I can safely say that my Mum was pretty pleased when my fiancé and I decided to move to Tunbridge Wells. With super shopping, beautiful boutiques and plenty of places to have lunch, my Mum and I have enjoyed the occasional ‘Mum and Daughter’ day out around Royal Tunbridge Wells over the last few years. Below are some of our favourite things to do:
The High Street in Royal Tunbridge Wells is a haven for shoppers. It seems like new boutiques pop up regularly and we always enjoy a stroll around the shops there. Cath Kidston is great for picking up a gift or something to brighten up the house and my Mum and I are both fans of Mint Velvet which stocks some really high quality but ‘not-too-expensive’ women’s clothing lines. Polarn O Pyret is a Swedish shop selling beautiful and bright children’s clothing and we have picked up some lovely pieces ‘from Grandma’ for the kids there as a special treat.
Photo: Chapel Place, bottom of High Street by David Hodgkinson
Any shopping trip with my Mum needs to include a pit-stop for a cup of coffee (and the occasional slice of cake too) and there is no shortage of these around here. Casa de Claudia on Castle Street (just off the High Street) is a new discovery for us and serves some beautiful homemade sweet and savoury food. If you decide to go there for lunch, try the meatball panini if you’re hungry!
Once we have had a look around the High Street, we usually move on to Hoopers, an independent prestigous department store, which is a favourite too – not everyone knows that it has a concession store for Oasis and at Christmas, it stocks an amazing array of decorations for the home. Hoopers stocks really high quality products – whether its clothes, cosmetics, homeware or furniture – it’s a definite ‘quality over quantity’ type of place.
If we have been shopping on the High Street, we usually attempt to try somewhere new if we can. Kai’s Kitchen is a Thai café which serves some really authentic Asian classics. I have a weak spot for Thai food so think I am going to be re-visiting Kai’s a lot!
If we are really treating ourselves, then Hotel du Vin does a reasonably priced set menu for lunch and the outdoor seating area is a lovely place to be when the sun is shining. Rustic Café, which is just opposite Hotel Du Vin, is an independently owned café which serves some lovely home-made classics and we nearly always go for one of their beautiful quiches and salad, followed by anything involving chocolate. Look out for their giant scotch eggs too!
Photo: View of Royal Tunbridge Wells from the Common by David Hodgkinson
Moving on to the afternoon…….if we are going ‘all-out’ then an afternoon of pampering at Knowle Grange Spa is an ideal way to spend the afternoon. This peaceful place is just a 10 minute drive from Royal Tunbridge Wells in the pretty countryside just outside Frant village. They offer all sorts of treatments and spa day packages – the pure indulgence facial is out of this world! Let’s face it, spa days aren’t something we can do regularly but as a rare treat, I think they are a fantastic way to re-energise and just take time out!
If a spa day isn’t on our agenda and if we have just had a light lunch or brunch, then afternoon tea is sometimes on the cards! We have been to The Spa Hotel several times – it has quite a traditional feel and it’s a pleasant walk up to The Spa hotel, along Mount Ephraim or the Common from the town centre.
If we are on a shopping frenzy, then the afternoon can sometimes be spent up at Royal Victoria Place – Fenwick’s is an absolute favourite and seems to stock many of the brands which we both like including Esprit, Joules, Warehouse and Whistles.
Photo: Camden Road restaurant by David Hodgkinson
If we have been out for both the morning and afternoon, it’s rare that we would go out for dinner too, however if we haven’t had a chance to go anywhere in the daytime, then pre-dinner drinks at the Tunbridge Wells Townhouse Wine & Tapas Bar followed by a meal at a central Royal Tunbridge Wells restaurant is a lovely thing to do.
Towards the bottom of the town, Sopranos is a winner for wine and tapas while at the top of Royal Tunbridge Wells, there is in eclectic selection on Camden Road. The Camden Quarter (now Vittle & Swig) has a tempting menu of European dishes – I usually have something from the grill, such as the featherblade steak although last time we went, I had the smoked parmesan polenta which I can highly recommend.
An evening at the theatre is an appealing option too. We have visited both The Assembly Hall Theatre and Trinity Theatre and there are several shows coming up which I know we would both enjoy including Swan Lake at the Assembly Theatre and several of the art-house films at Trinity.
As you can see, we are spoilt for choice in Royal Tunbridge Wells and I’m looking forward to sharing more of my favourite places to go over the coming weeks and months.
With thanks to Clare Lush for this week’s VisitTunbridgeWells Blog. Bookmark this section for the next update in 2 weeks time.