Life’s been hectic lately and it doesn’t seem likely to slow down. My full time job and my blog take up most of my week and weekends. Then there’s London, a city with so many things to do, see and eat, that it is almost impossible to stop! Last weekend, my husband and I made a last minute decision to escape the daily grind to explore some of Kent and East Sussex on the Southern coast of England.
Since we don’t have a car, we travelled to Gatwick Airport by public transport and picked up a car with Sixt. Our weekend getaway officially finally began! We drove through Kent and East Sussex, visiting Royal Tunbridge Wells, Rye and Eastbourne. Over two blissfully relaxing days we relaxed by beside the seaside and retreated to the English countryside. It was the perfect weekend getaway!
Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent
We decided to make a detour to the town of Royal Tunbridge Wells in Kent, one of the few towns and boroughs in England to officially be given a royal title. We walked to the high street to visit the historic part of the town and to have lunch at Juliets café.
Juliet’s is a lovely café in the high street, which serves breakfast and lunch (according to reviews, the Eggs Benedict are a must), with beautiful looking salads and cakes. We sat outside and busked in the sun, happy to be “on holiday” in the countryside.
We walked through Tunbridge Wells and by the food market at The Pantiles, a Georgian Colonnade with shops (one is a well-stocked cookware store), art galleries and restaurants.
How to Get To Tunbridge Wells
The journey from London to Tunbridge Wells by car takes approximately 1 1/2 hours. The train from London Charing Cross takes approximately 53-58 minutes.
Rye, East Sussex
After lunch, coffee and a nice stroll in the town, we were ready to drive to Rye, in East Sussex, where we had booked a room at The Corner House. This bed & breakfast was charming, beautiful and quiet. Exactly what we needed to take a break from our hectic, and sometimes stressful, London lives!
We dropped our bags and walked about a mile to Rye city centre and Cinque Port, which used to be by the sea, before the coastline shifted a few miles south.
All the shops in town seem to be of antiques and by 5pm were all closed! We wandered through streets named The Mermaid, The Mint, Wish Ward and by the dry river Breed, before admitting to ourselves that the only place to be on a Saturday afternoon in Rye was a pub!
Rye is one of England’s most beautiful medieval villages. “You can’t help but fall under its spell as you slip and wobble through the cobbled lanes, past mysterious passageways and crooked timber-beamed buildings”, writes the Lonely Planet.
After a pint of local ale and a walk back to the bed & breakfast, we were ready for some food! We asked for advice to Sam at the Corner House and he recommended the nearby Playden Oasts Inn. We walked a few minutes to the restaurant, where we drank more ale and ate an amazing fish & chips (Cod in our own Beer Batter with Chips & Peas), followed by delicious Sticky Toffee Pudding.
Sunday started in the best way: with sunshine outside the window and Full English Breakfast on the plate!
How to Get to Rye
The journey from London to Rye by car takes approximately 2 hours 10 minutes. The train from London St Pancras International to Rye takes 1 hour 09 minutes (with one change in Ashford International).
Coastal Walk from Pett Beach to Hastings
We had planned to do a 8-mile coastal walk, from Pett beach to Hastings, via Fairlight. We started off with the best of our intentions and walked for an hour up the cliff, with beautiful views of the coast.
Eastbourne, East Sussex
Soon though the path took us back to the main road, so we decided to take the car and drive to Eastbourne and I’m so glad we did! Eastbourne is a pretty town by the sea, similar to Brighton with its Victorian architecture and boardwalk, but definitely less touristic and worth visiting.
How to Get To Eastbourne
The journey from London to Eastbourne by car takes approximately 2 1/2 – 3 hours. The train from London Victoria Station takes 1 hour 34 minutes.
We ended our mini-holiday eating Spanish churros at the French food market on the Eastbourne promenade (as you do…), before driving back to Gatwick Airport and then getting the train back home.
It was a short but restful getaway and I felt energized by the country walks, the sun and the fresh sea air. I am glad we got the opportunity to discover this beautiful corner of England!