Did you know that there are 8 million dogs in the UK who would love to get out and about?
We know that your canine companion is an intergral part of your family life. If you are planning to spend some time in Tunbridge Wells with Buddy or Bella, take a lead from us with our ruff guide to keeping them included and plan an adventure that the whole family can share.
Time to stretch those legs!
Dogs love to explore new places and we have an ideal green space right here in the centre of town. The Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Commons provide an extensive area of discovery for sniffing out new smells and meeting friends.
Your dog has a sense of smell which is 10,000 – 100,000 times more acute than that of humans. That makes the 200 acre Common a very exciting place if you have a wet nose and a wagging tail.
Pick up a copy of the Tunbridge Wells Common and Rusthall Common trails leaflets from the Tourist Information Centre in the Corn Exchange on the Pantiles, dogs are welcome in the office. Alternatively, download copies here
Dunorlan Park, ideal for walkies, has lots of woof factor. This beautiful park with its large lake is a tranquil haven perfect for walking with your canine companion. It is located within a short walking distance of the town centre. Dogs are welcome if kept under control and aren’t allowed to disturb the wildlife or other visitors.
Whether you decide to walk or run along the path around the lake, it’s a great way for the two of you to exercise, keep fit and set tails a-wagging.
With three entrances to the Grosvenor and Hilbert Recreation Grounds with its Nature Reserve, dogs are welcome if kept under control and aren’t allowed to disturb the wildlife or other visitors.
Royal Tunbridge Wells is THE gateway to your outdoor activities. Take the Spa Valley steam or diesel train and get out to countryside for a long country walk.
The stations at High Rocks, Groombridge and Eridge all provide access to the countryside and a network of footpaths including the Tunbridge Wells Circular from where it is possible to walk to Harrisons Rocks, the Forest Way and Broadwater Forest. Best of all Buddy and Bella get to travel for free!
A good walk is of course the highlight of a doggy day and the Weald countryside with its flawless beauty is a doggy paradise, for walks and exploring at all times of the year. The changing colours of the countryside, soft green of spring followed by the bluebells which carpet the woodlands, the bright yellow of warm summer sunshine, the vivid reds and gold of autumn leaves that give way to the white and silver of frosty winter, mark the seasons and create an ever-changing landscape to excite the senses at every turn.
“Every dog must have his day.”
Penshurst Place welcomes dogs on the public footpaths that cross the estate (entry fee applies). There are two self guided walking trail leaflets which you can purchase at the gift shop. Please note that there are fields with grazing livestock and some stiles.
From Penshurst there are a number of pleasant walks which take you around the village, across fields and by the banks of the river Medway. On hot and cloudless, lazy hazy days pause for a picnic by the river, with sandwiches, strawberries, sparkling water and don’t forget the all important doggy treats.
Dogs can investigate the forest trails at Bedgebury, where they can run around off the lead. A refreshing walk in the cool shade under the trees is the perfect place for a peaceful green breather after exerting lots of energy! (Entry fee applies).
Bewl Water too is an ideal location for outdoor fun for all ages and abilities, (entry fee applies). Explore Bewl Water and the surrounding countryside with a variety of walks from gentle strolls, adventurous family rambles or longer hikes. Whatever you decide Bella and Buddy will have a ball!
The scenic route around the lake is 12 ½ miles and it is open to walkers all year. If you find half way around that your get-up-and-go has gone, simply hop on board one of the water taxis.
Hole Park welcomed the friendly furried four legged friend for the first time in Spring 2019. Owner Edward Barham says “The pathways around the gardens and woodland make for a perfect dog walk, with plenty to explore throughout the seasons.”
The award-winning garden has been owned and looked after by the Barham family for the past four generations. Planted for year-round colour, annual highlights are the Bluebell Festival in mid-April followed by the Standard Wisteria in the Vineyard Garden and the mature Rhododendrons and Azaleas in the woodlands. The recently renovated long herbaceous border has been replanted in the original pink and blue and yellow and white originally used by the late Christopher Lloyd when he first designed the border at Hole Park.
There is a dedicated tea room and free parking for cars and coaches. Dogs are allowed in the courtyard by the Coach House on leads but not allowed in the Rolls Room or Coach House. Water is also available for dogs in the outdoor seating area next to the Coach House. Guide dogs are welcome in all areas.
Ashdown Forest is waiting to be discovered, with many miles of footpaths and trails across the forest including the Vanguard Way. With its extensive choice of walks it’s a great place to roam with your pooch. So plan an expedition and explore together.
Do be aware that sheep, cattle and deer graze freely on the forest and don’t let your dog chase the livestock or wildlife.
Who knows what adventures await you on the 780 acres of countryside at Scotney Castle where each bend and turn takes you deeper into the woods? (Entry fee applies).
Give Your Dog a Bone (And Never Leave Your Dog to Guard Your Sandwich)
Places to refuel during the day include the Mount Edgcumbe pub on the Tunbridge Wells Common, with two dog friendly tables in the restaurant, available upon booking.
Sankey’s on Mount Ephraim allow dogs in the Public House & the Garden, they also have doggie beds and give out doggie treats at the bar along with water bowls.
The Bedford on Tunbridge Wells High Street have free dog treats and a water bowl for their hungry and thirsty four-legged friends!
Esquires is a dog friendly cafe on Mount Pleasant Road near the top of the hill between the High Street and Camden Road with doggie refreshments available too.
Royal Victoria Place shopping mall welcomes dogs but not all the individual shops allow them in.
Dog friendly country pubs include The George and Dragon in Speldhurst, where dogs are very welcome in this village pub. It has a garden and there are lots of walks in and around the village.
In the picturesque village of Penshurst there are two dog friendly pubs. In the village centre, you will find the Leicester Arms, with treats on the bar and bowls of water. A short distance from the village is the Spotted Dog a 15th century pub with fabulous views across the Weald. Dogs and walkers are always welcomed.
“Let sleeping dogs lie”
At the end of a day of exuberant activity you’ll need a comfy place for forty winks or more.
The Royal Wells Hotel provides a royal welcome. Doggy treats are available at the bar and there are some bedrooms that are designated dog-friendly. Dogs are not permitted in the restaurant and feature rooms. Tunbridge Wells Common, perfect for walkies, is located just across the road from the hotel.
The Mercure Hotel also welcomes dogs. Please mention your best friend when making your reservation.
Why not book a quality dog-friendly cottage to make sure no-one misses out on the fun? Original Cottages have a selection of cottages to choose from that will make Bella and Buddy feel at home.
For more suggestions for dog walks, see our Walking page and also this lovely article about the Seven Wonders of the Weald Pass attractions.