Bee Cottage in buzzy Rye is pretty much the bees knees as far as we are concerned thanks to its funky but family-friendly interiors - the owner is an interiors magazine journalist - and its fab location a short stroll from the bistros, boutiques and pretty harbour for which Rye is rightly famous.
The Brooks family are clearly as in love with it as we are and fully intend that one day they’ll make it their permanent home but, for now they just want other families to enjoy it as much as they do, something that is clear to see from the thoughtful touches found inside. Having completely renovated the place into a fab and funky family holiday home, they have made it a treasure trove of 20th century design classics, from the cool to the kitsch, and adding a hefty dose of personality and fun along the way. By picking up pieces from Rye’s many vintage and antique shops, there’s plenty to make families smile in every room, from the ‘60’s and ‘70’s light fittings to some tongue-in-cheek artwork and there’s even a proper record player with a selection of vinyl which will blow the mind of little digital natives! The house is bang up to date with all the latest gadgets too, including Netflix and a Blu Ray player for the TV, an X-Box with children’s games, Wi Fi and a Philips wireless speaker to stream music from a phone or tablet through Airplay.
The kitchen is anything but a blast from the past (well maybe the floor!) and fully fitted out with all the latest appliances and accessories for yummy mummy self catering, from the Rangemaster range cooker with induction hob, two ovens and grill to a slow cooker and hand blender for whizzing up baby food. A welcome pack is provided which includes homemade cakes and biscuits as well as a few basic essentials. The beds at Bee Cottage are made up with luxury Egyptian cotton linen and topped with cosy throws, while the pebble effect bathroom has a luxurious roll top bath with a rain-shower overhead.
For playing and eating outside, Bee Cottage has a pretty little lawn garden, surrounded by bushes and trees, but also a fantastic flagged patio for barbecues, strung with colourful lights around a groovy funfair fresco.
Bee Cottage is a 3-bedroom house which sleeps up to 6 people, plus 1 travel cot is provided for a baby. The house is brimming with funky, retro furnishings and features along with the latest technology and mod cons, from the home entertainment to the contemporary fitted kitchen. The living/dining room is open plan and includes a vivid peacock blue sofa, TV with Netflix and Blu-Ray player, Philips wireless speaker, record player and a dining table which seats 6, plus baby in a high chair provided. The slate grey kitchen, complemented by its striking patterned floor, is compact and well equipped, including a Rangemaster range cooker with induction hob, two ovens and grill; a microwave; slow cooker; hand blender; kettle and toaster; dishwasher; washing machine; and a digital radio. One twin bedroom and one double room are on the first floor, along with the family bathroom which features a roll top bath with a large fixed rain showerhead and a separate hand held attachment; a large washbasin; there’s also a separate WC. The loft space has been converted into a big and bright master bedroom, with dorma windows, a king-size bed, plenty of storage space, a TV and DVD player. Bee Cottage has a private enclosed garden to the rear, with a small lawn and a flagged patio with a charcoal barbecue and dining table with benches.
There is free, on-street parking within 2-minutes walk of the cottage.
Around 60 miles, or little over an hour by train from London St Pancras, families can be in the twee, medieval town of Rye on the South coast of Kent and Bee Cottage is 10 minutes walk from the station. Once surrounded by the sea, the fortified hilltop town, with its cobbled streets, timber framed buildings and terracotta roofs, makes Rye a regular film set location and its intriguing heritage ranges from highwaymen and smugglers to Captain Pugwash.
Rye has a few chain shops but lots more interesting independents that are fun to browse, especially all the quirky vintage and antique shops on The Strand which wends down to the harbour quays. Children will find lovely, unique toys in the Lion Street Store and Rye Deli is recommended for its choice of cheeses, tartlets, pies, salads and more to prepare a deliciously, posh picnic.
One of the other main reasons the owners of Bee Cottage love Rye so much is the great choice of restaurants, cafes and pubs. The restaurants take full advantage of local produce, from Romney Marsh lamb to Rye Bay Scallops and Hastings Crab and a list of recommendations are in the house information folder. Simply Italian is a safe bet for families, with pizzas and pasta galore, while Marino’s Fish Bar gets top marks for fish and chips, to eat in or take away, and Knoops serves the very best hot chocolates, including some with a boozy bonus! There are numerous inns to sample local ales, Kentish wines and gastro pub food, plus the Ypres Castle Inn has a beer garden which overlooks the river.
Just 4 miles from Rye are the beautiful dune backed beaches of Camber Sands and besides having great fun here, families can buy day passes to Pontins with its indoor pool, fun bikes, go karting and many other amusements. In the opposite direction, and much quieter than Camber, is the long shingle beach at Wichelsea and beyond that, all the history and seaside fun of Astings Hastings. Pelham Beach is the main family beach in Hastings and Rock-a-Nore is great for rock-pooling at low tide, plus other attractions include the Blue Reef Aquarium, Smugglers Adventure, Clambers Play Centre and of course, Hastings Castle and the 1066 Story.
A wide variety of other family attractions are within easy reach of Bee Cottage, from steam train rides to animal encounters. The Kent and East Sussex Railway Line makes a fun day out, especially when Thomas The Tank Engine is on the timetable! The Mill Toy Museum is also on this line, with the biggest collection of pedal cars on display, from a Bugati to A VW camper. Families can go on safari at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park, and see rhinos, tigers, giraffes, zebras and elephants, whilst the South of England Rare Breeds Centre has more friendly animals to pet, as well as trailer rides, play parks, a tube maze, creepy crawly world, indoor play centre, restaurant and farm shop.
Nearest Medical Services: GP - Ferry Road Health Centre, Rye; A&E - Conquest Hospital, Leonards-on-Sea.