I’ve been wanting to visit the beautiful town of Rye in East Sussex for *ages* now, so when my mum suggested we add a little UK day trip to her visit to Brighton, I jumped at the chance to suggest Rye. I’d hear SO many great things about the town, but nothing could really prepare me for how much I actually enjoyed my visit – Rye is even more beautiful and quaint in real life than it is in pictures, and even though it’s small, there were loads of pubs, restaurants and little shops to visit.
One of the pubs was The Ship Inn, a pub and a boutique hotel in the centre of Rye. It’s a beautifully decorated space with lots of cosy corners and separate sides for dining and pubbing, out of which the restaurant is the perfect mix of a swish gastropub and rustic country pub. We visited the pub at 12 pm (pretty much exactly – I think we were the first guests that day…) and as it was conveniently lunchtime, we took our seats in the restaurant area.
As we were the first ones in, I managed to snap quite a few photos of the restaurant when it was still pretty empty (I always feel so awkward if there are lots of people staring me when I take photos!), though it didn’t take long for more people to start to arrive – the pub is clearly well known in the area!
How cute is my mum?!
For drinks, we all ordered local English wines – me a sparkling Balfour rosé from Hush Heath Winery in Kent and my mum and her husband a white wine from another local vineyard (their first time trying English wine!). All our wines were really lovely and it felt nice knowing that they hadn’t come from that far at all!
The food menu is full of dishes made out of locally sourced ingredients, and the vegetarian options include things like an Asian fusion salad (which is also vegan!) and a grilled cream cheese and courgette linguine. The menu is divided between field (veggie), sea and land, and even though it’s not a very long menu, I feel like as the dishes are all quite different, everyone can find something they’ll like.
As a starter, we ordered an artisan bread bowl with olive oil and balsamico which was served in a really cute tiny bucket. Luckily it wasn’t all just presentation, either – there were lots of different types of bread and what’s even better was that they were all served really warm which was amazing!
For our mains, both my mum and I went for the harissa halloumi burger which consisted of grilled pepper, citrus yoghurt and served with skin on fries. The burger was really lovely and I really enjoyed the addition of harissa to the halloumi – it added a nice kick but didn’t make it too spicy (my mum really liked the burger too and she doesn’t like anything too spicy so it was definitely the perfect amount!).
The skin on fries were lovely too, and I feel like the portion was just the right size. My only (very tiny) complaint was that the menu didn’t specify that the burger also had little gherkins in it – I don’t like them at all and so had to pick them out, when normally I would have just asked the burger served without. It’s a minor issue though and didn’t ruin my lunch experience at all.
Our lovely (and so cute!) bread basket & my English rosé wine from Kent
The harissa halloumi burger
I really loved the decor – the pub was full of dark wood accents from the tables and chairs to the original historic features of the pub itself. I also really liked the fairy lights dotted around everywhere – it didn’t feel tacky at all and made everything just that much cosier!
Overall our experience was really lovely and the service we got was super friendly and knowledgeable too. Our waitress had only started that week but she already felt like a natural and made us feel at ease.
I’m already talking about going back to Rye and showing my boyfriend around and when we do, I’m definitely taking him to the Ship Inn for drinks and lunch – I need more of this beautiful place in my life!