Curated Kent: 10 reasons to visit Tunbridge Wells
1. It’s The Royal Choice
Celebrated for its rejuvenating spring water, Royal Tunbridge Wells has attracted royal families for centuries. The Chalybeate spring water and their health-giving properties were discovered in 1606 by Dudley Lord North and subsequently ‘taken’ by Queen Henrietta Maria (wife of King Charles I) and Queen Victoria. You can still sample the waters at the Chalybeate Spring situated on the famous walkway, The Pantiles.
2. For Family Fun In The Great Outdoors
Choose from exhilarating days cycling at Bewl Water, long leisurely walks around the 12 ½ mile reservoir or, for those who have a taste for adventure, Bewl Water offers activities such as sailing, canoeing and rowing. Alternatively you can take to the water on board the Bewl Belle.
3. Discover Medieval Woodlands and Castles
Explore the stunning High Weald – a medieval landscape of wooded, rolling hills studded with castles (Chiddingstone, Scotney and Hever Castles), sandstone outcrops and ancient route-ways.
4. Tread through Magical Forests and Famous Homes
Visit the country retreats of Charles Darwin and Winston Churchill, and explore Penshurt Place and the award-winning Groombridge Place. Brimming with literary romanticism, Groombridge was the location for Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and is said to have inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The Forest at Groombridge is designed by TV gardener and land artist Ivan Hicks and encapsulates the magical spirit conjured up by the books of JK Rowling and JRR Tolkien.
5. Step Back in Time
For history buffs, the Museum at Salomons Estate is the perfect place. The museum’s unique collection of paintings, photographs and mementos documents the history of the lives of Sir David Salomons, the first Jewish Lord Mayor of London, Sir David Lionel Salomons, a keen scientist and engineer and pioneer of road transport, and Captain David Reginald Salomons, whose tragic story was dramatised in the musical 'The Dreamers'. Salomons Estate also has stunning gardens to enchant the curious little ones and botanical lovers.
6. Stylish Shopping
Explore the elegant cobbled shopping streets of Tunbridge Wells, home to a fascinating and vast amount of independent and specialist shops.
The Old High Street has a wonderful range of designer clothes, fine jewellery and home furnishing stores or stroll along the famous Pantiles for exquisite galleries and cafes.
7. Great British Gardens
Find serenity in one of Tunbridge Wells’ many parks and gardens. Dunorlan Park boasts 78 acres and is the largest park in the town. It was designed by the great Victorian gardener, Robert Marnock, and can be explored on foot, bike or boat. Renowned for botanical beauty, Hole Park Gardens captivates visitors with seasonal displays of bluebells, tulips, roses and narcissus.
8. For Culture Vultures
Enrich your holiday with theatre, art and music with an annual programme of events, festivals and markets for the whole family.
For music-lovers a free, open-air Jazz festival, sponsored by One Warwick Park, is organised every Thursday evening throughout the summer, whilst The Assembly Hall Theatre and Trinity Theatre hosts classical music concerts, dance shows and comedy.
Tunbridge Wells is famous for its Ware collection, a form of decorative woodwork. Check out a dedicated exhibition at the Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art gallery.
9. For Gastronomes
With over 220 places to eat in Tunbridge Wells, the town is brimming with gourmet dining, award winning restaurants , tea-rooms and traditional British pubs.
10. Villages and Vineyards
With a number of quaint villages - Lamberhurst, Beneden, Biddenden and Sandhurst - within easy reach of the town, you’ll be spoilt for choice for afternoon trips.
Wine lovers can enjoy sparkling English wines and tours of vineyards at Biddenden and Sandhurst.