If you need a place to stop and work out what to do in Tunbridge Wells or meet some friends, a café is just what you need.
Alfresco or not, café culture is alive and kicking up its heels here with more than 60 cafés in Tunbridge Wells to choose from.
All of the attractions have cafés attached or just next door to stop those tummies from rumbling so you can relax into the fabulous views.
The village tearooms work hard to keep the standards high. Gray’s Tearooms in Brenchley is a unique example of an award winning local café that uses local produce and is ensconced in the local community.
This is a particularly good café stop for cyclists on a country tour as small groups are welcomed. Dogs are catered for too not to mention the reasonable prices.
Top Cafés for a full English breakfast
Start the day off with a famous English breakfast in any one of the early riser cafes or lie in and enjoy a leisurely brunch.
Many venues offer all day breakfast so you don’t miss out on this popular tradition, now often made with local delicacies and organic ingredients.
- Java Bean is one such place, known for its coffee but also for its all day full English breakfasts. It is ideally placed on the High Street amongst the lovely boutiques.
- Waterloo Tearooms is in a beautiful building in the historic town of Cranbrook where you can admire the windmill, jumble of old cottages and the gift shops. It is a place to linger and enjoy a full English or pastry in the village atmosphere.
- Waterside Café at Hawkhurst is on the Hawkhurst Fishing Lake out in the High Weald countryside. Savour your menu choice whilst overlooking the pretty green lake on the decking outdoors in the country sunshine surrounded by trees or an atmospheric mist.
- Knoxbridge Café is out near Sissinghurst and Frittenden. Only open in the mornings, away from the tourist trail this is primarily a truck stop. Great fry-ups and cups of tea all round, the original ‘greasy spoon’!
- Pleasant Café is an unassuming place next door to the station on Mount Pleasant in the middle of the town of Royal Tunbridge Wells. They serve nice straightforward food, no fuss, no frills.
For more details about brunches, from classic to some of the top vegetarian and vegan options and bottomless brunches, view this page.
Top cafés for light lunch
Family owned cafés selling big homemade sandwiches, cake slices the size of doorstoppers and velvety soups are round every corner ready to take your order.
There are plenty of healthy options such as vegan, diabetic friendly and gluten free food, you don’t have to search hard and always ask.
Rusbridge Bakery is in Southborough and The Bicycle Bakery is on Camden Road in Royal Tunbridge Wells. Both make lovely bread and pastries on the premises.
- Rusbridge Bakery is a family owned enterprise that makes take-away sandwiches, tea and coffee too. Good place to go to stock up for a picnic lunch.
- The Bicycle Bakery provides freshly baked goods and has appeared on Radio Kent’s Small Business Saturday Walkabout with our local MP. It has seating in their larger and recently refurbished venue.
- The Black Dog – Aussie style food and coffee is not far from the Bicycle Bakery so you’ll have to make a decision there..(or try both!)
- Weeks Bakery Tea Room is in Goudhurst on the incline. Sip outside, sample a sausage roll and watch the world go by – if it can get up the hill! If you get a chance, ascend the church tower and see just how far the view goes.
- Casa de Claudia – the one the locals don’t want you to know about is just off the High Street in Royal Tunbridge Wells. Picture a cobbled lane in the south of Portugal and this is close to what you will get. Famed for a friendly welcome and delectable paninis, visit here for a family secret!
- Basil’s is at the other end of town, slightly more expensive but Oh, so worth it! This tiny café is in Fiveways near the Millennium clock and supplies mouth-watering cakes and other homemade goodies.
- The department store Fenwick’s, in Royal Victoria Place, do some surprisingly delicious light lunches. There are various cafés around the centre well-placed to help restore the weary shoppers.
Themed Cafés in Tunbridge Wells
There are arts cafés, a craft beer café, a stand-up comedy café, music cafés and even a comic book café where you can break yourself gently in to the shopping in Tunbridge Wells…. or hide away from it!
Here in Tunbridge Wells, you can find cafés with vintage themes, all pretty china and bunting with traditional afternoon tea and cake.
There are a couple of cycling themed cafés and more who are happy to cater to those on 2 or 3 wheels!
There is a hungry demand for deli-cafés, exciting emporiums of delicacies from Camden Road down to The Pantiles, out to Cranbrook and Goudhurst too.
There are some unique places to eat in privately owned department stores such as Hoopers and Barsleys of Paddock Wood.
You can even watch a film in Hawkhurst whilst having a cuppa at the cinema!
There are farm shops which have cafés; a great source of local produce. One of the tastiest ways to try before you buy right in the heart of the Wealden countryside where the palate greets the land.
If you want to contribute to social causes whilst visiting us there are a few charity cafés to spend your pennies in and help others simultaneously!
Ethical business is of great interest to Tunbridge Wellians being a Fair Trade Town.
Coffee shops in Tunbridge Wells
Coffee houses have sprung up for those not keen on the English cuppa although the wide variety of teas will surprise you.
There is a very large number of coffee outlets in Tunbridge Wells from Australian to Portuguese. Why not have a café crawl with friends and create your own top ten chart! It would be impossible to include them all here as they are so good.
Coffee is of a very high standard in Tunbridge Wells and baristas are knowledgeable about their service and product.
Most tea rooms, cafés and coffee shops serve both tea and coffee.
Top Dessert Cafés in Tunbridge Wells
- Juliet’s is a long standing favourite. A large, vintage themed café – just visit to find out what this means – you will enjoy the cake!
- The Cake Shed in The Pantiles – great wodges of cake and hot chocolate or refreshing juice, what could be better?
- Creams – the large chain – eternally popular with the youngsters and has a play area for toddlers too
- The Wendy House in Cranbrook is known for yummy cake and for being in a restful location. The pastel décor will appeal to those who like the gentle fifties look.
Café opening times
Note that most cafes close between 4 and 5 pm. Please read our page on Afternoon Teas for details on where to go for a traditional and refined English nutriment.
Let us know your favourite stop-off and let’s share the love of café life in Tunbridge Wells.