Residing in London has a multitude of plus points but having moved here from the rolling hills of Gloucestershire, it can sometimes start to feel a little claustrophobic.

The perfect antidote is a trip to the countryside and after hearing some great reports about Rye in East Sussex, that is where we decided to head.

As the main roads became country lanes and the multi-story buildings changed to thatched cottages I could already feel my tensions lifting and my stress-free status was confirmed when we pulled up outside the magnificent ivy covered Georgian mansion that is Flackley Ash Hotel.

News Shopper: Flackley Ash Hotel near Rye

Surrounded by beautiful countryside and woodland it offers the kind of peace and quiet you simply cannot find in larger towns and cities.

The hotel boasts a large dining room with garden views, including a secluded conservatory area perfect for a romantic meal for two. We ate here both nights as the menu offered a good range including several fish options as is befitting for the little harbour town.

The bedrooms are spacious and ours had a defined sleeping and sitting area with two large sash windows, which meant every day the room was filled with sunshine.

To ensure maximum relaxation on the trip, we also took advantage of the spa facilities. If exercise helps you blow away the cobwebs, there is the option of a fully-equipped gym, however I chose to get sweaty the easy way – lolling about in the hydro pool, a few lengths of the indoor swimming pool and a couple of visits to the sauna and steam room. Bliss.

News Shopper: Flackley Ash swimming pool

The hotel is situated on the outskirts of Rye but even so, it’s only a five minute drive to town. We decided to call a taxi for our first exploration and we were glad we did. There’s not a lot driver David Holland doesn’t know about Rye and we received a first class sight-seeing tour thrown in for the price of the cab fare.

We also tested the area’s bus service. There’s only one bus an hour but as long as you check what times they go, the journey is just as quick as a taxi but is much cheaper.

A long weekend just wasn’t long enough to explore every nook and cranny of the three tier town but we were able to check out lots of the historic features including the massive gates towards the bottom tier and the impressive Ypres Tower at the top. This is not known as 1066 Country for nothing you know.

News Shopper: Ypres Tower in Rye

Zig-zagging up and down the cobbled streets and lanes is the perfect way to idle away a day – particularly when making occasional pit stops in some of the charming public houses.

Following my winter break to this quaint part of the country, I will certainly be returning in the summer months to soak up the sunshine while sampling more of what this friendly little place has to offer.

Romantic breaks
To celebrate Valentine's Day, Flackley Ash Hotel is offering special two night packages throughout February. As well as the accommodation, packages include an evening meal and cooked/continental breakfast on both days, a complimentary bottle of Champagne, truffles and a rose in the bedroom and use of all leisure facilities.

Info: Address: Flackley Ash Hotel, Peasmarsh, Near Rye, East Sussex TN31 6YH
Tel: 01797 230651