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Deal and Rye—Hidden Gems

UNITED KINGDOM | Thursday, 19 May 2022 | Views [111]

Mermaid Inn, Rye

Mermaid Inn, Rye

TO BE SURE, THERE ARE HIDDEN GEMS to be discovered in the Southeast. The town of Deal, for example. It isn’t nearly as old as Canterbury nor were poems written about it. In fact, Deal in the 17th Century was intentionally kept on the down-low—it was notorious for smugglers, doncha know. Called “owlers” because they mainly plundered ships at night, smugglers buried their loot in underground hiding places and secret tunnels.  


                  Pastel houses of Deal


           Doors of every color in the Crayola box


               Stoney Beach in Deal, Smugglers beware

We wandered through the Conservation Area from North Street to South Street and Stanhope Road to the stoney beach. We shamelessly peeked overe fences and peered through windows of the perfectly restored 17th Century homes. I was impressed by the Crayola colors that owners painted their doors to personalize their homes. What stories they could tell! And maybe there are still some hidden gems to be found!


         Steep and slippery Mermaid Lane


               The Mermaid Inn (REBUILT in 1420!)


                      The House Opposite (The Mermaid Inn)

It was raining when we left Whitstable for our next AirBnB in East Sussex so we skipped the Sissinghurst Gardens and will save Pevensey Castle for another day. Instead we stopped in the medieval town of Rye. Like Deal, Rye has a smuggling past but today we strolled the slippery cobble streets marveling at the historic half-timbered houses draped in blooming wisteria. Many have been turned into pubs, restaurants and galleries. Some, like the spectacular Mermaid Inn, proclaim to have been “rebuilt” in 1420! Some have cutsie names like the “House Opposite,” (across from the Mermaid) or the “House with Two Doors.”  It seemed like there was a great photo around every corner.


                 Sheep up on the Downs

Newhaven, where we are staying, seems like a more reasonable alternative in East Sussex to Brighton, where studio apartments cost upwards of £100 a night without free parking. Newhaven is still central to the places we want to visit and the weather report is hinting at clearing skies.


              Upstairs, downstairs, upstairs, repeat


                     Like living in a doll house

Our place in a working-class neighborhood is quirky for sure, but it checks all of our boxes. Parking is around the corner and the “flat” is up a flight of stairs to a small landing. Four more stairs forward lead past the bathroom to the kitchen—four stairs in the other direction go to the sitting room, master bedroom and a smaller bedroom. There’s television and the wifi is strong. Our only complaint is the munchkin-sized fridge but we’re here for only three nights.


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