Since the discovery of the Chalybeate Spring in 1606, people have flocked to the leafy spa town of Royal Tunbridge Wells, located just 30 miles South East of London.
Today 56,500 residents call Tunbridge Wells home and it is easy to see why they choose to live here. Here we hope to highlight why living in Tunbridge Wells is so quite so wonderful and the many reasons you might choose to move to this part of Kent.
A brief history
In the late 1600s The Church of King Charles The Martyr was founded and nearby, buildings took shape along ‘The Walks’, now known as The Pantiles. In time, communities were established on three hills that remain today – Mount Ephraim, Mount Sion and Mount Pleasant.
Through the 19th Century, Tunbridge Wells became a fashionable resort which Queen Victoria loved to visit, and in recognition of this, her son Edward VI gave the town its Royal status in 1909.
Tunbridge Wells is filled with stunning architecture to admire. Examples of Decimus Burton’s fine sandstone houses can be found on Calverley Park, as well as in various public buildings across town, including the Grade II Listed Hotel Du Vin.
The Opera House, built in 1902, is an imposing building which has been put to a variety of uses since being restored after WWII. Another building of note is the former Congregational Church dating from 1848, reminiscent of Rome’s Pantheon with its imposing columns at the entrance.
Why move to Royal Tunbridge Wells?
For a range of reasons many choose to put down roots in Tunbridge Wells. It is a comfortable commute into London, has an abundance of fantastic local schools, is surrounded by wonderful countryside and is within easy reach of both the coast and Gatwick and Heathrow airports.
For the sports enthusiast, there are well-respected rugby, cricket, football, tennis and golf clubs as well as a leisure centre and several gyms. You can take classes to learn everything from dry skiing to dancing, and Tunbridge Wells is uniquely the only place in the UK to have its own dedicated curling rink.
If you enjoy the great outdoors, there are plenty of green spaces to explore. Calverley Grounds in the centre is a formal park hosting events through the year including music festivals and the Christmas Ice Skating Rink. Nearby The Grove is a small, pretty park with mature trees, popular with families living in the adjoining ‘village area’.
Tranquil Dunorlan Park boasts a boating lake and café, and Tunbridge Wells Common is a dog walker’s paradise, linking up with Rusthall Common to form 250 acres of woodland and open spaces. This is a hilly town – to the anguish of those of us who enjoy cycling and running! However, the benefit is the spectacular – far reaching views. Head to Happy Valley for an unrivalled vista across Broadwater Forest towards Groombridge. The town is also known for its numerous sandstone outcrops – Wellington Rocks, Toad Rock and High Rocks being the most famous.
Tunbridge Wells property
People who move to Tunbridge Wells tend to stay. They might upsize from a town centre flat into a Victorian terrace, then an Edwardian or 1930’s semi-detached house, before settling into a detached family home, but they rarely leave. From the detached house, many downsize into a luxury apartment – of which there are a lot to choose from in Tunbridge Wells.
Some of the most desirable homes in Tunbridge Wells are the Georgian manor houses in one of the four parks – Hungershall Park, Camden Park, Calverley Park or Nevill Park – these private roads offer privacy, space and beautiful architecture; all within a short walk of the town centre.
Schools in Royal Tunbridge Wells
Schooling is one of the main reasons people come to this area. Whatever ambitions you have for your child there will be a suitable school nearby.
The primary state schools in town all currently have good or outstanding Ofsted ratings, there are girls’ and boys’ grammar schools located centrally, a wide choice of independent secondary schools and highly-regarded preparatory schools including Holmewood House, Rose Hill and The Mead. For secondary private education, options include Beechwood Sacred Heart, Tonbridge school and Sevenoaks school.
What’s it like to live in Tunbridge Wells
Royal Tunbridge Wells is a town that has something for everyone, it really is a wonderful place to live.
For shopping, The Pantiles and the old High Street offer a collection of galleries, boutique shops and coffee shops. Venture north to Mount Pleasant and the Victoria Centre for high street shopping, and Camden Road offers an eclectic mix of quirky shops and eateries.
At night Tunbridge Wells is lively with a great selection of wine bars, traditional pubs and restaurants. There are two theatres, live music venues and nightclubs in the town centre, and a 9-screen cinema and bowling alley on the Knights Park leisure complex.
When it comes to medical care, Tunbridge Wells NHS Hospital was built in 2011 and is a large district general hospital with an A&E department and over 500 beds, every in-patient having their own room with ensuite facilities. The town also has a number of GP practices, private hospitals and nursing homes.
Tunbridge Wells is also well connected by rail and can be reached by train in 47 minutes from London Charing Cross & Cannon Street, via Waterloo East & London Bridge.
Kent property finders
If you’re planning on buying a property in Tunbridge Wells but are struggling to find the perfect location or ideal home once you’ve decided which part of the town you’d like to live in, our local experts could be a great help.