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Hawkhurst | Luxury Self-Catering Holiday Home | Rye, East Sussex


Rye Harbour, Rye, East Sussex, UK

Once used to imprison the drunken sailors of Rye, this legend-laden Victorian watch house in East Sussex has been transformed into a calming oasis of pared-back luxury. Bay windows overlook the harbour, pre-loved finds are brought back to life in the form of distressed furnishings, and white-washed walls create brightness in every season. For families wanting a characterful coastal self-catering retreat, Hawkhurst is just the ticket.


This tranquil harbour-side hideaway sits two miles downstream from Rye town, possibly the quaintest town in England peppered with medieval buildings and criss-crossed with cobbled streets. Only six miles from Camber Sands too, Hawkhurst is perfectly placed for self-catering family holidays; promising culture, adventure and seaside fun by the bucket and spade-full. Once used to spy on trespassing smugglers and enemies, today the former watch house exudes utmost comfort and style, whilst losing none of its maritime charm. 


In their tender renovation of the property, the owners discovered original features such as the tiles and parquet floor, and slowly brought the Grade II-listed coastal dwelling back to its former beauty. The ground floor sitting room has bi-fold doors opening onto the garden, whilst the white-washed second-floor living room offers calming views over the lifeboat house and beyond; the perfect antidote after a day navigating the cycle paths and walkways of the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. For true escapism, climb the secret staircase to the watchtower, the best seat in the house for spotting passing Oystercatchers, Redshanks and Lapwings.


With its lost-in-time vibes, ancient inns, terracotta-roofed boutiques and fish restaurants, there is no prettier place in Sussex than Rye. A history aficionado’s favourite, trace the cobbled streets and fall ever more in love with its undeniable antiquated charm. Upon your return to Hawkhurst, kick back on one of numerous seating areas amid the cherry and apple blossoms, offering sunny and shady spots for al fresco suppers on hazy summer days. Suitably sun-kissed and relaxed, as evenings draw in, gather around the fire pit for story-telling - marshmallows at the ready.

The Facts

  • SleepsUp to 6 guests from £1,450 per week
    Day hire options are available
  • Alternative group optionUp to 2 guests
  • Bedrooms and bathroomsOne ground floor double bedroom with king-size bed, two first floor double bedrooms each with a king-size bed, one first floor family bathroom with roll-top bath and separate shower. There is also a ground floor WC.
  • PetsSorry, no pets allowed
  • Arrivals and departuresArrival Day: Monday or FridayArrival Time: 4pmDeparture Time: 10amTimes may vary due to Covid-19 requirements, please refer to your booking.
  • FamilyBabes-in-arms and children are very welcome. One travel cot and one highchair are available.
  • PracticalitiesThere is parking for one car, with free spaces available in the pub car park nearby. Hawkhurst has a washing machine, dishwasher, double oven, microwave and fridge with freezer compartment. Please note that there are steep ladder-style stairs leading to the watchtower and to the mezzanine level in the upstairs living room, please use these stairs with care and supervise children at all times.
  • Homestay includesLuxury welcome hamper, Smart TV, DVD player, Bluetooth speaker, iPad, WiFi internet, charcoal barbecue, board games, linen, towels, logs and kindling to get you started...House book - your property and destination guideDiscover more little luxuries
  • Additional extrasA handpicked selection of unique experiences are available at this property.
  • Other informationProperty terms and conditionsFrequently asked questionsCheck mobile signalRecommend to a friend

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Hawkhurst boasts simple and elegant design touches throughout
Enjoy a morning coffee and light reading in the window seat
Cosy corners are in abundance at Hawkhurst

Prices & Availability

Please note, availability for this property is to be confirmed by Unique Homestays on receipt of your enquiry


If there was ever a town to epitomise all that is quaint about England, then Rye in East Sussex would be it. This golden nugget of the past is a destination of cobbled streets, mysterious smuggler’s passageways and crooked Tudor and Medieval buildings cuddled together in true chocolate-box fashion.

View on maps


Getting there

  • On the Map This unique coastal home is located two miles downstream from Rye town centre, approximately thirty minutes from Hastings and one hour from Canterbury.
  • By Car Central London is approximately two hours away, dependent on traffic.
  • By Train The nearest train station is Rye, just over two miles (approximately a six minute drive) from the house.
  • By Plane Gatwick Airport is around one hour and thirty minutes from Hawkhurst.

From the owner

“A long-standing feature of Rye harbour, our home has played a central part in the day to day life of fisherman and local residents since it was first built around the early 18th century. A Grade-II listed building, we feel that now it´s ´our turn´ to love and nurture this beautiful building.”

From the owner

Rumoured to have once played the role of the local jail for locking up drunken sailors, we know for a fact Hawkhurst was owned by the Admiralty to use as a watch house, taxing boats that sailed up and down the River Rother. And, of course, to keep an eye on any smugglers or marauding French who may have been about!

We feel less like owners, more like lucky custodians. Restoring her to shiny glory, we lovingly restored Hawkhurst to reflect its calm, soothing coastal location.

Painted white throughout, it helps ping as much light back inside as there is out, flooding the whole house with the kind of unique, bluey-white light this part of the south-east coast enjoys. Most of the furniture has been sourced from shops in Rye itself - an absolute gem for antique and furniture shoppers alike.

In the garden (designed by a Chelsea Flower Show medal winner no less) we created a submerged seating area to sit around a fire pit. Here we love to enjoy a glass of wine, fire up the barbecue and watch the seagulls make their way inland to rest their heads.

