Hastings and Rye

After receiving some ‘bad’ luck in being on the rota to work the wet and miserable Easter weekend, on Easter Monday we headed down to the South Coast for a belated long weekend in the pretty Medieval port of Rye. Last year our Easter day trip to the South Coast was blighted by a shower of snow so we packed warmly and consequently boiled in the hot sunshine!

Rye is a small, cobble-streeted village which must have more tea shops per square mile than Rome has churches. When we arrived early Monday afternoon the place was overrun with out-of-towners but since they were patronising the tea shops, the surrounding countryside provided a pleasantly tranquil amble and by the time we returned the tea shops were all closed and the streets empty. A lovely place (if you like tea and cake), but best avoided on a bank holiday I think!

The following day was spent in Hastings, featured in at least one recent travel supplement as an ‘up-and-coming’ weekend getaway destination. The sea-front is very similar to Brighton, but less tacky, and while some bits were in the process of being renovated there was plenty that looked rather run down. After a morning of walking along the beach and feeling rather uninspired we started back towards the town to find some lunch. By chance we wandered into a lane to look at the menu for a café only to realise that it led to a whole street of smart(ish) cappuccino lounges and artisan shops that had been entirely invisible from the beach! We also spent a wondrous hour browsing the memorabilia and photographs in the Old Town Hall museum which gave us a flavour of how Hastings and the Cinq Ports have been the first line of England’s defences for over 1000 years. In the same street there is an organic bakery from which I purchased a very fine eccles cake for afternoon tea.

Hastings was too grey and overcast for good photos, but Rye was quaintly photogenic.