Grosvenor and Hilbert is one of the town’s oldest public parks designed by the renowned Victorian landscape architect Robert Marnock in 1889. It still contains original historic features, such as Marnock Lake and the grottoes or ‘dripping wells’. There is an exciting and challenging play area which is well worth a visit. This play area was updated in 2015 thanks to Heritage and Big Lottery Funding.
The park can be accessed for free from several entrances, the main ones being from Auckland Road, Upper Grosvenor Road and Hilbert Road. It is just a short walk or cycle from both the town centre and High Brooms train station. It is also on the 281 Bus route.
Facilities at Grosvenor and Hilbert Park include: a large play area, a café, an ornamental lake, a bowling green, a hireable community Hub, two full size grass football pitches, a kick around area marked for 5-a-side football and basketball, and public toilets. There is an exciting wheeled sports area located here too suitable for skateboards, BMX bikes and rollerblades.
The bowling green has been used by Grosvenor Bowls Club for over 100 years and is bookable in advance.
The park is home to a large variety of wildlife, which can be found within the wilder areas of the park, such as the Ancient Woodland, wetland area and community orchard. The wetland area now has a fantastic new boardwalk through the middle, complete with dipping platforms. The community orchard comprises of 89 fruit trees and is managed by the Friends of Grosvenor and Hilbert Park. Hilbert Woods is designated a Local Nature Reserve and is managed by Kent High Weald Partnership. Chalybeate (iron-rich) streams run through the park, turning them an unusual rusty red colour. This is the same water that rises in the Pantiles and made Tunbridge Wells famous.
Sitting proudly at the heart of the only remaining medieval deer park in Kent, Knole’s fascinating links with royalty as well as its literary connections with Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf, make this one of the most intriguing houses in England.
Set in the heart of the High Weald and surrounded by 800 acres of outstanding natural beauty, Bewl Water is the perfect place to watch the seasons change and to enjoy some healthy family fun for all ages.
Bewl Water offers a range of activities that are sure to entertain the whole family. Take to the water on the Bewl Belle, enjoy a relaxing fishing trip or a gentle ramble beside the water’s edge with your four legged friends!
Fun fact: the reservoir holds 31,000 megalitres!!
The Bewl Water Walk
Want to kick it up a notch? The full route around the water is 12.5 miles and can be walked, run or cycled, with bike hire available from March-October or you can bring your own.
Refuel in the Boat House Bistro, where you can enjoy quality dining (like freshly caught trout from the reservoir) and tasty treats in a tranquil setting with panoramic views of the water. Children’s roast dinners are on offer every Sunday. Or enjoy a post-walk coffee or hot chocolate and watch the boats come and go on The Terrace.
Bewl Water’s walking and cycle path is open all year round and there are many activities to fill the warmer months. Whether you are looking for an active, fun-filled day out with the family or to simply enjoy the peace and serenity of the countryside, the possibilities at Bewl Water are endless! And it’s dog friendly too.
2019 saw the introduction of a new adrenalin fuelled feature in the form of the inflatable assault course on the reservoir water! Suitable for ages 6 and up – if you love water, this is a gigglefest galore!
Activities throughout the year include*:
Walking, cycling, bike hire, pedalo and row boats, canoeing, sailing, rowing, adventure playgrounds, fishing, The Bewl Belle boat, Water Taxis, dining at the Boat House Bistro and The Waterfront Café, and much more!
*Please note that certain activities are subject to availability and change. For more information, please visit our website or get in touch.
A variety of special events are held during the course of the year such as the Austin Seven Rally, the Christmas Experience, the Big Dog Day Out, Stand Up Paddle Boarding and Outdoor Cinema Nights.
A new cookery school has opened up for private groups of up to 3 – an ingenious gift for a foodie fanatic.
Get back to basics with camping for small groups and romantic breaks against this serene backdrop. Check the website for opening dates.
Wedding ceremonies and receptions, stag and hen do’s, and conferences can be held at Bewl Water too. There is plenty of parking and space for everyone.
