way upstairs to the Camden Food Co cafe to buy breakfast.

Looking out through the train window
St Pancras: looking out through the train window and through the station’s glass screens.
You may make out the iron legs of the gasometer which is now a listed building

Carrying two cartons of hot porridge and two of coffee precariously in two paper bags, I picked my way through the disembarking crowds to find Tigger downstairs who by now had the train tickets.

We then went upstairs again, but a different upstairs, the one that leads to the high-speed (HS1) trains for Kent and Sussex. These trains, with their elegant interior in blue and grey livery cut journey times compared with the ordinary services – just what you want on a day trip.

The elegant interior of the HS1
The elegant interior of the HS1

It’s another beautiful sunny day, bright and warm. I hope it is the same down south. We cannot go all the way on this train but have to change at Ashford, that once proud "Ashford International" that lost out to Ebbsfleet when Eurostar concentrated its services there.

Speeding across the Medway
Speeding across the Medway

In the rush to get started, I didn’t have time to think about what we were doing and where we were going. Now, aboard the train, as it whooshes through the sunlit countryside, I can relax and start looking forward to our day out.


We changed at Ashford and at last reached the neat little station at Rye.

The neat little station at Rye
The neat little station at Rye

We have visited Rye several times before and we enjoy this pretty little town. We now went for a walk around it, revisiting some of our favourite corners.

The picturesque waterworks building that became a public toilet
The picturesque waterworks building that became a public toilet

This decorative little building, dating from 1869, was the waterworks (note the pump on the front). It became a public toilet but this is now closed. What will its next incarnation be?

Rye town gate, 1329
Rye town gate, 1329

Dating from 1329, this is Rye’s only surviving town gate. Traffic still runs through the gateway.

A beetle taking a walk on a window sill
A beetle taking a walk on a window sill

This beetle was also out taking a walk, on a window sill, so we stopped to take a photo.

The Apothecary, good for crêpes
The Apothecary, good for crêpes

For lunch, we went to The Apothecary, a coffee bar that also serves crêpes, both savoury an sweet.

Conduit Hill
Conduit Hill

Conduit Hill is one of Rye’s picturesque streets that are cobbled with rounded beach pebbles. Such a surface is probably hard wearing (though noisy to drive on) but it is quite uncomfortable to walk on. It reminded me of walking on Brighton beach when I was a kid.

18th-century water tower
18th-century water tower

Standing in a corner of the churchyard, this water tower for domestic water supply, was probably completed in 1735. It would have been considered a very advanced and welcome facility in its time.

Collecting for the RAF Association
Collecting for the RAF Association

This gallant gentleman was collecting for the RAF Association and he courteously consented to having his photo taken.

Having “done” Rye fairly thoroughly, we decided to go for a bus ride. We chose a bus more or less at random. It would go through Fairlight and we decided we would get out there and have a look. I think we missed the moment when the bus went through the village, so Tigger stopped the bus and we got out.

In the middle of... um... somewhere
In the middle of… um… somewhere

We found ourselves on the road pictured above, unsure where we were. The bus driver had told us that the next bus back was in about an hour and that it would stop if we waved in down on a straight section of road. Apart from that, we were on our own.

The Cove
The Cove

We walked in the direction from which we thought the bus had come and were glad to come upon the village sign indicating that we had reached Fairlight. Then we found The Cove, a pub where we could have a drink and wait for the bus. Happily, there was a bus stop right outside the door.

Off-set platforms at Rye station
Off-set platforms at Rye station

The bus came as predicted and carried us back to Rye. There we caught the train to Ashford and thence to St Pancras.

The Rye Arts Festival is taking place at the moment and that causes the town to be busier and more crowded than usual. It is a pretty town with many picturesque buildings which are seen at their best on a sunny day in the clear Sussex air. It is well worth a visit and we shall return again soon.

Copyright © 2010 SilverTiger, https://tigergrowl.wordpress.com, All rights reserved.

About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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4 Responses to So we went to Rye

  1. AEJ says:

    I should like to live in the waterworks building. Though it may be smelly now, due to its latest duty.

  2. WOL says:

    The conversion of a “water works” into a public toilet made me laugh — going from one extreme to the other! How nice and clean and modern the HS1 is. Are the seats as comfortable as they look? I imagine the motorist complain about the town gate, but I’m glad it didn’t succumb to progress. Interesting how houses are built right up against the towers on both sides.

    • SilverTiger says:

      Strangely enough, the seats of the HS1 are not all that comfortable. They are a little hard. Then again, as the journeys are fairly short so far, this doesn’t matter too much, but as they expand the network, it may become an issue.

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