Tunbridge Wells was founded in the 17th century following the discovery of the Chalybeate Spring in 1606. The waters from the spring were said to have restorative properties, and so Tunbridge Wells grew into a thriving spa resort town. Queen Victoria regularly travelled down from London to "take the waters", and in 1909 King Edward VII officially granted the town its "Royal" prefix (although this is rarely used by the inhabitants any more).
Tunbridge Wells station is situated very near the centre of town. It is on the Main Kent Coast Line, which runs from London Charing Cross to Hastings. London is between 40 and 55 minutes away, depending on whether the train is direct or a stopper service. Tickets cost about £14.
Tonbridge is the main train station in West Kent; any destination other than those on the London-Hastings mainline will require a change here. It is 10 minutes by train from Tunbridge Wells.
Fare and timetable information is available from Southeastern Railway, tel. 0871 200 49 50.
The centre of Tunbridge Wells is fairly small, and can easily be travelled on foot. As with most other towns in England, the town is well serviced by buses and taxis.
By Car Hire
- U4 Vehicle hire  +44 1892 520273
Arriva is the bus company that (mainly) operates in Tunbridge Wells. Timetables and fares are available on their website. Buy your ticket from the driver when you board the bus.
The main taxi rank is at the train station, although you can order a taxi by telephone to pick you up from anywhere.
- County Cars - +44 1892 541666
- Crown Cars - +44 1732 368111
- Starline Taxis - +44 1892 531191
- MS Executive Chauffeurs  - +44 1892 513042 or 0800 980 7252
- Kent Chauffeurs http://www.kent-chauffeur.co.uk/
- Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery, Civic Way, tel: +44 1892 554171, e-mail: email@example.com, . Open M-Sa, 9.30-17.00 (closed bank holidays and Easter Saturday). From Victorian oil paintings and archaeology to historic fashions and toys. Admission free.
- Walk along The Pantiles, the oldest part of the town, and sample the waters from the Chalybeate Spring (open daily from Easter to September)
- Take a walk in the High Rocks, impressive sandstone outcrops linked by eleven bridges that provide scenic walks in acres of peaceful woodland
- Go swimming, play tennis or have a game of squash at Tunbridge Wells Sports Centre, St Johns Road, tel: +44 1892 540744, .
- Ride the Spa Valley Railway from Tunbridge Wells to Groombridge, Tel: +44 1892 537715. Carefully restored steam trains operate through 3.5 miles of glorious countryside. Call at High Rocks. Operates from Late March to End October plus December. Standard Admission (return travel): Adult £5.00, Child & Over 60s £4.00. Family & joint tickets with Groombridge Place also available. http://www.spavalleyrailway.co.uk
- Visit the Salomons Museum, . Admission: Free!
- Penshurst place gardens, . Very near tunbridge wells, tonbridge is not as upmarket but houses this stunning ancestral home with gardens. Feedback welcome here.
- Tunbridge Wells is a shoppers paradise if you like designer clothes in a mellow setting with oodles of history. A long wait at Pizza Express and Carluccios - booking imperative.
The main shopping area of the town is centred around the Royal Victoria Place shopping centre, although there are shops throughout the town centre, with more independent shops located in and around the High Street.
All the major fast food chains are represented, mostly in the town centre, and the Royal Victoria Place shopping mall has a fairly large food court, although it is generally noisy and crowded.
Apart from some in Camden Road, most restaurants can be found in the centre, on Mount Pleasant and in the High Street area. There are also many pubs in and around Tunbridge Wells that offer good food.
Specific restaurants (cost assumes starter, main course, one drink, tip):
- Hotel du Vin, Crescent Road, TN1 2LY, tel +44 1892 526455. . A bistro in the middle of town, near the town hall, that offers excellent food and a wide selection of wines. £~40.
- Wagamama, Mount Pleasant Road, . One of the Japanese noodle bar chain restaurants. Quite affordable. £~14.
- Masala The Indian Restaurant, just one of the Indians in the town, tel +44 1892 616700. Authentic Indian restaurant at the hart of The Pentiles.Restaurant| Take Away| Lounge Bar| Party Bookings. Masala is the largest restaurant in the town, and part of the Nizam Inidan chain.
- Sankeys, 39 Mount Ephraim, TN4 8AA, tel +44 1892 511422, . Consistently high quality seafood from the British Isles, as well as some game. £~30.
- Mount Edgcumbe, The Common (off Mt Pleasant) Tunbridge Wells, TN4 8BX, tel +44 1892 526823, . At Mount Edgcumbe every meal is seasoned with overwhelming tranquility. With peaceful views and welcoming dining room, Mount Edgcumbe combines 18th century grandeur with a dining experience for the modern world. Try roasted goats cheese parcels, followed by loin of venison, and creme brulee with strawberry coulis, or just enjoy a drink in the bar. It sounds good but tastes better.
Wetherspoons, 88 Mount Pleasant Rd, tel +44 1892 511770, TN1 1RT - occupies the former Tunbridge Wells Opera House: vast boozer with a certain charm, always busy, largely due to the dramatically cheaper beer here than in other watering holes in the town.
- Spa Hotel, Mount Ephraim, TN4 8XJ, tel +44 1892 520331, .
- Smart & Simple, London Road, TN1 1DS, tel 0845 402 5744, .
- Hotel du Vin' Crescent Road, TN1 2LY, tel +44 1892 526455, .
- Mount Edgcumbe, The Common (off Mount Ephraim) TN4 8BX, tel +44 1892 526823, .
- Mount Edgcumbe Brasserie, The Common, Tunbridge Wells(Off Mount Ephraim), ☎ 001892 526823, . Charming Bar area extending into the restaurant on the quieter nights. It is a must to have a drink in their Cave with the flickering candles! Or when the weather is fine out in the garden overlooking the common. Sensible prices on all, beers, wines and spirits.
Other places of interest in the Tunbridge Wells area
- Penshurst Place, Penshurst, TN11 8DG, tel: +44 1892 870307, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, . Open daily from 27 March to 31 October (2004). House open from 12:00-17:30, gardens from 10:30-18:00. One of the oldest gardens in England. Includes a 100 metre long peony border, the Union Jack garden and many fruit trees and borders. There is a large adventure playground for children. Admission: Grounds only £5.50, House & Grounds £7.00.
- Groombridge Place, Groombridge, tel: +44 1892 863999, e-mail: email@example.com, . Open daily from 1 April to 5 November (2004), 9:30-18:00. Winner of the Top Garden Attraction in the UK by Good Britain Guide 2000. Admission £8.50.
- Bewl Water, nr Lamberhurst, tel: +44 1892 890661, . Open daily, all year except 10 July and 25 December, 9:00-sunset. The largest man-made body of water in the South East, for walking and cycling, sailing, windsurfing and fishing. Admission £4.00 per vehicle (£5.00 on bank holidays).
- Hop Farm Country Park, Paddock Wood, tel: +44 1622 872068, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, . Open from 10:00–17:00, 7 days a week (except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day). Once a working hop farm, it now offers a wide variety of attractions and events. £7.50 for adults, £6.50 for children.
- Haysden Country Park, Tonbridge, . Beautiful lakes, with rambling, bike and bridle trails. Free.
- Ashdown Forest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
- Tonbridge, particularly its castle
This page was last edited at 15:00, on 22 March 2009 by Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel. Based on work by David, mark stanley, Jack Dann and kevin thorpe, Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel and others.