Rye Scallop Festival, Rye, East Sussex

Rye Scallop Festival pays homage to the town’s renowned treasure of the sea. Established over 15 years ago, the festival attracts seafoodies to this historic town.

Fresh scallop in shell Rye Scallop Festival East Sussex

Fresh scallops are aplenty at Rye Scallop Festival held in this lovely East Sussex town every February

The ancient coastal town of Rye is famous for its quaint streets, delicious seafood and world-renowned lamb. Standing on top of a hill, it overlooks Rye Bay and Romney marsh where you’ll see the sheep grazing. Steeped in history, there are smugglers’ tunnels under the town directly linking the boats to the pubs. It is one of my favourite places in Britain especially if you treat yourself to a night at The George. The best time to visit is in February for Rye Bay Scallop Week when the town comes alive with sea shanties and the shucking of scallops.

The Foodie Travel Guide

  • Learn to cook scallops
  • Eat scallop dishes in Rye’s pubs and restaurants
  • Shop for local Sussex produce
  • Take a history tour of Rye
  • Go walking along Camber Sands

Feast on Rye Bay Scallops

The fortified hilltop town of Rye was once surrounded by the sea and although the salt marsh now separates it from the coast, fishing is still key to the local way of life. The scallops fished from the waters of Rye Bay have gained a worldwide reputation for their superior taste and quality. It’s the nutrient-rich water that bores up through the channel that gives them their distinct flavour. On a good day, local fisherman can bag up an impressive 6000 scallops a day. The scallop season runs from December through to May but it’s in February, during Rye Scallop Festival, that the town comes together to celebrate its famous mollusc.

Rye Castle with Tower in East Sussex

Rye Castle also known as Ypres Tower was built in 1249

Wooden posts on Camber Sands Beach near Rye East Sussex

Camber Sands Beach near Rye is great for walks

Rye Scallop Festival

Like Whitstable Oyster Festival in neighbouring Kent, Rye Bay Scallop Festival runs over the course of a week. Restaurants throughout the town serve a variety of scallop dishes and there are plenty of scallop-themed events. At a pop-up Scallop School, you can have a go at shucking and preparing dishes such as carpaccio of scallop, scallop ceviche and pan-fried pork belly with scallops. In Rye’s historic pubs and inns, special scallop suppers come with sea shanties and songs of the sea.

Fresh Lobster

Rye town is full of old world charm and character

Timbered houses on Mermaid Street Rye East Sussex

Rye’s famous Mermaid Street

Explore the Historic Town of Rye

Guided walks are also included in the programme for Rye Scallop Week. Join a Rye History Walk to explore Rye’s fabulous streets and admire its amazing buildings. Take the Camber Castle Wildlife Walk and you’ll spot waders, and possibly bittern and marsh harrier.


  • Shop for local produce at Rye Farmers’ Market which takes place on Wednesdays
  • Visit Knoops Chocolate Cafe for 70 different combinations of dark, milk and white chocolate
  • Buy a piece of Rye Pottery, a traditional family run business (the stripey bowls are great)
  • Go for a pint in the Mermaid Inn, one of Britain’s most haunted pubs and if you’re brave, check in for the night
  • Do the Chapel Down Vineyard tour followed by lunch in the Swan restaurant
  • Visit Sarah Raven’s Garden and Shop at Perch Hill (Open Days and Course days only)

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Where to Stay in Rye 

Restaurant at The George Hotel in Rye East Sussex

The George in Rye

Rye, East Sussex

Historic and very stylish boutique hotel located in the centre of Rye town.

Rooms from £110 a night.


Dogs friendly days out for foodies in Britain

This is a fabulous trip to take me on. There are beautiful walks in the area and you could take me to The White Dog in nearby Robertsbridge for a pint.

Mr Hendricks

How to Find Rye Scallop Festival 


Rye Scallop Festival, Rye, East Sussex TN31 7JT

The Foodie Travel Guide

The Foodie Travel Guide

Sally is the founder and editor of The Foodie Travel Guide. She travels around the UK and beyond in search of the best foodie days out, tasting experiences and delicious places to stay. She loves a glass of English sparkling wine, afternoon tea with friends and escaping London for gastronomic adventures.