Catching the Rye

We went on an adventure this past bank holiday weekend to Ashford, Kent for a much needed getaway. MUCH needed. We took our bikes with us, planning to ride around the area and see what Kents finest has to offer. Since Ashford is conveniently located in the middle of the area, it was the obvious place to stay for the weekend.

Staying at the Ashford International Hotel, we had a gym and buffet to start off each day energised, and a pool, sauna, and hot tub at our hands to end each day relaxing and unwinding. They even had a storage closet for us to keep our bikes out of the way, which was much appreciated.

The trip out went smoothly, cycling to Charing Cross to catch the Southeastern train to Ashford. The hotel was about a mile from the station, making it really easy to get to on our bikes. When we got there, the staff were very accommodating and friendly, providing suggestions on places to eat and things to see.

Cricket

After a good nights sleep and full breakfast buffet, we were ready to start the day. The original idea was to bike to Canterbury for the day, but after some googling and a suggestion from the guys at the local bike shop, we decided to bike out to Rye instead. And what a good idea! It ended up being the Rye International Jazz & Blues Festival.

As we pulled into town, there was a large carnival going on and cricket players in the park. A similar sight to what we see in the states with carnies that are just as scary, and baseball. The town centre was just up the hill, which really shouldn’t be called a hill. It was steeper than any mere “hill” I’ve ever seen before!

Old Town Entrance

The first shop won me over, and the subsequent ones just reiterated how absolutely adorable this town is. The streets are made of cobblestone and are there for walking more so than driving. During the entire day, not once did I see a car drive down any of those roads. Just how I like it!

Castle

We got lucky with this trip. Being the jazz and blues festival, there were live bands playing throughout the town pubs and parks and the people were a plenty, but it wasn’t over run or crowded at all. Just a pleasant number moseying along and taking in the beautiful buildings and weather.
Wine Cellar

I was also pleasantly surprised at the cleanliness of the streets given the number of people walking around. Not a single piece of litter was to be found. What a change from London!

Cathedral

We found the town castle, which overlooked the fields nearby as well as a pub down the hill where more live music serenaded the crowds sitting in the sun. After sitting to enjoy the area for a bit, we made our way back down to where we locked up our bikes and enjoyed a bit more R&R over ice cream and coffee before mustering up the energy to bike back to Ashford for the evening.

Ice Cream Coffee
Although beautiful and quiet outside, the ride back is not what I would call the easiest. It was obvious that we hadn’t been on bicycles or long rides in quite a while. The frequent gym-going made the trek easy for our legs, but the backs and shoulders were a whole other story! The hot tub was much appreciated when we returned.

Overall, the Rye trip was a great success. We didn’t find the Catcher, but it was worth the excursion nonetheless.