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Rather appropriately, there’s a very tasty vineyard not far from Rye Harbour Holiday Park. And, if your idea of a holiday is to sit back and relax in the style of our wise Gallic cousins, we think this one will be a tickety-boo choice.
Rye Harbour formerly know as Frenchman’s Beach at Rye in East Sussex is a Park Holidays ‘Relax and Explore’ site, meaning you can do exactly that: it’s small, family-friendly and has opportunities aplenty for de-stressing and leg-stretching, as it’s based alongside Rye Harbour and on the edge of a nature reserve. On site, there’s a petite pool, adventure playground and kids’ clubs for les enfants terribles, and a sports field and amusement arcade for those very friendly family competitions; you can totter off to the family bar for some wifi, Sky TV and a very large cocktail afterwards…
For feeding, there’s a diner with takeaway on site and a mini mart for foodie basics; you can also fill up at the neatly-named William the Conqueror pub and the Inkerman Arms at Rye Harbour, both within easy and relaxing reach.
Tourist board rating
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Leisure on site
Bar or club house
Indoor swimming pool
Outdoor swimming pool
Amenities on site
Ice pack freezing
Parent & baby washroom
Pick-up from public transport
Gas cylinders available
Commercial vehicles allowed
Dogs allowed all year
Single-sex groups welcome
Student groups welcome
Public transport nearby
Large (51-200 pitches)
- Coach stations
Hastings: Sedlescombe Rd North Coach Stop — 9.7 miles
9.7 miles Hastings: Town Centre Coach Stops — 9.7 miles
9.7 miles St Leonards: Warrior Square Coach Stop — 10.4 miles
- Train stations
Rye Rail Station — 1.8 miles
1.8 miles Winchelsea Rail Station — 2.6 miles
2.6 miles Doleham Rail Station — 6.8 miles
- Ferry ports
Folkestone Eurotunnel Terminal — 19.1 miles
19.1 miles Dover Western Docks Ferry Terminal — 27.2 miles
27.2 miles Dover Eastern Docks Ferry Terminal — 27.9 miles
Lydd London Ashford Airport — 7.6 miles
Take the M20 (signposted Maidstone, Folkestone, Dover). Leave at junction 10, and take the 4th exit at the roundabout onto Bad Munstereifel Road (signposted Brenzett). At the next roundabout take the 2nd exit onto Bad Munstereifel Road - A2070. Branch left, and at the roundabout take the 2nd exit onto the A2070.
Entering Brenzett, at the roundabout take the 2nd exit onto Straight Lane - A259. Continue forward onto the A259. Entering Brookland A259, at the roundabout take the 2nd exit onto the A259. Drive over the level crossing, and continue forward onto Guldeford Road - A259. Entering Rye, at the mini roundabout turn left onto Fishmarket Road - A259. At the mini roundabout, turn left onto Winchelsea Road - A259. Turn left onto Harbour Road (signposted Rye Harbour) then pass Tram Road and take the next right.
This be smuggler country: Rye was once known as the haunt of the shady Hawkhurst Gang, which used the town’s twelfth century Mermaid Inn in its nefarious dealings, scuttling between it and the nearby Bell Inn by means of a clever underground tunnel. The subterranean social network is no longer useable, but bootlegger adventures can still be had most of the year round by exploring A Smugglers Adventure at St Clements Caves in nearby Hastings.
More virtuously, this be also shipbuilding and fishing country, with Rye once described by the unfortunate King Charles I as ‘the cheapest sea-towne for the provision of fish for our house’. Nowadays, fish aficionados have several options to sample the seafood wares of East Sussex, from the restaurants and pubs of Rye to the several fisheries round and about including carp fishing, deep-sea fishing and 24-hour fishing at Wylands Angling Centre in nearby Battle.
Other options around Rye Harbour include birdwatching and nature spotting: Rye Harbour is part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest and there are nature reserves at Pannel Valley via Winchelsea as well as an RSPB reserve at Dungeness, with an observatory in the old lighthouse. For more ferocious-looking beasties, Drusillas Zoo and the Port Lympe Wild Animal Safari Park are easily reached from here, or you can let the kids go properly wild in the treetops at Go Ape!
But this be battle country too: a ticket to St Clements Caves can be combined with admission to Hastings Castle and the 1066 Story (and the Blue Reef Aquarium) to hear the tale of poor King Harold and the takeover of the Normans. There’s also the 1066 Battle Abbey and Battlefield to holler at, while Hastings itself has the biggest fishing fleet in Europe, guided walks in the town and all flavours of watersports. Then double back to Battle for the history attraction Yesterday’s World, with its thousands of artefacts over five floors.
For strolls and sand, there are several clean and safe beaches in the area: Rye Harbour and Winchelsea are the closest, but just along the coast the beaches of Camber Sands and Bexhill are well-known watersports spots and there’s also easy access to Eastbourne and then Brighton to the west.
Golfers will be in tee-off heaven in this part of the land, with two championship courses in the area as well as a golf academy, golf school and – ahem – adventure and crazy golf at Hastings.
But back to that vineyard…pick up some wine at Carr Taylor in Hastings before going on a vine crawl of the East Sussex vineyards; there are several in the county, including the beautifully named Breaky Bottom near Lewes.
- Camber Sands (1.3 miles)
- Great Dixter House and Gardens (8.6 miles)
- A Smugglers Adventure at St Clements Caves (9.2 miles)
- Lamb House (1.7 miles)
- Smallhythe Place (7.7 miles)
Find local routes on the National Cycle Network - over 12,000 miles of cycling routes.