The George in Rye

Rye, Sussex, United Kingdom
Book from GBP Book from £86 per night

The George in Rye

Rye, Sussex, United Kingdom

Stylishly restored 450-year-old inn with an excellent restaurant in one of England's most picturesque near-the-seaside towns

Stylishly restored 450-year-old inn with an excellent restaurant in one of England's most picturesque near-the-seaside towns

"It takes an endless amount of history to make even a little tradition." Henry James may have been thinking of The George – or indeed drinking at The George – when he wrote this. The inn was established in the heart of medieval Rye at least 300 years before the author settled here in 1898, and has been drawing local custom ever since. Urban sophisticates flock here too, drawn by the top-notch hospitality and stunning interiors, extensively refurbished in 2022). It has a prime location on Rye's arty and charming High Street, while the wide-open Camber Sands are close by for outdoor frolics.

At The George, new and old rub shoulders with flair: hip music wafts through the beamed Dragon Bar, while a 16th-century fire crackles in the corner. The enticing restaurant features walls of rust-coloured sail cloth, sociable sofas and banquettes, with Med-influenced bistro fare on the menu. The first-floor drawing room has a country house feel with its soft and sinkable seating, upholstered in green. This gives on to the breathtaking Georgian ballroom with elegant botanical murals, perfect for a big celebration. Best of all are the bedrooms - found within a warren of corridors, no two alike. An impeccable attention to comfort complements bold colours, statement wallpaper, mid-century furniture, wall-hangings, dreamy beds, and fine bathrooms. Eclectic and retro, this is style which delights. A fine hotel, in the best tradition – Henry would have approved.

Highs

  • The combination of olde English coaching inn and contemporary British style is terrific – characterful features include walls clad in recycled cheese palettes
  • Rooms are beautifully designed with retro touches. Luxe details include hand-made mattresses, Roberts radios and REN toiletries
  • The buzzing restaurant serves tasty produce all day; afternoon tea is served in the oak-panelled ground-floor snug
  • In the heart of fascinating Rye, full of curiosities and collectables
  • Feel free to order breakfast in bed or a cocktail for when you're relaxing in the bath for maximum indulgence

Lows

  • Pricey, but the standard of design, detail and comfort warrants this
  • There's no parking on-site; the hotel is located on Rye's High Street. Unload your bags first, then reception will guide you to a car park (about 5 minutes away)
  • The medieval town of Rye has not entirely escaped the twee factor, and it can be teeming with tourists in the summer; you will need to book ahead during busy times
  • Some Cosy Rooms (and their bathrooms) are quite compact

Best time to go

The George is cosy in the winter when Rye is charming and quiet, ideal for a romantic break. Summer means more tourists but also warmer weather: perfect for sand dune frolicking. The George in Rye is open all year round.

Our top tips

Take advantage of the lower mid-week rates if you can. Stay for 2-3 nights and then you can explore the town, stride the Camber Sands to build up an appetite, and indulge in great seafood dinners. This is a luxurious grown-up treat.

Great for...

Beach
Foodie
Romantic
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 41 rooms
  • Restaurant and bar open daily
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • Beach Nearby
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Car recommended
  • Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • WiFi
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room: Luxury Room 45

Rooms

The beautifully and individually styled rooms are located either in the warren-like hallways of the 16th-century inn (those at the front have picturesque town views), or in former outbuildings and the three-storey Tillingham wing, found across the herringbone-brick courtyard to the rear – these may overlook rooftops and neighbouring gardens.

All meld excellent contemporary comforts with retro exuberance, and original features like wooden beams have been retained. Think mid-century modern pieces alongside tapestries, antique mirrors and grand slipper bathtubs sourced from design houses, antique shops, flea markets, or reclamation yards. Beds are a dream, with thick-sprung handmade mattresses, plump pillows and duvets in high thread count linen; we slept like babies. We also liked the wooden box storing teas and proper coffee.

Compact and cute Cosy Rooms and next size up Classic Rooms (these can be twins on request) may come with feature walls, papered ceilings and panelled headboards. The majority of ensuite bathrooms have baths, some have a shower over; others a walk-in-shower. Still larger again, Superior Rooms are graced with freestanding roll-top baths as well as walk-in showers.

With seating areas as well as stand-alone baths, Luxury Rooms enjoy eye-catching decor like bold patterned walls and one-off items of furniture; these rooms can also be set up as twins. On our most recent visit, we stayed in one of the elegant Junior Suites, which have bigger seating areas and larger bathrooms with freestanding tubs. Ours was up in the eaves overlooking the High Street and came with an Ercol three-piece suite and a 1960s dressing table.

Features include:

  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • In room treatments available
  • WiFi

Eating

The George Grill dining room is set across two levels, with burnt orange banquettes lit by large wicker lanterns, and an open kitchen showcasing the wood charcoal grill. The courtyard garden is for those wishing to drink and eat al fresco (it has gas heaters).

