The Gallivant – an English Seaside Hideaway

May 20, 15 The Gallivant – an English Seaside Hideaway

Through the dunes to the sea – All images in this post courtesy, The Gallivant

I’ve always loved to visit the seaside. As a kid growing up in Central California, we would often take road trips to the beach and stay overnight in little seaside hotels. The Gallivant just outside Rye in Sussex aims to capture that easy going California vibe – and I think they are quite successful at doing that.

gallivant__MG_0155Situated across from sand dunes so big that you can’t see the long sandy beach on the other side, The Gallivant is a little coastal hideaway on a two lane road that runs past the dunes. The single storey building has been around for 25 years and started out as a beach side café. Roughly 5 years ago, Harry Cragoe bought the hotel and has transformed its into the lovely boutique property it is today.

gallivant__MG_0004They like to refer to it as ‘a restaurant with rooms’ and the restaurant and terrace are a focal point of the hotel. It’s all very cosy, comfy with a sky blue and white colour motif running throughout the hotel. The rooms are a good size with plenty of lovely little touches like old fashioned black telephones, canvas beach bags and very fluffy bathrobes.

gallivant__MG_9882I especially liked the ‘Larder’, rather then have a mini-bar in every room there is a large pantry at one end of the hallway that is stocked with artisanal snacks, soft drinks and wine. It’s all done on the honour system, you just write down what you’ve taken and hand in the chit at the end of your stay. I think having it at the end of the hallway is genius – less temptation and all that….


Love this at breakfast – The Recovery Station

The hotel focuses on offering outstanding products in a relaxed but thoughtful atmosphere. One of their main USP’s is that fact that they strive to provide local, seasonal, high quality produce – 95% of all the ingredients used come from within a 10 mile radius. I love the fact that everything is fresh and seasonal. While I was there, I had a spring lamb tartare – it was very tasty, though I did have a twinge of guilt thinking about all the little lambs I had passed on the way to the hotel. But as my taxi driver told me, if it hadn’t been for the rediscovery of spring lamb by foodies, the region wouldn’t be enjoying as much success as it is. As he said, ‘Don’t feel guilty, we need you to eat those lambs! ‘ C’est la vie…


beach bag in the room

One of the big draws for me was the all English sparkling wine list that the hotel has in addition to the regular wine list. As Ben Buckley, the Food and Beverage Manager told me, it is the largest list of it’s kind in the world. I suppose it’s not too hard to do but still – kudos to Ben for putting it together. He likes to call his list the ‘Exclusively English Effervescence’. All the sparkling wines again come from within 10 miles, thanks to the now booming English wine industry, Ben has over 23 different wines from local producers, some of whom include such well known wineries as Bolney, Nyetimber, Ridgeview and Gusbourne. The wines are also all reasonably priced with the most expensive one topping out at £80 and quite a few available for between £40 – £50 a bottle.



Speaking of Gusbourne, the hotel offers gourmet dinners on a regular basis and the next one, on the 23rd June will be featuring the sparkling wines of Gusbourne. The wines will be paired with a 5 course dinner prepared by Head Chef, Danny Perjesi. Following that dinner the next one will be Chateau Musar from Lebanon on 22nd September. Details are here.

I often forget what lovely places there are here in England. The surrounding countryside and the ancient town of Rye would make a great weekend getaway from London. The best part is that it’s only a hour and half by train to Rye from London St. Pancras and then a short taxi ride to The Gallivant.

I was hosted by the Gallivant for my overnight stay.

Photo by The Winesleuth

except this image, photo by The Winesleuth





  1. I love the idea of the larder and the recovery station!Wow you had a fabulous stay in Rye. Rx

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