About the Hotel

Welcome to the unique Mermaid Inn, rich in history;

  • Cellars dating from 1156 and the building rebuilt in 1420.

The Mermaid Inn offers a totally different experience;

  • Sloping ceilings
  • Creaking floorboards and numerous staircases
  • A history and a rich tradition that is maintained by careful stewardship.

Experience a drink in the Giant’s Fireplace Bar and imagine how the Hawkhurst Gang, local smugglers in the 1730s and 1740s, caroused in the bar. Can you see the secret passageway entrance?

Dine in the Linen Fold Panelled Restaurant. Enjoy the ambience of the large restaurant, the cosiness of the Dr Syn dining room or the privacy of the Boardroom for your evening meal, lunch and breakfast.

Relax in one of the two lounges. Enjoy the comfort and atmosphere of Dr Syn’s Lounge and look for the wall carvings of the Catholic priests fleeing to the continent at the time of the Reformation. The Small Lounge overlooks the cobbles of Mermaid Street, which was once the main route to the anchorage in Rye in years gone by.

We are the only hotel in the Medieval citadel of Rye with on site parking – for 15 cars   We have a page dedicated to Car Parking Guidance at the Hotel and to Car Parks in Rye.

Explore The Mermaid Inn through this Google View of the building

This blog from 2013 provides lovely images of The Mermaid Inn


Download a copy of our brochure: Mermaid Inn Hotel Brochure

To book a particular room, there are 31 unique rooms to choose from, please contact reception directly by;

Phone: 01797 223065 or Email: [email protected]

The Mermaid Inn has a reputation for being haunted, 600 years of history and there are so many stories.

The Mermaid Ghost Stories:

Room 16 The Elizabethan Bedchamber

There have been on many occasions, as detailed on the attached sheet by Ms Kiki Kendrick, incidents of a duel being fought in the room and the loser then being thrown down the stairs of the secret passage.  The body would have landed in the part of the hotel that is now the Bar.

A night camera was set up by a guest, a short time ago, and movement of swords was picked up, and during the night, the shadow of a “figure” could be seen on the film in the corner of the room.  A week or so later the guest sent in some photographs he had taken of the room and the same shadow of a “figure” could be seen in the corner of the room.  We have tried from all angles to recapture this shadow on the camera but it has proved impossible.

One late winter’s afternoon 2 guests had booked into the Elizabethan Bedchamber and then gone for a walk around the town.  On their return through the car park they had looked up at the window of the Elizabethan Bedchamber to see silhouettes of people against the closed curtains.  Upon returning to the room no-one had been inside.

The barman a few years ago, was tending to the fire when all the bottles on the shelf at the other end of the room fell off.  He handed in his notice the next day.

Recently we were sent another story about The Elizabethan Bedchamber……..

“My wife and I are long time clients of the Mermaid, first staying in 1988 in the Elizabethan Bed Chamber). As the family grew, we always took the Nutcracker Suite, with the children sleeping in the main room and us in the double bedroom. One morning (Christmas Day 2002 I think), my youngest daughter Eleanor mentioned at breakfast that someone had come into the room in the night. We knew the door had been locked, and were surprised when she described the person as an old man who walking past the end of her bed in a striped night gown and cap carrying a candle. The way she described his clothes clearly showed she didn’t know what a night gown or cap were. Eleanor was a highly imaginative child, but nevertheless maintains to this day that she really saw this man, so you can make of it as you wish…”

Room 17 “Kingsmill”

On occasions, it has appeared to suddenly go terribly cold in the room and the rocking chair in there would start to rock for no apparent reason.  The chambermaids would only clean the room in pairs as they did not like to be in there by themselves.

We have also been sent photographs of “orbs” floating around the room with guests reporting that the room had appeared to divide into areas of “very hot” and “very cold”.

Room 5 “The Nutcracker Suite”

A “Lady –in-White” has been seen to walk through from the single room across the main room, and through the door, stooping at the foot of the bed for the moment on her way past.

Room 15 “Dr Syn’s Bedchamber”

Some time ago, a film crew was testing the strength of the light in this room prior to filming and suddenly their equipment started to pick up lighted orbs moving around the room.  These were not visible to the naked eye.

Last year a medium asked the owner if he could carry out a séance in this room and five members of staff agreed to take part.  Once they were seated the medium warned the group that, when and if he made contact with anyone, his face and voice would change.  Much to the shock of all there his face and voice did change and he told the group that a figure with a dog had entered the room and was standing in the corner.

No-one could see anything but when each one was offered to put their hand out, part of their hand or arm seemed to go into what appeared to be like a shadow, and each one confirmed they had “touched” something that felt like a dog.

Room 19 “Hawkhurst Suite”

An American lady sleeping in the single room of the suite, reported that a gentleman in old-fashioned clothes had sat on her bed during the night.  When he would not go away, she pulled her mattress into the double room, where her sons were sleeping, and stayed there until morning.

