Historic spa town Royal Tunbridge Wells in the Kent Weald is a delectable mix of unique shops, alfresco inns and cafes. Spectacular Georgian architecture and antique shops line the famous Pantiles. This magnificent spa town is a Regency Georgian gem dating back to 1606 when the Chalybeate Spring was first discovered here. The spring is still throwing out therapeutic waters today with cup and dipper provided!
The Royal Tunbridge Wells shopping scene is one of Kent’s best, offering up a choice of unique stylish boutiques around The Pantiles and the spa town’s selection of beautiful shopping arcades within the Corn Exchange. Independent shops retaining all their Victorian and Edwardian charm feature just to the north of the Pantiles offering up everything from specialist antiques and craft jewellery to exquisite home furnishings.
Take a historic journey into Royal Tunbridge Wells’ spa town history at the central Tunbridge Wells Museum & Art Gallery and enjoy a host of attractions close to hand in the surrounding Kent Weald from spectacular gardens to steam railways. The Spa Valley Railway runs for just over 3 miles from Tunbridge Wells direct to Groombridge.
Spa Town Heritage
Royal Tunbridge Wells didn’t officially receive its ‘royal’ title until Edward VII ordered it in 1909 in recognition of its patronage to the crown. Since the Chalybeate Spring was discovered here in 1606, royals and artistic notables were frequent visitors – Queen Victoria, Samuel Pepys, Daniel Defoe and Thackeray all came to take the ‘therapeutic’ waters.
The town really began to boom during the Georgian era under the supervision of Master of Ceremonies, Richard Beau Nash who promoted the town as a Regency resort. No one could organise a ball like Beau Nash who managed to attract the cream of visitors from both royalty and the arts.
Famous Georgian street The Pantiles takes its name from the Kent clay tiles layered on this colonnaded walkway. The Pantiles developed alongside the springs as Tunbridge Wells which began to attract increasing numbers of visitors. Today its as bustling and popular as ever, lined with charming Georgian fronted specialist shops selling fine antiques, unique gifts, toys and vintage wines. Live music usually features in the summer and the town’s historic fish market is here along with the Chalybeate Spring.
Where to stay
Base yourself in the Kent Weald’s chicest centre and stay in a luxurious boutique hotel in Tunbridge Wells or a charming heritage inn B&B. Beautiful guest houses are plentiful in the area, many of which are Grade listed and the perfect choice of a romantic break. Browse and book spa town accommodation online now with Iknow.