From £129
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A medieval mantrap of tunnels, priest holes and passages, the Mermaid Inn is one the most atmospheric hotels in Britain. After dinner in the two AA rosette restaurant, spend the night in Dr Syn's Bedchamber, allegedly the most haunted room, bolstered with a spirit or two from the Giant's Fireplace bar.

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Rooms available from £129 per night

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Your expert reviewer

Tracey Davies
Freelance journalist
A travel writer for 20 years, Tracey has written for a wide variety of national newspapers, magazines and websites including Metro, Guardian, The Times and Good Housekeeping. A self-proclaimed connoisseur of hotel breakfasts, she's also the East Sussex hotels expert for the Telegraph.



At the heart of Mermaid Street, Rye's charming cobbled lane lined with teeny tiny fisherman's cottages and crooked, half-timbered houses, the Mermaid Inn is a magnet for Instagrammers. It's a convenient six-minute walk from the station and close to Rye's main shopping street and attractions. Nearby Fletcher's House has a Tudor-era tearoom, while Lamb House, the former home of author Henry James, is a two-minute stroll.

By car: 2 hours 15 minutes from London, 1 hour 30 minutes from Brighton and 30 minutes from Hastings. There is a small car park at the back of the hotel with space for 15 cars.

By train: Rye station is a five-minute walk from The Mermaid Inn, with a 20-minute connections Ashford International. Ashford has high-speed links to London St. Pancras (35 minutes) and Paris (4 hours). Book trains to Rye.

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The Mermaid's origins date back to the 12th Century, but the original inn was burnt down during a French raid on Rye in 1340. Rebuilt in 1420, beneath the crooked, half-timbered façade is a knot of secret tunnels, low-beamed ceilings and hallways which give it a particularly atmospheric appeal.


The inn is owned and run by Rye native, Judith Blincow, who has worked in the inn since she was 18 and owned it since 1993. Judith and her local team are vastly knowledgeable about the inn's medieval heritage, and all will happily regale guests with tales and legends of its spooky residents.

  • Restaurant
  • Bars and lounges
  • Terrace
  • Family rooms
  • Free parking
  • Free Wi-Fi


The Elizabethan Bed Chamber - where Queen Elizabeth I stayed in 1573 - features an antique four-poster bed and dark oak-panelled walls. The bathrooms are outdated and a little creaky, keeping in character with the rest of the inn.

Room types: Single Rooms, Double and Twin Rooms, Superior Double and Twin Rooms, Four Poster Rooms, Historical Bedchambers

Key amenities: ensuite bathroom with shower, tea and coffee-making facilities, antique furniture, exposed beams, free Wi-Fi


Like the Giant's Fireplace Bar, the Linen Fold, the inn's two AA rosette restaurant, features low-slung beamed ceilings and candlelit snugs. Head chef Ben Fisher revels in his Cinque Port location, with Rye Bay scallops and Romney Marsh Lamb featuring on the modern British menu.

Linen Fold Panelled Restaurant: British fine dining, local produce. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Three Courses £39.50.

Giant's Fireplace Bar: British pub classics, al fresco dining, local wines. Lunch served 12-2.30pm. Mains from £10.95.

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