See full description for complete details, important notes and disclaimers on this half-day tour of Rye from Dover, England.
This picturesque county in the South East corner of England has a unique blend of lush countryside, maritime coast and extraordinary heritage which is yours to discover on your leisurely afternoon tour. Lovely villages lie in the folds of green hills and rich farmland, the names of which often end in 'den' to indicate their former settings as woodland clearings.
You will begin your tour from Dover along the main highway. You soon turn off to take a panoramic drive along rural country roads and through a succession of farming communities, small towns and villages. You will see Tenterden whose center stretches along its broad High Street, lined with shops and houses, nearly all with their original facades dating from the 16th to 18th centuries. Most of them, however, were built in a busy period between 1720 and 1760, so there is something of a Georgian feel to the town as a whole. The area of Kent was well known for the growing of hops used in beer manufacture. Here and there you see the conical shaped `oat houses` - originally built for the purpose of storing and drying of the hops, but now most of them have been converted to elegant and unusually shaped private homes.
The distinctive outline of the town of Rye can be seen in the distance. It rises above the level green pastures, stretching from the sea to the far hills which formed the shoreline before the adjacent marsh was drained. Once surrounded by sea, this fortified hilltop town played an important role in the defense of the south coast of England. These days, the river no longer harbors warships but is home to the local fishing fleet.
Rye today is a flourishing market town supported by boat-building, fishing, pottery-making and light industry. When you arrive in Rye your tour will pay a short visit to the Heritage Center to view the town model, a beautifully made replica of the town. You can then enjoy time at leisure to stroll around the center, along the cobbled alleyways or browsing in the myriad array of small shops. Pottery has long been important to Rye and there is a wide choice of potteries for you to visit, together with several shops and galleries selling pictures, prints and craftwork. Your independent exploration brings you face to face with the medieval layout of the town much of which remains unchanged, and the enchanting narrow streets, many neatly cobbled, reveal some of the most charming houses in England. You may wish to visit the local church standing on the highest part of Rye where the views from the top of the tower are well worth the climb.
Leaving Rye, you will travel eastwards across the Romney Marsh, a place of eerie beauty, a remote setting of flooded meadows, drainage ditches and wind-bent trees that once was the haunt of smugglers - a complete contrast to the rich farming country beyond, as you head back towards the port of Dover.
Note: Guests must be able to walk approximately 0.33 mile over various uneven and cobblestone surfaces with inclines with a few steps. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Time permitting; guests will have approximately 1 hour for browsing and shopping in the Rye Town Centre.