Royal Tunbridge Wells
“Living in the large, affluent town of Royal Tunbridge Wells in west Kent isn’t cheap, but families get what they pay for with an abundance of quality schools, shops, restaurants and green spaces.”
Moving to Tunbridge Wells
Situated 40 miles from central London and in the heart of the stunning High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Tunbridge Wells has appealed to the rich, famous and well-to-do since the 18th Century.
This picturesque, historic town was originally a spa destination attracting tourists during the Restoration period and is now home to roughly 55,000 residents – the wider borough’s population is around 105,000 people. Though not the tourist hotspot it once was, Tunbridge Wells today is packed with schools and public parks for families. The low local crimes rates also appeal, while commuters can take a direct train to get into London in less than an hour.
Many people are also attracted by the quality of housing stock, the great state and private schools and the variety of mainstream and independent shops and restaurants. As for culture, Tunbridge Wells also has excellent choice of theatres, live music venues and annual festivals.
Naturally for a historic town, there is plenty of Georgian and Victorian architecture, most notably in the Pantiles and the Opera House pub itself, while there a good selection of Victorian housing stock. If you’re looking for the country life, the countryside of the Weald has plenty of walking, cycling and horse-riding.
House prices in Tunbridge Wells
It won’t come as a surprise that living in Tunbridge Wells isn’t cheap. However, with so many quality local amenities and so much to see and do on your doorstep, you do get what you pay for.
Tunbridge Wells is a commuter hotspot and hundreds travel into the capital every day. The rail station is on a Southeastern mainline railway between London Charing Cross and Hastings. Direct trains run at least every half hour and go to London Bridge, London Waterloo East, Sevenoaks and Tonbridge. It takes between 46 and 60 minutes to get to Charing Cross or Cannon Street. There are also connecting services to Gatwick Airport and Ashford International.
If you drive, Royal Tunbridge Wells sits at the point the A26 and A21 main roads meet. Both roads run between London and the South Coast. The town is also about 20 minutes away from the M20 and M25 motorways too.
There is also the Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells Bus Service Network, which operates from Tonbridge to Broadwater Down as well as Rusthall and Pembury.
Tunbridge Wells has abundance of local things to do, from the public parks to the cinema and theatre, while locals can be seen in the many coffee shops and pubs. Though popular with Londoners moving for the schools and looking for a change of pace in life (but not too much), it does however suffer from a lack of diversity.
The town itself essentially has two centres. The first is the High Street and between the station, which is packed with chain stores, cafes and bar. The second is down the hill in the colonnaded Pantiles, which provides chic independent shops with a more upmarket village feel.
Locals are spoilt for choice to eat out. In the Tunbridge Wells borough there are over 250 restaurants to choose from, with range of prices and cuisines to suit all tastes. There are chains such as Jamie’s Italian, Zizzi, Pizza Express, and Côte Brasserie. Otherwise, local highly-rated eateries include The Beacon for modern British food, family-run Italial Il Vesuvio, and Thackeray’s, serving Michelin-starred French cuisine.
For shopping, the High Street has branches of Whistles, Jack Wills, and White Company, as well as a range of independents. Shops like Boots, Gap, H&M, M&S, Next, and Topshop can be found in The Royal Victoria Place shopping centre. Coffee lovers have a range of cafés to choose from. There are plenty of chains from Costa to Pret a Manger, but for those who prefer their coffee independent, there is Fine Grind, The Black Dog and The Bicycle Bakery to name a few.
There are also a range of bars and pubs, from traditional pubs to modern bars, including Saint John’s Yard, Mount Edgecumbe, The Barn, Fuggles Beer Café, and The Compasses.
And if all that isn’t enough, there’s bowling at Hollywood Bowl in the town centre.
Locals have plenty of options for shopping to eat in. There is a twice monthly farmers market outside the Town Hall, while nearby there are major supermarkets including Asda, Tesco, and Sainsbury’s.
Health & Sport
Active residents are well provided for with the council-run Tunbridge Wells Sports Centre as well as chain gyms Fit4Less, Nuffield Health and PureGym. There are also a number of dedicated centres and studios for yoga and Pilates. And if you prefer games and sports, you can choose from two local golf clubs and a variety of sports clubs covering football, tennis, bowls and even fencing.
Tunbridge Wells has a range of arts and entertainment. From the Assembly Hall Theatre, The Trinity Theatre and The Forum combined provide a range of theatre, comedy, music and the fine arts, while the local Odeon multiplex shows blockbuster films. Furthermore, there’s also Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery and a variety of music and craft events throughout the year.
“Tunbridge Wells is surrounded by scenic countryside, but the town also benefits from having several public parks.”
Schools and Education
Tunbridge Wells has a wide variety of schools from pre-school up to college, such as state schools, free schools, academies, faith schools, and private schools.
The borough also has some of the best schools in Kent, with Ofsted rating most primary schools “good” or better. Claremont Primary School, St Peter’s Church of England, and St James’s Church of England Voluntary Aided Infant School are rated “outstanding”, as are The Skinners’ School for boys and Tunbridge Wells Girls’ Grammar.
With an average crime rate of 107 crimes per 1000, crime in Norwich is higher than the national average, although it is largely considered to be a safe, quiet city.
Tunbridge Wells is surrounded by scenic countryside, but the town also benefits from having several public parks. Grosvenor and Hilbert Recreation Ground is near the town centre and has a lake and a bowling green, while Calverley Grounds has a cafe, tennis court and croquet lawn. On the town’s outskirts is the Grade II listed Dunorlan Park, which is a large and attractive park with a boating lake and café.