Mermaid InnRyde
Mermaid Street
East Sussex TN31 7EY
Think of the ancient medieval town of Rye in south-east England and an image of cobbled streets and half-timbered inns will float into your mind’s eye. What you are seeing is Mermaid Street and The Mermaid Inn. This vision is the most photographed location in town.
The Mermaid is one of the oldest and loveliest inns in England. Tourists flock to it to experience the historic architecture and connections with smuggling. You can sit in the same spot as did members of the infamous Hawkhurst Gang.
These murderous smugglers drank and smoked with their loaded flintlock pistols cocked ready on the table, secure in the knowledge that the authorities would not dare arrest them!
Fortunately, times are not so hazardous now and the modern day visitor can enjoy the historic charm, roaring open fire and good food at that the Mermaid Inn offers, unhindered.
The Mermaid was built in 1156 but was rebuilt in 1420 after French raiders sacked and set fire to the town. Visitors can still see parts of the original Norman stone cellars and foundations. There are concealed staircases, rooms with moving wall panels and a Priest’s Hole in the chimneybreast in the Lounge Bar.
The Priest’s Hole was used in the days when it was a crime to practise the Roman Catholic religion and harbor a priest to celebrate Mass.
The Mermaid is reputed to be one of the most haunted pubs in Britain. If you are game to stay, the Elizabeth Chamber (Room 16) is reputed to have been the site of a fatal duel. Apparently, in the 1930s, a guest sleeping in the room witnessed two phantom duellers fighting with rapiers. The winner was seen to drag his opponent’s dead body through the Inn and drop it through a trapdoor.
If that is too blood thirsty for you, a grey lady is said to wander the upper floors, passing through closed doors and standing at the foot of beds.The Nutcracker Suite (Room 5) is her favourite place to materialise. She is thought to be the ghost of a girl who was murdered for being too indiscreet about her smuggler lover’s illicit activities. She would not have been the first inquisitive bystander to have been murdered by the fearsome Rye smugglers.
Rooms 1, 10 and 18 are said to also have ghostly visitors. A lady likes to sit in a chair in front of the fireplace in Room 1 and woe betide any guests who hang their clothes over the chair for in the morning they will find them drenched with water! Sometimes the ghosts don’t materialise but empty rocking chairs move mysteriously or seat cushions are dented as if an invisible someone is sitting on them.
Practical Information
The Mermaid has 31 en-suite bedrooms all of which are completely different. There are 8 four-poster bedded rooms, large family rooms sleeping up to 5 guests and a selection of double, twin and single rooms. Bookings may be made online.
If you are not a resident but wish to eat in the restaurant it is advisable to make a reservation.
Accommodation - Search & Book through Expedia here:    External Link
Contact & Further Information
Telephone  +44 (0)1797 223065
Website  Mermaid Inn    External Link
Getting There
Follow the instructions for getting to Rye on this website.
- By Car
There are two entrances into the Mermaid’s Car Park. Drive up Mermaid Street, located near the Strand Quay, and go straight up (notice this is not a one-way street) then turn left through the arch and into the car park. Mermaid Street is a wonderful example of an original cobbled stone road.
Alternatively, follow signs for the Town Centre, through the Land Gate Arch up to Rye High Street. The back entrance to the Mermaid is on your left opposite.
Google Maps - Mermaid Inn, Rye

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