A period house in the beautiful ancient town of Rye that stylishly mixes vintage and modern, and has lots of luxury touches
There doesn’t seem to be a person alive who doesn’t love Rye, a former medieval port (it’s two miles inland now, thanks to the sea moving) that’s retained much of its ancient character. It still thrives as a town in its own right, with a working fishing fleet, lots of independent shops and restaurants, and a keen community spirit. Plus, one of the country’s best beaches, Camber Sands, sits on its doorstep, a fantastic bonus that makes Rye a year-round destination.
Bee Cottage taps into the other thing that Rye is well-known for, its copious antique/junk/bric-a-brac shops, which would probably take up a whole day to plunder if you did them all. The house is early Edwardian, and nods to the style of the time with its textured wallpaper, antique marble-topped washstand and headboard made from an Arts and Crafts screen, but it’s also filled with brass mid-century lighting, G-Plan furniture, kitsch paintings and contemporary prints. Antique fairs, eBay and many a vintage shop in Rye were raided to put the whole look together.
There are lots of luxury touches, not just in the Egyptian cotton bedlinen, crazy-paving-style marble-tiled bathroom and big rain showerhead, but on the tech side too. The house is unusually well-equipped, with an Xbox and Netflix account at your disposal, a record player (and lots of vinyl) and wireless speaker if you want to plug in your own device. Rainy days are definitely sorted here, but it’s all so comfy and inviting that you might not want to leave whatever the weather.
The garden has a carnival theme, with hand-painted panels from a waltzer mounted on the wall, and multicoloured festoon lights – a good place to relax after a day at the beach, a walk in the gorgeous surrounding countryside, or a visit to one of the area’s world-class historic houses and gardens.
Rye is soon to be thrust into the spotlight as the setting for a new BBC adaptation of the Mapp & Lucia books: EF Benson, the books’ original author, was the town’s mayor, and set his witty stories of bitching, scheming and rivalry in the fictional town of Tilling, based on Rye. It’s sure to raise the place’s status still further, so book in while you can…
Nearby: Rye sits on the border of Kent and East Sussex, with beautiful countryside and coastline in all directions. The area has some world-famous gardens, including Great Dixter, in the village of Northiam, and Sissinghurst in Cranbrook, plus historic attractions such as Battle Abbey and Bodiam Castle. Local beaches offer everything from the pristine dune-scape of Camber Sands, to atmospheric Dungeness, a wildlife hotspot as well as home to some amazing contemporary houses, to arcades and buckets-and-spades in Hastings. For art, there’s Hastings’ Jerwood Gallery, and the modernist ‘people’s palace’, Bexhill-on-Sea’s De La Warr Pavilion. If you get bored of Rye’s shops, Hastings and St Leonards also have amazing junk and antique shops.
Photos by Come to Rye