Only a 30 minute drive from the town of Royal Tunbridge Wells through some stunning countryside, passing Bayham Abbey and Scotney Castle on your way, follow the brown tourist signs to the other side of the pretty village of Lamberhurst.
An equally enjoyable way to reach Bewl Water would be to get on your bike. If you go the pretty way then it would take just under an hour to get there. Depending on which route you choose, it’s between 8.5 and 9.5 miles.
Here to delight your daydreams, have a look at A Day of Discovery at Beautiful Bewl Water by Royal Tunbridge Wells mum, Clare Lush-Mansell, about her day out with the kids at Bewl Water.
Enjoy a Day Out Surrounded by Trees
Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest is a magnificent setting for walks and picnics and world leading collection of conifers.
With some of the largest redwood trees in the UK and home to the Old Man of Kent, the tallest tree in the UK (now sadly worm fodder – or is that happily?!), you can wonder through some incredible and rare specimens of forestry.
Explore the vast acres and the pretty lakes winding your way through the miles of trails and paths created to see the Pinetum at its best. Wheelchairs are available for free and it really is beautiful at any time of year since the majority of the trees are evergreen.
You can also book a wheelchair or tramper by contacting Bedgebury in advance. For more informaoitn on planning your visit, take a look at the accessibility guide:- https://www.accessibilityguides.org/content/bedgebury-national-pinetum-and-forest
Bedgebury Forest features family cycling, mountain-biking, Go Ape high rope excitement, orienteering trails, horse-riding, walking, running and the most fun adventure play for all ages and abilities. The wooden ship is a great favourite with tunnels to hide in and sand to soften tip-toes ready to play hide and seek!
Dogs at Bedgebury
Well behaved dogs and hounds are most welcome as well as assistance dogs of course, but should be kept on a lead in the Pinetum, car park and around the play areas. The interior of the cafe is out of bounds to hungry woofs (with the exception of assistance dogs) but there is plenty of seating al fresco. Dogs can be taken off the lead in the wider forest.
Forest Dog Code https://www.forestryengland.uk/dog-code
Cycling at Bedgebury
The bicycle trails are best suited to bikers with some experience including some great muddy single tracks for the serious mountain biker. The family cycle trail has a longer and shorter option for smaller childres. If they’re just learning to cycle there’s plenty of hard surfaced forest track hear to the play trail where a little one can scoot around with mama or papa. Quench is the name of the bike shop where you can chat to like minded cyclists, hire a bike or get your own bike serviced there.
Once you have worn yourself out take a break in the wooden built cafe run by a family who make the food on site. Dairy-free, gluten-free, vegans and vegetarians are all catered for. The cafe is open every day the Pinetum is open and they serve food from 8:30am to 4pm on most of these days.
Soups, hot and cold sandwiches, nachos, jacket potatoes, cakes, FairTrade hot and cold drinks are sourced locally where possible. There is a special menu for the little people in your life too.
Dogs need to stay outside but there is lots of seating under the broad eaves of the lodge style building. It overlooks one of the lakes and also encompasses the visitor centre and the toilets.
Read our blog ‘Walking in a Year Long Wonderland’ for a little taster of what you can find at any time of the year.
Parking at Bedgebury
There is plenty of parking for cars and coaches at Bedgebury. If you come early and leave before 11am, your ticket will only cost you £3.50 for your car. You pay as you leave and the pay station machines are now cashless and only accept contactless or chip and pin card payments.
Map of Bedgebury
You can see an image of a map above which only shows part of the area, this . This is the link to the full map of Bedgebury Maps can also be purchased from the visitor centre on site.
Friends of Bedgebury
Join as a Friends member for admission during normal opening hours all year, access to other gardens and arboreta and a range of local discounts and offers. Visit bedgeburypinetum.org.uk or email:- firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Staying Near Bedgebury
There are several options locally for accommodation but the nearest is Bedgebury Camping. Visit the Bedgebury campsite page for more information.
