Tunbridge Wells Mini Guide
Why is the Town Called Royal Tunbridge Wells?
The town didn’t exist until the discovery that the Chalybeate Spring could cure a variety of ailments. Londoners came here to try the water and be cured and hotels and shops dedicated to the spending power of the rich sprang up. Beau Nash, the famous 18th century dandy, took it upon himself to promote the entertainments of the town until his death. The term ‘Royal’ was added in 1909 to acknowledge the visits of Royalty to the spa. Today, the town is a commuter centre for London
but still retains its old-fashioned air of elegance and gentility.
How can I get to Tunbridge Wells?
The closest airports are Gatwick
and London City
Airports from which it’s most sensible to take a train to the town although by car from Gatwick it’s a short trip up the M23 and along the M25. Trains from the South Eastern London termini stop here, the journey being generally under half an hour.
What Should I see in and Around Tunbridge Wells?
The main place most visitors head to is the Pantiles, now an upmarket colonnaded shopping arcade in the centre. A plaque at one end acknowledges the work of Beau Nash in promoting the healing qualities of the spring and the other delights of the town. Outside the town, a short distance away, is Lamberhurst vineyard. It used to make its own wine at the vineyard but now sends the harvest to a larger producer to make the wine. You can still walk through the vines and taste the products in the shop.
Nearby is the geological formation called High Rocks, a sandstone outcrop part of the High Weald. The walk there is picturesque and popular with dog owners. There’s also a small café/restaurant opposite the entrance for some well-deserved refreshment post exercise. Another good but longer walk can be enjoyed at Bewl Water, a reservoir about thirty minutes from the town.
Tunbridge Wells is an elegant town on the border of Kent and East Sussex. In the town you can walk the famous Pantiles, now an exclusive shopping area. The site of the original spring has a small museum showing pictures of the resort over the centuries together with its famous patron Beau Nash.
If you’ve hired a car, visit some of the vineyards nearby such as Lamberhurst where some of the UK’s best wine is made. Also on the outskirts of the town is the area known as High Rocks which has a short but picturesque walking trail.