The Gallivant, Rye

When I started this blog I optimistically had an ‘adults only’ section which I envisaged to be full of reports from romantic weekends away with Mr ATWWAH.  As most of us with kids know those weekends are few and far between, if at all, but at last I have another post which can fit into this category.  It wasn’t quite a romantic weekend, Mr ATWWAH wasn’t even there, but there were definitely no children on the trip.

Like a lot of new parents to be Mr ATWWAH and I embarked on an NCT course when I was pregnant with Master ATWWAH.  Not only did we have no idea what to expect about childbirth and what to do with a baby but we were pretty clueless when it came to the classes.  We knew from our friends it was a good way to make friends with people who would have kids of a similar age and especially useful for company during maternity leave but we really struck lucky with our group.

Our  NCT teacher was lovely, but a little bit scatty, and like most women taking courses about childbirth had no qualms about sharing her own experiences and peculiarly opening her legs whenever she was describing childbirth.  Why do they do that!?!?  Despite her forgetting to arrange a get together once all the babies had arrived we took it upon ourselves to stay in touch and those ladies were the saving grace of my first few months with Master ATWWAH.  We must have emailed each other hundreds of times with the usual mundane but all-important details on sleeping, poo colours, mastitis, weaning and so on.

And even when we all returned to work we kept in touch and saw each other regularly.  We also started a little tradition of the ladies only going away together one weekend in February each year.  Previously we’ve been to Bath and Oxford but this time we fancied somewhere different and in keeping with our group dynamic after about a hundred emails we settled on The Gallivant in Rye.  Described as a ‘restaurant with rooms’ and likening itself to a Californian motel with shabby chic we booked four rooms for two nights.  There were five of us on the Friday night, six on the second.  And one of our group was missing out altogether due to the more exciting adventure of moving house.

We started our weekend at about 4pm on the Friday meeting in the champagne bar at St Pancras station, not a bad start.  Although you have to change trains at Ashford International the journey to Rye from London is surprisingly quick, even with a 30 minute delay at Ashford due to our connection being cancelled.  Connections permitting it would have taken just over an hour.  One of our clan amused the station staff at Ashford asking where the champagne bar was while we waited for our delayed train.  We ended up in the waiting area drinking prosecco from plastic cups.

We arrived in Rye slightly tipsy after getting through three bottles between us although this was over a good two hour period so I think it’s dignified enough.  Just.  We hadn’t arrived a cab from the station to the Gallivant which was a bit of an error but after calling around some of the numbers on the board at the station we got there.  And Eve, the driver with a mini bus, ended up being our saviour for the weekend.  Rye isn’t full of taxi drivers.

The Gallivant’s motel description wasn’t far wrong.  From the outside, in the dark, it looked a bit underwhelming, all one storey and well, motel like, but don’t let appearances put you off.  We’d booked dinner for 8.30pm so we all went to get changed and agreed to meet in the bar.  I love that first walk into a hotel room and the anticipation of whether it looks how it did online or in your own imagination.  The receptionist showed us to our rooms and brought along a thermos of milk for coffees/teas (so much nicer than those little squishy cartons)

There are twenty rooms, which are all pretty basic but comfortable, kitted out with driftwood furniture and with nice touches such as retro phones, a choice of well-read paperbacks and a DAB radio.  The bathrooms are basic too but the gorgeous toiletries and the rubber duck are a nice addition.


A room at the Gallivant, Rye

phone and books

Retro phone and choice of books at The Gallivant, Rye

As a group we love our food and our previous trips away have always revolved around meals so we were really looking forward to The Gallivant.  It features in Square Meal’s Top 100 restaurants and The Times Top 100 UK hotels for food so expectations were high.  And we weren’t disappointed.  The restaurant was full throughout our stay and you can see why.  It was lovely.  Being so close to the sea, fish features heavily on the menu.  I went for the beetroot tartare with duck egg (£6) which was delicious and a main course of Gloucester Old Spot pork with chicory and squash (£16)  They were both gorgeous and not one of us had a criticism of the food.  Or drink 🙂


Gloucester Old Pork at The Gallivant, Rye

We had such a good night, maybe a little bit raucous for a relatively small restaurant but most people smiled at us the next morning at breakfast.  Annoyingly, and predictably, we were all up pretty early despite not having children to wake us up first thing.  A continental breakfast is included in the room rate but don’t be misled, the choice is huge.  And if you are still hungry you can pay a bit extra and get dishes such as eggs benedict or a full English.

But included in the continental breakfast is eggs cooked to order, cereals, homemade banana bread, fruit, toasts, muesli, granola, pancakes cooked to order with a different topping each day and a brilliant idea, and needed for our table, the Recovery station, where you can help yourself to Alka-Seltzer, Berocca and bloody Mary’s.  Brilliant.

The Recovery Station at The Gallivant, Rye

The Recovery Station at The Gallivant, Rye

If you haven’t eaten enough you also get afternoon tea included in your room rate which happens every day at 4pm and features a homemade cake.  We had a chocolate cake on the Saturday which tasted a bit like Jaffa Cake biscuits, it was lovely and light.  Instead of a mini bar in the room there is a larder at the end of the corridor for guests to go and help themselves to drinks and snacks, just filling in an ‘honesty’ slip for reception to add to your bill.

