Tunbridge Wells Area Guide

Are you thinking about buying or renting a home in Tunbridge Wells, Kent? An historic town on the Kent, East Sussex borders, Tunbridge Wells is just over 40 miles from central London, which makes it ideal for young professionals and commuters. During the Restoration period that began in 1660, Tunbridge Wells became a fashionable spa town. An industry in wood marquetry called Tunbridgeware, was created for visitors to take home as souvenirs. These items are now very collectable. Today, the area remains popular with its inhabitants and visitors because of its relaxed, historic charm, architecture by Decimus Burton and abundant restaurants, cafes, pubs and green spaces. King Edward VII officially recognised the popularity of Tunbridge Wells with its many royal and aristocratic visitors (including his mother Queen Victoria) over the centuries, by granting the town its “Royal” prefix. In 1909 the town became known, as it is to this day, as Royal Tunbridge Wells, one of only a few towns in England to be granted this title. So, do you think you would be happy to call Tunbridge Wells your home town? Read our guide to find out more..

Are there local transport links nearby?

Tunbridge Wells station is centrally located with High Brooms Station located to the northern side of the town. Both provide great transport links into central London and the coast. For example, the train from Tunbridge Wells to London Charing Cross takes around an hour, also stopping at London Bridge and Waterloo East. The area is well served by a regular bus service, which provides local and rural services to Tonbridge, Paddock Wood and Sevenoaks, as well as express services to locations such as Bromley, Maidstone & Brighton. The town also has its local hopper bus service covering the main town area with buses every 12 minutes.

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What's the local food and drink scene like?

With a vast number of places to eat, the food and drink scene is thriving in Tunbridge Wells. The town’s restaurants provide a wide variety of international and English cuisine, including Nepalese, Bangladeshi, Spanish, Chines, Japanese, Italian, Thai, Turkish, and French. There are also a number of top-class seafood restaurants in the area, including the popular Thackerays run by celebrity chef Richard Philips & Sankeys Seafood Brasserie on Mount Ephraim and The Old Fish Market on The Pantiles. In addition to the range of independent eateries there is a strong presence of established chains including Bills, Wagamamas, Ask, Prezzo and Pizza Express.

If you’re looking for a great place to grab a drink, then Tunbridge Wells spoils you for choice. There are great gastro pubs like The Black Pig and more traditional pubs like The Ragged Trousers, Beau Nash, Grove Tavern, Trading Post, St. Johns Yard and The Compasses (the oldest pub in Tunbridge Wells) to name but a few, along with Fuggles Beer Café. However you like to enjoy a drink, there’s somewhere for you.

How does Tunbridge Wells rate for sport and leisure facilities?

If you like to keep active, there are plenty of sports and leisure facilities in Tunbridge Wells to choose from. Tunbridge Wells Sports Centre, for example, has over 100 exercise stations and a huge gym equipped with all the best fitness apparatus. The centre also has a swimming pool, an indoor five-a-side football pitch, group exercise programmes and many more sporting activities that will get the blood pumping. There are also a number of private gyms, including Pure Gym, Energie Fitness, The Underground Gym, Oakley Fitness, Nuffield Health and Halo Gym.

There are several golf clubs in the surrounding area, including Tunbridge Wells Golf Club and Nevill Golf Club. Or, if you like riding horses, Honnington Equestrian Centre in Southborough, just over three miles from Tunbridge Wells, provides some of the finest equestrian facilities in the county.

What can you do on a sunny day?

Tunbridge Wells contains green spaces that range from woodland areas to maintained grounds and parks. If you like to enjoy a picnic on a sunny day, the open areas provided by the Tunbridge Wells, Rusthall and Southborough Commons present excellent spots to do so. Within the town are Calverley Grounds, The Grove and St. Johns Park.

Dunorlan Park, which used to be the garden of a now demolished mansion owned by the millionaire Henry Reed, is always worth a visit for the boating lake, café and ice creams. Alternatively, you could pay a visit to Grosvenor Recreation Ground & Hilbert recreation ground where there is a bowls club, a cafe and a children's play area.

What can you do on a rainy day?

If the rain clouds gather over Tunbridge Wells, there is no need to worry, because the town still offers plenty in the way of things to do. Tunbridge Wells Museum & Art Gallery houses a range of exhibitions to excite and educate. The town is also home to Fentons Rink – England’s only dedicated ice curling rink. Or, alternatively, you could enjoy a game of ten-pin bowling at Bowlplex. The Odeon Cinema complex offers 9 screens!

What's Tunbridge Wells like for food and retail shopping?

The Royal Victoria Place is an award-winning shopping centre with well-known high street stores all under one roof – including Fenwicks, Boots, Next, Gap and Marks & Spencer.

Tunbridge Wells old High Street also boasts a wide variety of independent shops in a beautiful and historic setting. So whether you’re looking to shop at small boutiques or big high street names, the town will be able to cater for your retail needs.

The town also hosts a local farmers market on the second and fourth Saturday of every month. Held in the market square of Royal Victoria Place, the market sells a variety of fantastic local produce. In addition, Tunbridge Wells has an Asda, Sainsburys, Marks & Spencer and Tesco stores.

What does Tunbridge Wells offer in terms of entertainment?

The Forum in Tunbridge Wells is a 250-capacity live music venue that hosts a diverse range of bands and singers, whilst The Assembly Hall offers a huge range of shows, including live music, comedians and musicals. Trinity Theatre, located in a converted Grade A listed church by the noted architect Decimus Burton, hosts a varied programme of art exhibitions, theatre, films, dance and music productions. In addition, The Grey Lady Music Lounge provides the opportunity to sample jazz and blues in a unique setting and atmosphere, which befits the music being played. Seasonal events include Jazz on the Pantiles in the summer, and the addition of an Ice rink on Calverley Grounds in December. Tunbridge Wells is the home of the Spa Valley Steam Railway.

Are there decent local amenities such as libraries and health centres?

Tunbridge Wells Library & Museum is open seven days a week and includes a decent range of adult and children’s literature, clubs and activities, as well as computer and internet access.

Tunbridge Wells residents also have the choice of several health care centres, including Tunbridge Wells Hospital, Spire and Nuffield private hospitals.

What's the local traffic and parking like?

There are several car parks in Tunbridge Wells – ranging from free car parks to short-stay and pay-and-display car parks. Additional on-street parking is available, however to park in many residential areas you will need to purchase a permit from the local council.

How well is the area served by Primary and Secondary schools?

The area’s Primary schools are wide-ranging, many of which have set catchment areas and can be very competitive.

Tunbridge Wells straddles the county boundary with East Sussex and retains both Grammar schools and Comprehensive Secondary schools as well as both Church of England and Catholic Secondary schools.

To find out more about buying a property in Tunbridge Wells, call or visit the local Andrews branch 

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