An Afternoon in Rusthall, Kent. Written by Rachel, a local resident
Up until March 2022 I was a lifelong resident of Rusthall. Moving out of the family home was a bittersweet moment – I made so many memories growing up there! I hope my recommendations will inspire you to explore the quaint village of Rusthall for an afternoon.
The high street may be small, but we have a couple of little gems. This is where I have a very special memory with my Gran, who lived in Rusthall with us for the last 20 years of her life. When she used to pick me and my brother up from primary school, she would always take us to The Venture, a small shop where you can find anything and everything. The most exciting bit was the old-fashioned pick ‘n’ mix corner by the tills. She started us off on 10p mixes, so we could only afford the small sweets, however as we grew up, we finally got to the pinnacle 50p mixes. Still a great treat for children or grown ups on your afternoon exploration.
I attended St Paul’s C of E Primary School and as part of our lessons we’d occasionally explore the green spaces around the village: there are a couple of playgrounds just off the high street, great for kids!
Alternatively, venturing towards the edge of Royal Tunbridge Wells you will find the historic Toad Rock in Rusthall Common, with a pub named after it next door. You’ll also find that there are several rocks nearby in various shapes such as ‘The Elephant’, ‘The Lion’ and ‘The Cottage Loaf’. In the Victorian era, people living in the nearby cottages earned money by offering to guide visitors around these rocks, and it still makes a fun afternoon activity!
South of the common, next to St Paul’s church there is an interesting short walk down a route known as ‘Happy Valley’. Looking out from the wooded area there are spectacular views across the valley to High Rocks, the Ashdown Forest, and the High Weald. Perfect for a dog walk!
If you are a particularly keen walker, Rusthall is part of the Speldhurst Circular, a 10-mile loop starting from Tunbridge Wells Common, going through Rusthall, to Speldhurst, down to Groombridge and across the Spa Valley Railway route (great for stream train enthusiasts) and back to Royal Tunbridge Wells. I recently walked the route with my friends and can highly recommend The George and Dragon in Speldhurst as a pub lunch stop, and then The Crown in Groombridge is an ideal stop for 2/3 of the way round the circular.
If you’re looking for somewhere to eat in Rusthall, try The Red Lion on Lower Green Road. They’ve made some changes in recent years, and they now serve delicious Thai food. Its tasty and you’re in a cosy pub, what’s not to love?