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The Mermaid Inn is a former smuggler's hideaway on a "storybook lovely" street (The Daily Telegraph) in the village of Rye. With its sloping cobbled lanes, skewed half-timbered Tudor houses and impressive views over Romney Marsh, Rye is one of the southeast's quaintest towns.
The town is "a little nugget of the past", according to Lonely Planet and is linked to lots of historic tales, many of which involve smugglers and ghosts.
The Mermaid Inn is around five minutes' drive from Camber Castle, a 16th-century fort built by Henry VIII, and Rye Harbour Nature Reserve -- an area with dunes, rivers, pits, grazing marshes, reed beds and farmland -- where you might spot rare species like the spangled button beetle. Winchelsea Beach, which is sandy when the tide is out and pebbly when the tide is in, is 10 minutes' drive away and Hastings is around 30 minutes' drive away.
This inn, which was reportedly visited by Queen Elizabeth I and more recently hosted the Queen Mother, dates back to 1420 and its cellars go back further -- to the 12th century. Many of the property's original architectural features remain, including stone fireplaces, an old priest hole, a secret stairway and latticed windows.
There's a 2-AA-Rosette restaurant that "has bags of historic charm and atmosphere", according to The AA Restaurant Guide 2017, and a bar that also serves food.
The Mermaid Inn has 31 unique rooms -- each one is named after a historical person linked to either the inn or the town of Rye. Some of the rooms have carved wooden beds and others feature oak panelling.
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