Dr Syn’s Bed Chamber

The ‘Dr Syn’s Bedchamber’ is named after Dr Syn, the fictitious character of the author Russell Thorndike, but based on the factual ‘Hawkhurst’ smuggling gang of 600 men. The vicar of Dymchurch, Dr Syn, was portrayed by George Arliss in a 1937 feature film and Patrick McGoohan in a 1960’s Walt Disney version.

Russell Thorndike frequently visited The Mermaid Inn and was welcomed by the Gregory family who owned the Inn during the 1950s.

– A Double Bed  – A Single Bed  – Antique furniture

– Caen Stone Fireplace  – Beamed ceiling – Wattle and daub walls  – Latticed windows

– View over the archway that leads through to Mermaid Street

Dr Syn window

Welcome to the unique Mermaid Inn, rich in history with cellars dating from 1156 and rebuilt in 1420. The Mermaid Inn offers a totally different experience. Sloping ceilings, creaking floorboards and numerous staircases, which are the product of 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 small 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.

The Mermaid Inn had a strong connection with the notorious Hawkhurst Gang which used the premises during the 1730s and 1740s. This large group of smugglers controlled territory from Kent to Dorset from their base at the Oak and Ivy Inn in Hawkhurst, but they used the Mermaid Inn as a secondary location. There are a myriad of secret tunnels, including one which ran from the cellars to the Old Bell Inn (built 1390) in The Mint, a street which runs parallel to the north of Mermaid Street. A revolving cupboard at the end of the tunnel in the Olde Bell would then be used by the gang for a quick getaway.]

A resident of Rye remembered the smugglers as; “when the Hawkhurst Gang were at the height of their pride and insolence having seen them (after successfully running a cargo of goods on the seashore), seated at the windows of this house (the Mermaid) carousing and smoking their pipes, with their loaded pistols lying on the table before them; no magistrate daring to interfere with them”.
Rest assured that you will have a peaceful night, but when you hear those floorboards creaking…

– En Suite with bath and hand held shower

– 24 hour Room Service and Porterage

– Television with full Freeview channels

– Beverage making facilities

– Hair dryer

– Bathroom products

– Breakfast: There is a wide selection for your breakfast choice.


There is a Continental Breakfast option or a Full English Breakfast, but you can try the Smoked Salmon with Scrambled Eggs.

Check-In:  2pm though rooms are available once they have been prepared.

Check-out:  11am

Make your stay even more special.

Please contact us and we will be happy to assist with;

• Champagne in your room
• Flowers in your room
• Chocolates in your room
• Arrange a pampering session


Call Reception on 01797 223065 or

Email: [email protected]

The Mermaid Inn offers a 15 space car park in the middle of the Rye Medieval Citadel. There are public car parking spaces close by.  Reception will be happy to provide further advice and help.