The Eley family

Owner recommendations

Live like a local, discovering the best hidden gem restaurants, walks and attractions during your holiday in Rye with an insider’s perspective.

To See


A picturesque, sleepy little village, very reminiscent of something out of a Jane Austen novel, Winchelsea has a great farm shop and butchers, as well as some amazing views across the countryside.

To Do


Both bicycle and wheelchair hire are available at Rye Hire, home to a large number of great cycle routes. One particularly good option is Route 2 (signed from the train station), a nine-mile ride from Rye to Lydd via Camber.

Camber Sands
To Do

Camber Sands

Consistently voted one of the best beaches in the UK, boasting two miles of golden sands. Camber has also been used as a film set for The Theory of Everything, about the amazing life of Stephen Hawking.

The Globe Inn Marsh Rye, Rye
To Eat

The Globe Inn Marsh Rye, Rye

One of Rye´s hidden gems, this fantastic pub is definitely worth a visit. Unique decor, great food, dog-friendly, free WiFi, quiet location...it´s got the lot. Pop along for tasty treats and tease your taste buds with flavoursome fodder.

Guest Testimonials

We loved it! Hawkhurst is a pristine home! We enjoyed everything about the area, especially the local pubs in Rye and the Battle of Hastings site. What a beautiful house. Thank you!

What a beautiful house! We enjoyed every minute and especially loved the fire pit. Thank you so much for the amazing welcome and we are looking forward to coming back! We had a truly fabulous time!

Exciting character and history in a lovely place, the perfect place to spend a week´s holiday. Thank you for all your welcome goodies and offering lots of helpful tips on what to do while we were here. We loved Camber Sands for long walks with our dog and Winchelsea is very pretty. Thank you.

Thank you for the most wonderful stay in your beautiful home. You really have thought of everything and we would have loved to have stayed longer. We look forward to returning!

Thank you for a wonderful stay in your gorgeous house! So much creativity has gone into this house and the decor. We loved it and boys did too! They had never seen a typewriter before and loved the tower. The house was very tidy and welcoming. The towels and toiletries were pure luxury! We would definitely recommend Hawkhurst!

Amazing character and history - a lovely place to spend a week´s holiday. Thank you for all your welcome goodies and offering lots of helpful tips on arrival. We loved Camber Sands for long walks with our dog. Winchelsea is very pretty and we found Spike Milligan´s grave. Winchelsea Beach is fun and very exciting for children to explore the rock pools!

We have had the most wonderful, peaceful and productive 3 weeks! We absolutely love this house - it´s fantastically relaxing and comfy and to be in the kitchen was a delight. Thank you also for getting my husband into the golf course - wow! All was wonderful, thank you.

Hawkhurst is lovely. It is very welcoming, comfortable & warm. The quality of linen is superb and extremely impressive that fantastic soap & bath/shower gel is provided in all bathrooms. The hamper was great, with a nice variety of food. It was also really nice and helpful that someone came to show us around the property. Would definitely recommend this property because of the quality & also the great location.

We had a lovely, relaxing week in Rye and Hawkhurst is wonderful. The location is excellent with easy access to the wildlife walk, beaches and Rye town centre. Everything worked out perfectly!

This house is to die for! So beautifully decorated, the owners have thought of everything. We had a fabulous three days here relaxing with lots of walks on the beach at Camber Sands. We´ll be back. Thank you.

A fabulous house for catching up with family and friends. We enjoyed lazy days reading and watching the world go by, toasted marshmallows in the fire pit, barbecues, walks around the nature reserve and seeing the seals basking in the sunshine. We feel like we´ve been here a month.

We all, dog included, had a lovely time down at Hawkhurst. The owner was very helpful and full of local information. We will definitely be looking for more Unique Homestays to holiday in.

I loved the architecture, feel and style of the house. The location was perfect as we all like Rye and we needed a short break easily accessible from Brighton and London. We´ve stayed in loads of self-catering places in this country and France over the past 14 years. The spice drawer was excellent as we are all foodies! In fact none of us could remember a better stocked/supplied place. We also really appreciated the quality of the toiletries and room fragrances as we´re quite obsessive about such items!

Thank you for allowing us to enjoy your wonderful home. This is our first visit to this part of the world, but certainly will not be out last. Great pub next door to enjoy a pint.

Lovely, a homely house that is very easy to relax and settle into. Good lighting and well equipped! In a beautiful spot with wonderful walks nearby, we also loved to play balderdash. Thank you!

Lovely quirky house! Old mixed with the new, it was like stepping back in time. Upstairs downstairs comes to mind! Rusty our dog loved the secure garden too. Thank you for the hamper, it was a lovely thought. The weather was glorious everyday. Thank you, we have a jolly good time.

Wonderful! It ticks all the boxes, breakfast in the garden, long walks along the beach, comfortable beds and tasty pub food close by. This place delivers on all of the above and we will definitely be returning. Thank you!

Unique extras

Enhance your stay with a unique experience from one of our preferred suppliers. From professional in-house chefs to luxury at-home spa therapists and wine delivered to the door, see what’s on offer for your bespoke escape.


Below are a selection of features in which Unique Homestays has appeared. If you would like to feature the property in an editorial capacity, please contact the marketing team on +44 (0)1637 882014.

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Disclaimer: These particulars, whilst believed to be accurate, are set as a guideline so should not be relied upon as a statement of fact. The photographs show aspects of the property at the time they were taken and it should not be assumed that the property remains precisely as displayed. If there are points of particular importance that need clarifying before you book, please contact us.

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