The Gallivant does welcome children although there aren’t really facilities for children as such although they provide travel cots and highchairs.  There were a couple of children there on our weekend but personally I’d take older children, if any at all.

The staff who worked there were all very friendly and Ben in particular looked after us really well.  He was great with wine recommendations too 🙂

One of the real attractions of the hotel is its location, cross the road outside the hotel and go over a sand dune to a gorgeous beach.  It was more or less deserted on the Saturday morning we were there, the weather wasn’t great, and we got to watch a couple of horses cantering along the sea which was so nice.  We had a good walk along the beach getting rid of any alcohol related headaches.

The moody looking Camber Sands

The moody looking Camber Sands

Saturday morning beach selfie

Saturday morning beach selfie

After our beach walk we headed into Rye and had a good wander around the shops.  The High Street is full of independent shops mainly selling homewares, clothes and bags.  A few of the shops which stood out are:

The Shop Next Door, 97 High Street, Rye

This shop is next to The George (a well known restaurant and hotel) and stocks all the gorgeous things in the hotel.  It is full of soft furnishings including bedheads, cushions, duvets as well as paint, garden tools, candles, toiletries and so on.  It’s the sort of shop you could spend hours in, we did.

Wobbly Wardrobe, 104a High Street, Rye

Despite not having the kids with us we ended up in a kids clothes and toy shop to buy little presents.  This shop was very cute and had great products including Hatley raincoats and pyjamas, Melissa and Doug toys and some lovely dolls houses.

Grammar School Records, High Street, Rye

Situated in a former grammar school building this independent record shop has 20,000 LP’s as well as 20,000 more 7″ singles (remember those) and cassettes and CD’s across all music genres.  Well worth a visit.

I think our favourite shop though had to be The Old Grain Store.  It is a coffee shop and a gift store.  However, when we visited it was the start of Rye Bay’s Scallop Week and the coffee shop was serving fresh scallops with bacon and garlic for £4.95.  They were amazing.  Look at these……

The best scallops ever at The Old Grain Store, Rye

The best scallops ever at The Old Grain Store, Rye

My mouth is watering at the memory of them.

We also did a bit of wandering around, we had to after the scallops, and went a bit Mapp & Lucia (it was filmed there) for the scenery.

St Mary's Church, Rye

St Mary’s Church, Rye

Despite our gorgeous meal at The Gallivant on Friday we didn’t eat there on the Saturday night as we had already booked at The George back on the High Street in Rye.  It’s a popular spot and the restaurant was really busy with couples and groups of friends.  Again, the food was very good, I think the consensus was The Gallivant was better but it was still tasty and worth a visit.  I was feeling really full after the big breakfast, scallops lunch, afternoon tea cake and bottles of champagne so I ordered the meze as a main.  I just wanted to pick at something really.  It was huge and very tasty.


Meze at The George, Rye

Sunday arrived far too quickly especially as once again I was up early, 7am this time.   We enjoyed another Gallivant breakfast and a walk on the beach before heading into Rye for lunch of fish and chips, yes really, before getting the train back to London and reality.

We’re already planning our February trip for next year.  Any suggestions?  We’re looking for somewhere no more than three hours travel time from London, it can be in the UK or abroad.  Bruges seems to be winning so far……..


  1. That looks gorgeous – Rye is somewhere which always seems tempting but I’ve never been. The Gallivant sounds idea too – food, beach and fun decor.

    • Thanks Cathy. It really was gorgeous, both Rye and The Gallivant are definitely worth a visit.

  2. This sounds – and looks – lovely. What a great location, across the road from the beach! And of course you woke up early – that’s the rules when you don’t have your kids with you!!

  3. oh this sounds wonderful – I love get togethers with old friends. We have a cottage booked in Yorkshire next month with my oldest school friends. Can’t what! Love how you ended up in a children’s shop on your child-free break. Is fitting though really with you being NCT friends 😀

  4. Your cottage sounds great. And, yes, very sad that we end up in a kids toy and clothes shop when we didn’t even have the kids with us.

  5. You have shared lovely details of the place! Looks so lovely there! #MondayEscapes

  6. I really enjoyed this post! I laughed at the fact that you thought you’d be swanning off on adults-only trips regularly! Me too! Rye is such a lovely place to visit – we love it there and Camber Sands. Glad you had a wonderful trip with your NCT friends (I am close to mine as well)and enjoyed all that wonderful food and wine! Thanks for sharing on #MondayEscapes

    • Thanks Ting and I know, what was I thinking, regular adults only trips. I can count on one hand the number of times Mr ATWWAH and I have been out together since Mini ATWWAH arrived a year ago. #MondayEscapes

  7. I went to Rye one wet and windy Sunday when everything seemed to be closed but I’d like to go back one day. I like the idea of staying in a retro motel! As for your next trip, Bruges would be great. I’m off to Lille with my eldest in September, will be strange having an (almost) grown up weekend away. #Mondayescapes

    • Oh no, everything being closed is not good. I’ve never been to Lille and with my two being so young going on almost grown up weekends away with them feels a long way off. I can’t wait to read about your trip #mondayescapes

Leave a Reply