The Grill menu is straightforward: nibbles, such as whipped cod's roe and padron peppers, and small plates (we went for the ham hock terrine and chilli salt squid) to begin. Mains are to the point: maybe ale-battered fish and twice-cooked chips (we really liked the accompanying lemon tartar), the Dragon (or vegan) burger, steaks with sauces of your choice, and vegetarian options (when we stayed risotto and roast squash). Seasonal sides could include hispi cabbage or the house salad. Lunch is similar to the evening line-up, with a few variations such as a salad, steak sandwich or stew added. There's a local artisan cheese board or classic desserts (sticky toffee, crumble, chocolate mousse) for afters.

The restaurant's gleaming tables are re-laid for breakfast: a buffet of fruit salad, poached pears, granola or proper muesli with yoghurt, homemade croissants or toast with jam. We favoured poached eggs on smashed avocado with a side of bacon as our cooked breakfast option, and the oatmilk latte hit the spot.

Afternoon tea is taken in the elegant oak-panelled sitting room. Other drinks on offer in The Dragon Bar include real ales, beers and wines from Sussex and Kent, plus a range of cocktails.

There are good restaurants in Rye to choose from if inclined – we had excellent crab bisque for lunch at the Fish Cafe.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Kids' meals
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian options
Eating:
Activity: Rye harbour

Activities

  • Enjoy the culture hidden away in Rye's medieval maze of cobbled streets and narrow lanes with art galleries, collectables and antique shops
  • Climb to the top of the Ypres Tower; built in 1250 on the order of Henry III. The church nearby is nearly a millennium old
  • Visit Lamb House, where author Henry James spent his last years – some of his personal belongings are displayed and it has a lovely walled garden
  • Drive (10 minutes) or cycle to the vast, unspoilt Camber Sands, the only sand dune system in East Sussex and great for kids to run about on
  • Drive or take the 325 bus to Rye Harbour (2km away) to gaze at the fishing boats or birds from the nearby nature reserve
  • East Sussex is renowned for its wineries, some nearby worth visiting include Chapel Down, Charles Palmer and Gusbourne
  • Head a little further afield to visit the Hastings Jerwood Gallery for 20th- and 21st-century British art
  • The beautiful and inspirational Sissinghurst Gardens are approximately 50 minutes' drive away; the acclaimed Great Dixter House & Gardens is a 20 minute-drive
  • Back at the hotel, enjoy a glass of organic cider or real ale in the Dragon Bar, or curl up on a roomy sofa by the fire for afternoon tea

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse riding
  • Hot air ballooning
  • Kayaking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Wine tasting

Kids

This is not a particularly family-oriented hotel, but children of all ages are welcome, and most rooms can sleep 3; a couple can sleep 4-5. Kids will love the beach and Camber Sands nearby. The hotel has a children's menu and board games to borrow. Infants up to 2 years stay for free if using existing bedding; baby cots and extra beds are available on request for an additional charge.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

Some Superior, Luxury Rooms and Junior Suites can accommodate a baby cot or an extra bed (under 13s only) on request. For larger families, Suite 31 has its own wooden staircase and a wooden cubby-hole for the kids with its own TV plus a roll-top bath; it can sleep a family of 5 with one in a baby cot. There are three pairs of rooms that families can book together (rooms are not inter-connecting but share one main entrance) in the Tillingham wing, to the rear of the hotel across the courtyard.

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available, Family Rooms

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cots
  • High chairs

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

Kids menu

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Camber Sands
  • Rye Bay Beach Summer School (imaginative activities for children including mackerel fishing, animated film-making, rope-making, shrimping and shelter-building)
  • Battle Abbey (knights tournament with hand-to-hand combat and archery in late July)
  • Bodiam Castle archery lessons
  • Go Ape at Bedgebury Pinetum
  • Pirate Day in Hastings, involving fancy dress, hog roasts, sea shanties and Red Arrows displays (late July)

Families Should Know:

Parents with young children should bear in mind that baby listening devices will not transmit from most rooms.

Distances:

  • Airport: 1hr30m
  • Hospital: 25 minutes
  • Shops: 1 minute
Kid Friendly: Winchelsea

Location

The George is in the centre of the medieval town of Rye, in East Sussex on the south coast of England. It's 16km from Hastings.

By Air
The nearest international airport is London Gatwick (100km), which is well served by long and short-haul airlines.

From the Airport
The hotel can arrange transfers, you can hop on a train or hire a car, see our car rental recommendations.

By Train
Rye is a 70-minute train ride from London St Pancras or 2 hours from London Charing Cross (journeys include a quick change at Ashford). Eurostar travellers should arrive via Ashford International; from there it's a short train ride to Rye or the hotel can arrange a transfer. If you're flying into the UK, it's a 2 hour train journey from Gatwick (with one change).

By Car
It's under 2 hours by car from London. The George does not have a car park, but staff will direct you to one nearby when you arrive.

Detailed directions will be sent to you once your booking is confirmed through i-escape.

Airports:

  • London Gatwick 100.0 km LGW
  • London Heathrow 145.0 km LHR

Other:

  • Beach 4.0 km
  • Shops 0.1 km
  • Restaurant 0.1 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

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Rates for The George in Rye

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