Tunbridge Wells

The Pantiles in Tunbridge Wells

Royal Tunbridge Wells is a town in West Kent on the border with East Sussex, in the South East of England.


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).

Get in

By car

Tunbridge Wells can be accessed from the north using the A21 trunk road, which runs as a dual carriageway for most of its length between the M25 and the outskirts of the town. The A21 continues south past Tunbridge Wells to Lamberhurst and Hastings.

The single carriageway A26 runs through the town centre, providing a link to Brighton and Lewes to the south, and Tonbridge and the A21 to the north.

To the west, the A264 provides connections to East Grinstead, Crawley and Gatwick Airport. To the east, the A264 becomes the A228 and links to Paddock Wood, Maidstone and Rochester.

By train

Tunbridge Wells Station is located in the town centre at the bottom of Mount Pleasant Road, close to the historic High Street and 5 minutes' walk from the Pantiles. It is on the London (Charing Cross/Waterloo/London Bridge) to Hastings route; trains are operated by Southeastern, tel. 08457 48 49 50.

London is between 40 and 55 minutes away, depending on whether the train is direct or a stopper service. A standard class off-peak return ticket to London is £13.20 adult; £6.60 child.

Other Kent towns such as Canterbury, Ashford and Maidstone can be reached by train by changing at Tonbridge (10 minutes by train from Tunbridge Wells).

Get around

The centre of Tunbridge Wells is fairly small, and can easily be travelled on foot. The Pantiles is around 10–15 minutes walk downhill from the main shopping area around Royal Victoria Place. As with most other towns in England, the town is well serviced by buses and taxis.

By car

By bus

Arriva is the main local bus operator in and around Tunbridge Wells, although other companies also operate some services:

Buy your ticket from the driver when you board the bus.

Paper timetables can be obtained at the Tunbridge Wells Gateway (8 Grosvenor Road, near the Royal Victoria Place shopping centre). The Traveline and Kent County Council websites provide journey planners and route maps.

The Arriva 281 "Shopper Hopper" bus service provides a useful link for those looking to avoid walking up the hill between the Pantiles and main shopping district. It runs every 12 minutes, with tickets costing £1 for the day.

By taxi

The main taxi rank is at the train station, although you can order a taxi by telephone to pick you up from anywhere.


The new boathouse at Dunorlan Park


High Rocks



Royal Victoria Shopping Centre

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.

There is also rather a generic industrial estate on the edge of the town with a variety of big box stores.


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):



Go next

Penshurst Place
Routes through Tunbridge Wells

Brighton Crowborough  S  N  Tonbridge Maidstone
Crawley East Grinstead  W  E  becomes

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, December 05, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.