A few months ago, one of the owners was walking around the hotel with a clairvoyant.  When they went into Room 19 the clairvoyant said she could feel a strong personal connection between the owner and the room.  It transpired that Room 19 was the only room in the hotel that had some personal furniture that had once belonged to the owner’s family many years ago.

Room 3 “Moreton”

Recently a gentleman staying in this room, reported that whilst his wife was in the bathroom and he was left in bed on his own, he felt a strange sensation of being kicked in the back and then a sense of well-being washed over him.  Everything went back to normal on the return of his wife.

Room 1 “James”

We have had lots of reports of a “Lady in White (or Grey)”.  Who has been seen to sit in the chair by the fireplace.  Guests, many weeks apart, have recounted the same story of having left their clothes on this chair during the night and when they have woken in the morning, they have found their clothes all wet.  There are no windows or pipes near the chair!

A couple reported to Reception about two years ago, that whilst spending the night in this room, the husband had been amazed to see a family consisting of what appeared to be a mother, father and child walk through the wall to the other side of the room as he lay in bed.

Room 10 “Fleur De Lys”

Several years ago, a bank manager and his wife were awakened to find a man walking through their bathroom wall and across the centre of the room.  They were so frightened that they spent the rest of the night downstairs in one of the lounges and made the porter bring all their luggage downstairs, plus their clothes.

A Brief History So Far…

Famous personages of the day who have stayed at the Inn, include Lord Alfred Douglas (Oscar’s Bosey), F.E. Smith the great advocate, Henry Dodge the American motorcar magnate and Ford Maddox Ford the novelist.  Other visitors include Dame Ellen Terry the actress and the writers Hilaire Belloc, Henry James, Rupert Travers and Ben Travers.

During this time a fascinating ghost story came to light.  There had been rumours of a haunting in the Elizabethan Bedchamber on 29th October and one year a lady, claiming to be a “Psychic” asked to sleep in the room on that night.  Mrs Aldington the then owner joined her.  The lady slept very well, but during the night, Mrs Aldington awoke to find a duel raging about her.  The combatants were dressed in doublets and hose, fighting with rapiers.  The victor disposed of the body of his opponent by throwing it down the oubliette or secret toilet situated in the corner of the room.

There are two more secret ways, apart from the present staircase between the bar and Dr Syn’s Bedchamber, a moving panel in Room 18 and an entrance to the Priest’s Hole through the back of the cupboard above the Bar Fireplace.

After the second world war the Mermaid was bought by a Canadian Soldier, who had been billeted there during the war.  Since then, the Inn has gone from strength to strength.

Stories that Guests have sent us;

  • From the actress, Kiki Kendrick and her husband Robin – “In December 1993 we had booked 4 nights in the Elizabethan Bedchamber. It was our first ever visit to Rye.  We knew nothing about The Mermaid’s Ghosts or that it was even haunted.  On our first night after a couple of drinks in the bar, we retired to our room at about midnight.  Around 4.00am suddenly and for no reason, we both sat bolt upright in bed.  There was an eerie presence.  The warm and toasty room had suddenly turned strangely cold and we could hear a fight going on in the corner of the room.  By the fireplace there were huffs and puffs and sounds of clashing knives.  We could see shapes moving, as if looking through opaque glass.  They fought violently.  It was very scary.  The next evening, we told the barman and he produced an old newspaper article about ghosts in the Elizabethan Bedchamber that had been written by 2 journalists who had stayed there 6 months earlier.  It read word for word as we had seen it.  The second night the same thing happened, but only I saw it.  In the intervening years, we have stayed in the same room but have never seen such happenings again.
  • In December 2000 on the evening before our wedding, in the corridor from the bar to reception, my brother-in-law was walking towards me. I did not realise it was him until he spoke my name.  His normally round and full face was like a skull – cheekbones and eyes sunken etc.  At our wedding the next day he looked his usual self.  Three months later he suddenly died of Liver failure.  Before he died he lost so much weight he looked the same as the figure I had seen walking towards me in the corridor three months earlier…….
  • One evening about 20 years ago, we were dining with friends in the Restaurant, seated at the table in the corner by the window (John my friend had his back to the window). My wife suddenly said to him – “John stretch your hand out into the corner of the room” – she placed his hand into the mist and said it was just like putting his hand into a freezer.  A moment later the mist had disappeared, and the area felt warm again.
  • My wife and I were staying in “The Elizabethan Bedchamber during 1996/97. One evening around 6pm, my wife was sitting at the dressing table when suddenly the door to the room flew open by itself!  No one was there when we went to investigate but there was a “chill” hanging in the doorway.
  • On New Year’s Day 1998 my wife and I were waiting to pay our room bill in Reception, with two other couples. Suddenly with a startled glance, the Receptionist looked up, focusing on a point just behind us.  Then we felt something brush past us – but there was nothing there!!  The other two couples also felt it.