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Top places to live in Kent Tunbridge Wells

It might not be as trendy as some of its east Kent cousins, but long-popular Royal Tunbridge Wells is a sure bet for families seeking homes with bigger gardens, plenty of great outdoors and the added attraction of exceptional schooling for free in the area’s many prestigious grammar schools. Part of our Top 200 Places to Live series.

A picture of The Pantiles within spa town Royal Tunbridge Wells
Copyright: TWBC. Photo credit: Chris Parker

WHY? 

Forget those letter-writing retired colonels: this spa town is all about attracting well-to-do families seeking a best-of-both-worlds commuter lifestyle. With yoga studios and art galleries galore but being only moments from the Garden of England’s apple-orchards, this town has it all.

EAT

In Tunbridge Wells you’ll be spoilt for culinary choice, with Sankey’s for fish, Sucheera for Thai or Kiko Sushi & Yakitori for Japanese being just some of the good eateries to discover. The Ivy Royal Tunbridge Wells sits opposite the new Anthropologie boutique – how handy is that?!

In and around the town you’ll find lots of great gastro pubs but some stand-out dining destinations, include The Kentish Hare in Bidborough, The Beacon in Rusthall and Salomons Estate.

SHOP

You’ll find most of your high street favourites in and around the Royal Victoria Shopping Centre but this town is particularly well-known for its popular and pretty Georgian colonnade of shops known as The Pantiles, where you’ll find boutiques, galleries, cafés and even a luxury pet shop. Just up the road you’ll find our fave local fashion boutique Kitch Clothing and designer lighting gallery, lumière – Lumiere Du Jour.

There’s the original and buzzy little Trinity Theatre and the Assembly Hall Theatre (which had planning to undergo a £90 million make-over project). So Culture Vultures are well catered for.

NEARBY ATTRACTIONS

On the outskirts of Tunbridge Wells you’ll find Dunorlan Park, with its boating lake, ducks and café. Or 2 miles to the north there’s Penshurst Place & Gardens (the ancestral home of Anne Boleyn) a family-friendly stately home open to the public. For the active amongst us there’s an outdoor climbing school at the rugged Harrison Rocks in nearby Groombridge or Kingdom cycling club in Penshurst. 

A short drive will take you to family-friendly Bedgebury Forest in one direction or Ashdown Forest, in the other. Great for walking, letting the kids run off steam and known the world over as the ‘home’ of Winnie The Pooh.

AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE

Average house price: £492,383 – good local estate agents include Jackson-Stops, Green Lizard and Maddisons Residential Ltd.

HOT PROPERTY

SCHOOLS

For prep schools there’s Rose Hill School actually in the centre of Tunny Wells (read the Muddy review here) but boasting plenty of green space nevertheless. Or for another excellent option in an exceptional setting there’s Somerhill School (read the Muddy review here) close by towards Tonbridge.

Take advantage of the boys and girls grammar schools in Tunbridge Wells and nearby Tonbridge. Alongside excellent Secondary faith state schools, such as Bennett Memorial Diocesan School or St Gregory’s Catholic School – both rated Outstanding. 

For independent Secondary education, you have Tonbridge School for boys. Kent College School for Girls (read the Muddy review of the Senior School here), in Pembury (where children can go from age 3 – 18) now plans to take boys alongside girls in the Nursery and Prep School (read the Muddy review here).

BEST KEPT SECRET

Davina McCall and Dame Kelly Holmes both live in the area. Spot them out and about exercising or shopping – they like to support local. 

COMMUTE

High-speed, non-stopping trains to London Cannon Street takes 51mins and London Bridge (also stopping off at Waterloo East and Charing Cross) takes 43 mins.

View the full Top 200 Best Places to Live 

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