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Insiders guide to Rye & Hastings day trip

Enjoy the sights and sounds of Rye, Hastings and its seaside sibling St Leonards. These quiet East Sussex canny coastal towns have battled to hold onto their character in the face of invasions by Normans and Londoners alike.

How to get there: Take the train from London Bridge London St. Pancreas to Rye via one change at Ashford International. 1 hour 10 minutes
How to get home: Take the train from St Leonard Warrior Square or Hastings to London Charing Cross or London St. Pancras. 1 hour 20 minutes.

Ride length: up to 30 kilometres

The Rye and Hastings day trip is an A to B ride from Rye to Hastings along the coastline. We're avoiding the crowds of Brighton and heading to along the East Sussex coast for a quintessentially English seaside jaunt. You could ride our route in reverse if you wanted to avoid the climb into Hastings Country Park. 

 

Rye is home to smart interior stores and artisan bakeries set next to unironically vintage tea rooms. We’ll start with a pedal down one of Britain’s prettiest streets, Mermaid Street, and then onto Whitehouse Rye for breakfast and to pop our heads into the Tiny Book Store (the clue is in the name).

From here, join National Cycle Route no. 2 heading out of Rye. With the sea on our left, our aim is Hastings, which is twelve miles away. We’ll pass through grassy marshes, stoney and (if the tide is low) sandy beaches. There are cafes at Winchelsea Beach and Pett Level to grab an ice cream before tackling the climb up onto the cliff into Hastings Country Park.

There’s an optional detour into the woodlands of Fairlight Glen and onwards a ‘clothing optional’ beach cove. Don’t take the main thoroug-fare road into Hastings, join the path through the park to East Hill lift station — a cute Edwardian funicular that will take you down to the sea and The Stade, the ancient landing place where fishing boats surf onto shore like seals. Pedal along through the fishing huts and market selling fresh catches and, if time is on your side, stop at the World Championship Crazy Golf course.

Explore the maze of streets

After arriving in style via the funicular, it is probably time to get some refreshments, so head into the maze of little streets and alleys of Hastings Old Town. There are stacks of curiosity shops, antique dealers and pubs on George Street and High Street, get a take away cake from Judges Bakery or head into Jerwood Gallery on The Stade to admire their collection of 20th century British art. Take West Cliff Lift to the view point above Hastings.

Towards the late afternoon rejoin the seafront cycle path and ride west, watching the setting sun ahead and grab a seafront fish supper at low-key Goat Ledge, before pedalling a few hundred metres to the train station at St. Leonards Warrior Square for a direct train back to London Victoria.

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