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The medieval town of Rye offers two ways to reconnect with different worlds: as a gateway to the past and to the lush surrounding countryside of Sussex and Kent. It’s perfectly positioned to transport you to a different time and place, and in so doing to offer you a different take on life.

Rye  
Rye  
Rye  

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Rye

Begin your visit by looking at Rye itself from an unusual perspective: by climbing the tower of the parish church of St Mary to take in the view and get your bearings. (Even the tower is out of the ordinary; the clock chimes not on the hour, but on the quarter.)

That challenge completed, your Kodiaq will have to remain parked as you explore the cobbled streets with their half-timbered houses. Browsing in the shops is a novel experience here; there are no chain stores, only local independent retailers.

Perhaps you’ll pause at the 600-year-old Mermaid Inn, a hotbed of smuggling activity in the 18th century. Echoes of the past are particularly strong here – especially if you choose to believe the tales of ghosts haunting the rooms.

Or you may decide it’s time to snap back into the present, making the short drive to Camber Sands where kitesurfing, kite buggying and landboarding will satisfy your modern sense of adventure.

Recommended near-by locations…

Royal Tunbridge Wells

58min away

While any journey in the Kodiaq is pleasurable, the drive from Rye to Royal Tunbridge Wells is made especially so by the picture postcard surroundings. The exceptionally scenic route takes you over the rolling hills of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and into Kent, the Garden of England.

Not that you need to stick to the direct route, of course. A detour via Sissinghurst Castle Garden is recommended; writer Vita Sackville-West and her diplomat husband Harold Nicolson turned a derelict property into this clever and beautiful construction in the 1930s.

Once at Royal Tunbridge Wells, you have a choice: will you go for the rugged or the refined?

If the former, try climbing the sandstone rock formations just out of town. If the latter, take a stroll in the Pantiles – a beautiful promenade with royal connections, lined by buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Seven Sisters Country Park

1h 8min away

Alternatively, head for Seven Sisters Country Park just beyond Eastbourne. This is glorious walking country – and with every step you take, you’re treading in the footsteps of history.

Your route may take you past Battle Abbey, built on the site of William the Conqueror’s victory over King Harold. Further on, you’ll find Pevensey Castle – originally a Roman fort but still being used as a garrison in World War II.

And who knows what may have taken place at the location of the Seven Sisters Country Park, named after the huge chalk cliffs (or ‘sisters’) on the coastline? This area was notorious for smuggling in the past – a practice which only ended when the main ringleader was transported to Australia in the 1830s.

 
 

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Please note
Official fuel consumption for the New ŠKODA Kodiaq range in mpg (litres/100km): Urban 31.0 (9.1) – 48.7 (5.8); Extra Urban 44.1 (6.4) – 61.4 (4.6); Combined 38.2 (7.4) – 56.5 (5.0). CO2 emissions for the New ŠKODA Kodiaq range are 170 – 131g/km. Standard EU test figures are for comparative purposes and may not reflect real driving results.