A bed for the night in Rye

The location

The location

On an impossibly twee cobbled lane in impossibly twee Rye in East Sussex. Just up the road is the Mermaid Inn, which boasts it was rebuilt in 1420. Around the corner are the Norman church, the Ypres tower and medieval houses. Many of these houses are now tea rooms, so if scones and cake is your thing, this could be heaven.


Atmosphere. Uneven floors. Creaking stairs. Four-poster beds. Themed rooms named after literary figures. Shelves heaving with old books. And history. The Jeake's House was first built in 1689 as a wool store. It became a Quakers' meeting house and then a Baptist ministry, where Elizabeth Fry stayed, before being bought by the American poet Conrad Aiken in 1924. He hosted a literary and artistic set which included T S Eliot, Malcolm Lowry, Radclyffe Hall and Paul Nash. Most rooms have views, of Rye or Romney Marshes.

The comfort factor

The beds are firm and comfortable - though on the small side, especially the four-posters. The rooms, however, are beautifully decorated.

The bathrooms

Roll-top baths abound; there are nice smellies and fluffy towels. Not all have showers.

The food and drink

Only breakfast is provided - but what a breakfast. The English cooked features beautifully cured bacon and local sausages.

The people

You'd expect a musty crowd, but you'd be wrong. Jeake's attracts the young and funky.

The area

Rye is chocolate-box beautiful. The port silted up years ago but if you fancy the seaside there is the tacky Camber Sands and even tackier Winchelsea Beach. Dungeness, is beautiful, and, with the nuclear power station rising above it, quite eerie.

The damage

From £42 per person per night.

The access

Narrow stairs unsuitable for the unfit.

The address

Jeake's House Hotel, Mermaid Street, Rye, East Sussex, TN31 7ET (01797 222828; www.jeakeshouse.com)