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The local area guide to living in Winchelsea

The ancient town of Winchelsea, on the south coast of East Sussex, is built on the bones of a medieval port village and embodies all the character therein. Founded in 1288 by King Edward I, the town consists of quaint stone and timber framed buildings in medieval grid style.

The entire village is a designated Conservation Area and has many Grade 1 and Grade 2 Listed buildings. Winchelsea retains several ruins of arched gates around the village, as well as wine cellars beneath it. The area is steeped in history, famous first as a naval base and then for wine trade from Gascony in the 13th century.

Two miles south-west of the town of Rye and seven miles north-east of Hastings, Winchelsea is full of character and boasts beautiful walks with views of the coast. The seaside village of Winchelsea Beach, lovely for year-round strolls, is a stone’s throw away, and Rye lies just across the River Brede.

Rye and Winchelsea are two of the five historical Cinque Ports and overlook the Romney Marsh and Brede Valley. Camber Sands and several other beaches are close by, and the surrounding countryside is largely managed by the National Trust.

Information about the local residents

Winchelsea falls within Eastern Rother, a ward of the Rother local authority, with a modest population of 2,627 as of 2011. Around 74% of the population is economically active, and the majority of those who are not are either retired or students.

The immediate village of Winchelsea consists of 278 houses and a population of 580 people. The top 3 occupations of residents are managers and senior officials, professional and associate professionals & technical. The neighbouring ward of Rye has similar figures.

There are a large number of clubs and societies in Winchelsea and residents are quite active in the community. There is a strong sense of security with an organised Neighbourhood Watch and Community Speed Watch.

There are clubs for bowls, cricket, dancing and tennis, and societies such as the Archaeological Society, Bonfire Boyes, Conservation Society, Garden Society, Literary Society and many others, including a significant number of church-based groups.

Nearby schools

The Local Education Authority for Rother is East Sussex County Council. In the Hastings-Winchelsea-Rye area, there are a good number of schools to choose from.

The popular St Thomas’s CofE is the immediate primary school in Winchelsea, with Rye Community and Icklesham CofE also nearby, and the nearest secondary school is Rye College.

Schools covering secondary through to sixth form include Ark Helenswood Academy and Ark William Parker Academy, a girls’ school and boys’ school respectively.

Getting around

There are slow roads in the immediate area, though the M20 is about a 30-minute drive away. By car Hastings is 15 minutes away, Ashford 30 minutes and Rye only about 3 minutes. The Channel tunnel is around 50 minutes away.

London St Pancras can be reached in just over 1 hour by train. Though there is a train station in the town with trains running every two hours, nearby Rye has more frequent services. Due to the town’s proximity to such locales, commuters are naturally attracted to the town.

The town is further served by bus. Buses run on two routes: Route 100 runs between Hastings and Rye and Route 344 runs between junction A259 and Winchelsea Beach.

Local shops

Though a small locality with only a pub or two, a post office, a couple of markets and the Court Hall in the main old village, Winchelsea does have a growing community with a variety of shops and businesses.

There is a local museum as well as the well-known underground Winchelsea Cellars. The area also benefits from the offerings of nearby Rye and Winchelsea Beach, which add to the dining options.

Further afield in Ashford, in the neighbouring county of Kent, dining and shopping venues are plentiful, including designer outlet stores and the Ashford Shopping Centre.

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact

All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith.

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