Memorable seafood dishes in historic smugglers’ inn
At a glance
AA Pick of the Pubs
Open all year
The atmosphere of the smugglers’ inn remains at the Mermaid, which is one of the most famous and photographed of England’s ancient pubs. This venerable black and white timber-fronted building was a haunt of seafarers from the Cinque Port harbour. Its colourful history is reflected in ships’ timbers for beams, a vast inglenook where the infamous Hawkshurst gang warmed themselves, a hidden priest hole, and huge open fireplaces carved from French stone ballast dredged from Rye harbour. British and French-style food is served in the bar, restaurant and under sunshades on the patio. Perhaps choose local mussels, beetroot, apple and ginger risotto; followed by south coast cod in beer batter; traditional steak and kidney pudding; or the sea food platter. Superb wines, local Harvey’s beer and comfortable bedrooms complete the package.