The Tunbridge Wells Circular Walk is a 27.5 mile (44.3km) route that explores the variety of fertile and beautiful countryside around Royal Tunbridge Wells, a town within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the borders of Kent and East Sussex.
The walk starts and finishes wherever you like. To illustrate you could start at Southborough Common, passing through a number of picturesque villages in the Tunbridge Wells area: Southborough, Pembury, Frant, Groombridge and Speldhurst. The route is of interest for natural history, archaeological, historical and architectural features.
Walk past vineyards planted in 1884 and saunter through orchards growing apples, pears, plums and cherries.
Notable attractions along the way include:
All Saints’ Church, Tudeley is a fascinating building dating back to the 11th century which is listed in the Domesday Book. The stain glass windows also hold great significance, having been designed by Franco-Russian artist Mark Chagall, who was described as “the quintessential Jewish artist of the twentieth century” by art critic Robert Hughes.
In Snipe Wood lies the site of Keyes Mill, a water mill that was painted by the globally acclaimed artist J.M.W Turner on two occasions in 1795 and 1796.
Harrison’s Rocks is a spot frequented by serious climbers being the largest of the cluster of local southern sandstone outcrops. The site has been visited by tourists since the 18th century and still remains popular.
Groombridge Place and Gardens is another gem along the Circular Walk. The Manor House has an intriguing history, whilst the formal Gardens are beautiful to walk through.
Tunbridge Wells Common is a few minutes walk from the town centre and famous for sandstone outcrops known as Wellington Rocks. It is a wonderful space to relax and observe the world, or you could finish your walk with a picnic in a delightful spot.
Dunorlan Park is also a great stop receiving a steady stream of visitors thanks to its beauty and serenity. The Park is Grade II listed as part of it was landscaped in the 1860s by distinguished Victorian gardener, Richard Marnock. Marnock was commissioned by Henry Reed, a local millionaire owning 78 acres of garden that now make up the Park.
The Park is also the proud owner of a Green Flag Award (since 2006) making it “a welcoming green space, healthy, safe” and “managed in an environmentally sensitive and sustainable way”.
If 27.5 miles is too strenuous, the route can be divided up into four waymarked circular link routes: Southborough Circular – 8.5miles, Pembury Circular – 13miles, Sussex Circular – 15miles and Speldhurst Circular – 10miles. Each trail starts in the middle of the royal town within reach of local bus services and the railway station.
Leaflets containing maps and directions for each of these trails can be downloaded or obtained from the Tourist Information Centre.
A rural retreat with superb views perched on a ridge in an area of outstanding natural beauty yet less than two miles from Royal Tunbridge Wells.
Flying Horse Cottage has two ensuite bedrooms with king and super king beds and TV’s in each. There is a wet room with a walk-in shower and a bathroom with a steel Bette bath. The cottage is tiled throughout and has fitted oak kitchen units handmade by a local craftsman, luxury underfloor gas heating and a wood burning stove. It is all on one level and fully accessible. The living area has two sofas, a desk and a wall mounted TV.
Outside the living room is a stone terrace with a rattan table and chairs and outside the dining area is a decking platform with benches, both these seating areas have glorious views across the valley of Spratsbrook Farm towards Tunbridge Wells in the distance.
Flying Horse Cottage is set in four acres of pasture and woodland and has private access to the ten acres of Bond’s Heath on which the owners have a fully equipped bird hide that guests can use to enjoy the countryside in all weather – birding, sketching or simply chilling. Bond’s Heath and the bird hide overlook the 450 acre RSPB Broadwater Warren and there is direct access to explore the Nature Reserve which leads on to the adjoining sandstone outcrops of Eridge and Harrison Rocks, both great picnic spots and some of the best rock climbing in southern England.
The cottage is ideally suited for couples and families with children aged 8 and over. It is not suitable for children under 8 as the garden areas are unfenced and lead to woodland and a pond. We do not take dogs except for guide dogs.