I’d heard of Rye, which is nestled in a particularly lovely part of East Sussex, as one of those “must-go”, postcard-perfect English towns. The type which no doubt sees a lot of camera action, in the form of tourist snapshots and BBC period dramas alike. After living in the UK for six years I’ve seen many such towns, but my abiding Anglophilia means I’ll never say no to adding another to my list.
So when I had the chance to visit with a friend, her mother and her friends, I said yes immediately. A multi-generational girls’ day in the country could be just what I needed. Here’s just a taste of what awaited me in lovely Rye:
Pretty, right? But here’s the thing: Rye has something else up its sleeve. Believe it or not, it’s got great shopping.
Most English towns of this ilk will have a couple tea rooms, some kitschy souvenir shops and a few art galleries, but not much in the way of things you actually want to spend your money on. But when my friend and I picked up a leaflet titled Luxury Rye in a cute vintage shop, we pretty quickly realised that this town was a little different.
Luxury Rye (the leaflet, and the website) lists several design-focused shops in town, and gives the bearer an extra 10% off at any of them. For the rest of the day, we made it our mission to visit as many as we could. Some of my personal favourites were:
Laura Oakes – Anyone who frequents the home floor of Liberty in London will be familiar with this designer’s beautifully-illustrated lampshades, fabrics and accessories. Laura was in so I was able to pick her brain about future product launches, her design process and even the joys of living in Rye. Stay tuned to Apartment Therapy for an upcoming store profile.
Hunter Jones Vintage – A tiny but adorable vintage shop with great merchandising. I bought myself a colourful summer scarf, and even started my Christmas shopping early in this place!
Violetta – Part girly apothecary and part vintage-style dress shop, this beautiful store stocks some lovely brands. I chatted to the owner while my friend tried things on; her background is in fashion journalism so we had lots to discuss. She even drew us a map of other shops we might like nearby! Small-town service is where it’s at, I’m telling you.
Have you ever been to Rye? Or anywhere else which surprised you with its style?