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Knelle Dower Studio, Rye B&B

Get solitude, starry skies and breakfast in a heritage cottage at spacious Knelle Dower Studio at Nothiam near Rye.

I don’t think I’ve ever before seen so many stars in the night sky over the UK as I did the night I checked into Rye B&B  Knelle Dower.

This charming stand-alone B&B studio room is actually at Nothiam, just outside Rye and was a Muddy Awards runner up in 2016. It sits with a field on one side and a lawn on the other. A path between pine trees winds down to the thatched 15th century cottage of owner Bettina, which is the charming setting for an AGA-made breakfast in the morning.

The studio is a double bed-sitting room (which can be configured as twins) with a large wardrobe, settee, coffee table  TV, DVD player, iPod dock and radio.

The ensuite bathroom includes a heated towel rail complete with fluffy towels and quality toiletries, while the kitchenette has a kettle, Nespresso machine, fridge, sink and worktop where you can prepare picnic food. Free wifi and parking right outside are other big ticks.

There are robes and slippers and even a brolly thoughtfully provided, plus a chess set books and DVDs should you wish to hole up for the weekend. Bettina has also left some welcome biscuits and chocolate.

There’s plenty of room for a travel cot (you’d need to bring your own) or Bettina can provide a put-me-up bed for an older child though it’s not a fully functioning family room. Unfortunately dogs aren’t allowed because she has her own pooch and free range chickens.

Outside, a deck area with a couple of chairs is perfect for sundowners, or wrapping up to gaze at those fabulous stars.


Though it’s just off a major road (a bit tricky to find so get directions about where to turn) It’s a lovely quiet spot. Through the lattice window of Bettina’s low-beamed kitchen I spied a pheasant pecking round the bird table while I tucked into my own breakfast. With sausages, eggs from Bettina’s hens, mushrooms, tomato and toast in front of me and I made only a tiny dent in the rest of the spread on the table of pastries, cereal, preserves, Kent honey, fresh fruit, yoghurts and juices.

Feel like working it off? Bettina will even let you use her tennis court on request.

In the area

Bettina is a mine of information on what to do in the local area and provides plenty of handy leaflets and maps.

Rye with its charming cobbled streets, boutiques and impressive view from its 12th century church tower, is the main draw, about 15 minutes away. I had something to eat then saw a film at the lovely Kino cinema, converted in recent times from an old school. Check out also retro Edith’s House – a café modelled on the owner’s granny’s home, and which serves up knockout cake.

Camber Sands are a little further on – perfect for a bracing walk, or full-on sun bathing in the summer. The Gallivant here, just opposite the sands, is a great place for lunch or dinner.

Kent and East Sussex railway steam trains stop at Northiam Station. Bodiam Castle Sissinghurst Castle Garden and Bewl Water are also close to Knelle Dower, while Hastings and Battle are an easy day trip.

The damage?

The studio costs £110 per night solo occupancy or £120 for couples including breakfast and it’s a minimum two nights stay. Bettina also sometimes runs offers with free tickets for nearby gardens.

The shooting star I saw as I returned to studio was a complimentary extra!


Knelle Dower Studio, Rye Road, Northiam, East Sussex TN31 6NJ, 01797 253163​,


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