7 Things to do in Royal Tunbridge Wells
This lush green Kentish spa town is less than an hour from London and a great place to spend a weekend exploring
In 1909, Tunbridge Wells was granted 'Royal' status and has remained a firm favourite among day-trippers and those looking for a weekend away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The centre boasts a maze of shops, cafés and restaurants, two impressive parks and a whole host of cultural delights.
So whether you’re planning a trip or just looking for something new to do this weekend, check out our top recommendations for a visit to Royal Tunbridge Wells:
Soak in the scenery at The Pantiles
Take a stroll down The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells' historic heart. Exploring the streets, lined with independent boutique shops and cute bars and cafés, is the best way to soak up the grandeur of the town's Georgian heyday.
Make sure to check the Visit Kent page for up-to-date event information, as The Pantiles is often home to various festivals from Jazz to food and fashion as well as fortnightly Farmer’s Markets.
Take a walk around Dunorlan Park
Take a stroll through the 78-acre Dunorlan Park, which was designed by prominent Victorian gardener Robert Marnock in the 1860s. If the sun is shining and the weather permits, you can also hire a boat or pedalo to row around the boating lake before enjoying a picnic on the grounds.
Attend a gig at ‘The Forum’ Music Venue
If you’re lucky enough to find an event that isn't sold out, then attending a gig at The Forum is a must. It was voted NME’s Best Small Venue in 2012, and it's easy to see why as this intimate venue allows you to enjoy the show whilst being within touching distance of the performers on stage. The venue exudes character and charm, which is a delightful surprise given that it was once a Victorian public toilet!
Check the official website to see what’s on.
Learn about the history of Tunbridge Wells at The Amelia Scott
Previously known as the Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery, The Amelia Scott has
reopened its doors to the public, becoming the new cultural centre in the heart of Tunbridge Wells. The Amelia Scott boasts museum spaces, new galleries, adult and children's libraries and tourist information.
With artifacts and artworks that have been stored away for many years, as well as talks and workshops, the Amelia Scott is the best place to explore the history and culture of Royal Tunbridge Wells.
The centre also runs ‘The Amelia After Dark’, an entertainment initiative that champions alternative arts and runs a late-night programme, which allows visitors to experience stand-up comedy, art workshops, master classes, and family activities.
Take in a show at the Assembly Hall Theatre
For over seventy-five years, the Assembly Hall Theatre has been a much loved and valued cultural asset in the heart of Royal Tunbridge Wells. From popular music and musical theatre to stand-up comedy and family shows, there is always a diverse range of live events to attend at the Assembly Hall Theatre.
Find out what’s on by visiting the official website
Stop for lunch at Smith & Western
Housed in the original Old West Station, the Smith & Western has brought this historic landmark back to life whilst serving hearty American food.
From a ‘Cowboy Feast’ to the ‘S&W Famous Nacho Platter’ you certainly won’t walk away hungry after a meal here.
Find out more and book a table online
Drink like a local at the Beau Nash
The Beau Nash Tavern is a traditional pub, just a five-minute walk from Tunbridge Wells town centre, where you can drink like a local. In the winter, there are leather chairs and real wood fires to sit by and, in the summer, there’s a large secluded garden to enjoy the weather in a peaceful setting away from the buzz of the town.
The pub also hosts a music night every Saturday, with live performances, and regular open mic nights to showcase amazing new talent. So make sure to pop in for a selection of real ales and local beer.