Set on cobbled Mermaid Street in the middle of enchanting Rye, Jeake’s House, built in 1689, is an unexpected treat. Each guest is greeted personally by owners Jenny Hadfield and her partner Richard Martin, and shown to their room (‘no one carries their own bag, it’s the law’) along an amusing warren of steep stairs and corridors. Bedsteads are either mahogany or brass, bedspreads quilted or lace. Downstairs, there’s an honesty bar, while the galleried former chapel makes the grandest of breakfast rooms. A roaring fire greets guests on cold mornings and one of the close-knit team will serve you a fine breakfast (no dinners) from a menu that includes devilled kidneys, boiled eggs, Marmite soldiers and Rye rarebit. Trot uphill past the famous Mermaid Inn and half-timbered houses, including Lamb House, once the home of both Henry James and EF Benson, to St Mary’s Church and its lookout tower, which you should climb for a marvellous, bracing view. Doubles from £95.
Do: Jeake’s House provides the perfect starting point for exploring many National Trust properties including, Great Dixter, Sissinghurst, Bodiam and Bateman’s.
Eat: In the local Webbe’s Fish Cafe in Rye.
Buy: A kitesurfing lesson at the local Camber Sands.
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