The Mermaid Inn: Are You Brave Enough To Stay?


Subscribe to get Spooky Isles' free newsletter in your inbox every Friday!

The Mermaid Inn in Rye, Sussex, is more than 860 years old, and so has more than a few hauntings in its tale, wries RICK HALE

The Mermaid Inn in Rye is a perfect place to stay if you're looking for an ancient haunted hotel
The Mermaid Inn in Rye is a perfect place to stay if you’re looking for an ancient haunted hotel

Mermaid Inn

Mermaid St, Rye TN31 7EY

For many years The Mermaid Inn in Rye, East Sussex has been known as a haunted hotspot in this South-Eastern English town.

Numerous researchers and investigators believe that it’s many active spirits are directly related to its turbulent history of violent smuggler gangs.

Let’s take a look at the hauntings that have made this hotel so famous.

A History Of Lawlessness at Mermaid Inn

The Mermaid Inn is a Grade II historical Inn situated along Mermaid Street.

It’s believed the Inn is one of the oldest continuously operating hotels in England, having been established in the 12th century.

The current building dates to 1420 with Tudor additions made in the 16th century.

The Mermaid Inn stayed relatively quiet until the infamous Hawkhurst gang of smugglers seized it and used it as a stronghold in the 1730s.

This gang of notorious smugglers had a nasty proclivity for violence and didn’t care who their victim was.

During this time, the simple act of walking down Mermaid Street was considered a foolish venture.

For those foolhardy enough it meant taking your own life in your hands. You ran the risk of being kidnapped and forced into labour. Or killed outright.

Many Ghosts. Many Haunted Rooms.

Perhaps this history of violence is why the Mermaid Inn is so haunted.

To say the Mermaid Inn is haunted would be the understatement of the century, as several rooms have a ghost or strange supernatural activity.

Since there are so many haunted rooms for the courageous lodger to experience the inexplicable, we’ll examine each room separately.

A grey lady has been seen in Room 1, the James Room, quietly sitting in a chair gazing into the fireplace.

Whomever this phantom is, she does not appear to be aware she is being watched.

The spirit of Room 10, Fleur de Lys, has a reputation for being somewhat more frightening.

Several guests have watched as a rough-looking man with a sinister scowl walks through the bathroom wall into the main room.

He is said to promptly vanish, leaving in his wake a feeling of dread and anger.

Something wholly peculiar has been witnessed in room 16, otherwise known as The Elizabethan Room.

Two men dressed in 16th garb have been seen locked in what could only be described as a duel to the death.

Swords are heard clashing in the room right before one of the men is run through by his fierce opponent’s blade.

The victor then drags the dead man’s body into an adjacent room and tosses it down a trapdoor that leads to the dungeon.

The ghost of a chambermaid has also been witnessed in the room going about her daily chores.

The ghost of the wife of George Gray, founder of the Hawkhurst Gang, is believed to haunt room 17, Kingsmill Room.

She has woken up many guests in the middle of the night rocking in a chair.

The disturbance became so unnerving, the owner removed the chair hoping that would end the appearance of the phantom.

Unfortunately, this has not stopped her from waking people up while standing at the foot of the bed.

Lastly, the spirit of a noble-looking gentleman has been encountered in room 19, The Hawkhurst.

Guest so frightened, he had to sleep in another room!

One guest, an American, was so terrified when she woke up to see the gentleman sitting on her bed, she slept the rest of the night in an adjoining room.

When she was discovered by the hotel staff, she had the covers firmly pulled up over her head and when she told her story she was shaking like a leaf.

In 2002, the cast of the wildly popular TV show, Most Haunted paid a visit to the Mermaid Inn and experienced the paranormal activity that has made this hotel so famous.

The Mermaid Inn in Rye, East Sussex is a charming hotel to spend the night in. You are instantly transported back in time to old England and it’s turbulent seafaring past.

And as always, we invite you to tell us your ghostly tale in the comments.

Tell us in the comments section if you’ve stayed at the Mermaid Inn!

Previous articleMary Shelley And The Birth of Frankenstein
Next articleIreland’s 5 Strangest Murders
Rick Hale
Rick Hale, is a native of Chicago, Illinois and first became interested in the paranormal after having a positive interaction with an apparition at a young age. Rick is the author of The Geek's Guide To The Strange and Unusual: Poltergeists, Ghosts and Demons. Behold! Shocking True Tales of Terror...and Some Other Spooky Stuff. And Bullets, Booze and Babes: The Haunted History of Chicago and Illinois. Rick is the co-host of The Shadow Initiative Paranormal Talk. Rick was featured in the documentary Ghost Tapes 2. Rick is a featured writer for Spooky Isles and Rick has also been published by Haunted Times, Paranormal Underground, The Supernatural Magazine and Legends Magazine.


  1. I had a night at the Mermaid inn this weekend with my girlfriend. Room 30.
    We were not really believers of ghosts stories, but around 3h30 am, my girlriend was awake by her smartphone’s vibration and when she open his eyes, she seen a woman seating next to the bed.
    She awake me to tell me. For sure, I believe her. She is not the kind of person who joke with this, and I know by her reaction that it’s true.
    We stay in the bed and speak slowly as we were hoping it happen again, but the woman never came back.
    But as we were looking trough darkness, we seen some kind of ‘lights and shadows”. Not easy to describe.
    It was really really Strange. Not truelly terrifying, but weird and disturbing…
    We also heard a woman’s scream. A brief scream, you know, just like if someone kill her.
    It sounded like if it happen in a room upstairs, but there was no rooms upstair.
    We were really exhausted when we stay there, so after maybe one hour, we fell asleeps again and wake up at 9.
    We are disturbing about this experience so I made some search on the web and find this blog.
    I post our story here, maybe someone had a similar experience….
    Strangely, I never seen any story from room 30….

  2. Hello my partner and I are due to stay in the mermaids inn on the 6th June. We are hoping that we get some activity and will let you know how it went. We are both so excited to stay there!

  3. Hey,
    I stayed with my partner at the Mermaid a few weeks ago. We stayed in room 34, seen nothing about this particular room however the first night I awoke frozen at 02:00 to what I could only describe as a bright saturated colour rainbow style burst of orbs on the beams on the ceiling. I felt unnerved and did not sleep until around 04:00 when it started to get light. (I had the side light on also) This didn’t happen the second night I am pleased to say, however, upon reviewing numerous photographs we took over the break (including the long beam corridor) there are orbs picked up here right on and next to me. Also took a photo of the room as a small light orb is on the ceiling, I’ve just noticed this, hence searching and came across this forum.
    All in all, a wonderful stay in a beautiful building with attentive staff, I have no doubt about the activity here, can’t wait to return in coming weeks (yet equally nervous too!) I wonder if our room was near Tom’s as mentioned above, as there certainly seems to be some sort of vive or something here for sure. I haven’t felt like this elsewhere.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here