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Home base for a month visit

We will spend a month (mid-April) near Rye on the Channel. We will have a rental car for the duration. Any ideas of good day trips from there? Not doing London on this part of the trip.

Posted by
21067 posts

I enjoyed Brighton, a place with a sort of funky vibe. The Royal Pavilion and neighboring museum both interested me. It's probably at least 1-1/2 hours from Rye by car, and I suspect parking would be a challenge.

The smaller town of Lewes is a worthwhile stop. It probably doesn't need a full day. It's a bit closer than Brighton and parking likely wouldn't be much of an issue.

Those destinations wouldn't be any faster by train, though the parking challenges and fees would be eliminated.

I bet there are some great gardens in that area.

Posted by
5547 posts

What kind of things are you interested in? Historic houses? Wildlife? Hiking?

Websites such as will show what the county has to offer that can be tailored to your interests. Sussex has a similar website. If you like houses and gardens, look at the National Trust and English Heritage websites for overseas membership.

Rye Harbour is very different to Rye and is good for walks. Parking is an issue in Rye, but not at the harbour.

Dungeness is unique and the lighthouse can be visited. There is a steam train too. If you are interested in birds, visit the RSPB centre here for wetland habitation. Combine this with Hythe, a traditional town and take a walk on the seafront and the old High Street and onto the Royal Military Canal, built to fend off Napoleon, but never needed.

Visit the towns and castles of Sandwich, Deal and Walmer and of course Dover, but personally, I wouldn't bother with Dover town centre nor Margate unless you want to see Turner Contemporary. Other castles include Leeds, Hever, Chiddingstone and Arundel that are a day each. Bodiam is my favourite.

In addition to Canterbury, visit Faversham, a traditional town and then walk to the estuary at Oare Marshes. There is a good circular walk taking in the old gunpowder works.

Whitstable has plenty of coffee shops and art galleries and see the old fisherman's huts. Take a walk at nearby Seasalter on the embankments and try to get a lunch table at the award winning Sportsman's Arms.

Visit the old Chatham Dockyard for a fascinating glimpse into naval history and see nearby Rochester Cathedral.

Visit Tenterden, Smarden, Headcorn (fly a Spitfire here if you have deep pockets), Alfriston, Jevington and many other pretty villages, all of which can be used as a base for short walks.

Brighton and Lewes have been mentioned by another poster. Parking isn't an issue in Lewes, but is in Brighton, as it is in Canterbury. Walk some of the south downs near Brighton and the white cliffs at Cuckmere Haven or at Birling Gap.

Visit an exhibition at the Bexhill Pavillion, an Art Deco building on the seafront.

Buy freshly caught fish in Hastings and walk round the old town.

There are gardens galore and several local museums (many free entry) and theatres, depending on your interests.

Posted by
5479 posts

The problem with driving in the SE of England is that traffic is terrible. Beware of the M25.

Check out Arundel Castle and Portsmouth. Go farther west to see Salisbury, New Forrest, Stonehenge, Bath, Wells, Oxford, etc.

Posted by
2658 posts

Jennifer gave some wonderful villages to visit, a coupe would be Chilham and Faversham. Goodnestone is beautiful, Jane Austen visited her brother who lived there.

Posted by
27723 posts

Jennifer's advice is spot on, and she is in the right part of the country to know....

If your car company will allow it you are in a great place to hop over to Calais or Le Touquet, or even Bruges/Brugge for the day.

Posted by
5547 posts

Rather than taking the car to France, if you want a day in France, drive to Ashford or Ebbsfleet stations and take the train to Lille, a pretty town.