Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells, that prolific writer of letters addressed to the editor, was at pains to point out that, despite not having a Waitrose and having recently lost its branch of John Lewis, it was nevertheless a town worth visiting.
Taking Disgusted at his or her words, we set off to check out Royal Tunbridge Wells. What we found, was a delightful historic spa town in an area of outstanding natural beauty.
We found a bountiful supply of walks, bike rides, historic houses, gardens and boutique shopping. Restaurants were good and wine bars where in abundance and the town even boasts two theatres, each producing a healthy batch of ever-changing entertainment.
Royal Tunbridge Wells is the town itself whilst it’s surrounding borough is called Tunbridge Wells. Disgusted was quite, ….. well…. disgusted, that we got that bit wrong, but now we all know!
There is a lot to do hereabouts from visiting vineyards the likes of Hush Heath to Castles like Scotney and Sissinghurst. There is Go Ape at Benchbery and even a sailing school at Bewl Water.
And now there is another new reason to visit this wonderful town – the Amelia Scott. The Amelia is an integrated service facility housing a range of arts heritage, culture and well-being services that is opening on the 28th of April – with a full programme of cultural events and activities, you won’t be short of things to do. To mark and celebrate the opening the first Royal Tunbridge Wells Literary Festival has been announced and will take place from 29t April to 2nd May.
You can’t do all of this in a day and, if you don’t have a campervan like we do, then why not book a room at the Tunbridge Wells Hotel slap bang in the middle of the Pantiles which lies at the very centre of Royal Tunbridge Wells? Even if you don’t stay there, be sure to stop by and take lunch or dinner, the food is quite simply wonderful.
You do not have to move very far from the Pantiles to find equally good food. Sankeys for a fishy lunch or Ragged Trousers for a slap at romantic dinner. If you did bring your campervan and fancy cooking up a storm inside your galley but forgot the wok then a trip to Trevor Mottram the kitchen stop shop also in the Pantilles is well worth a visit.
Disgusted was at great pains to suggest we visit the Bicycle Bakery where, as instructed, we purchased what they call a Cruffin which is a hybrid cross between a croissant and an American muffin.
The cruffin might have been invented in Australia but closer to home this version is truly delicious. From freshly baked bread to cinnamon buns and lemon meringue pies, The Bicycle Bakery on Camden Road serves up a tantalising selection of baked goods.
Royal Tunbridge Wells also has its own gin distillery that produces two rather nice gins that are well worth trying. Disgusted dragged me into Geography a delightfully cosy wine bar on the high street that has an almost speakeasy feel about it. There, owners Fleur and Aubrey poured me a massive shot of Pipehouse Earl Grey and Cucumber and by golly, was that a good description of a harmonious if unexpected matching of gin flavourings that was delicious without being syrupy sweet.
Drinks followed by dinner, and then play at the theatre put an end to a splendid day.
“So what do you think of Royal Tunbridge Wells?” asked Disgusted. We answered, “We are far, far from being disgusted, in fact we loved it so much, we propose visiting Royal Tunbridge Wells again, rather soon”