From 1800 the town grew rapidly. In 1831 there were 5,929 inhabitants and in 1841 this had risen to 8,302. It was the fastest growing town in Kent!
The town became increasingly popular with people seeking the enjoyment of retirement and began to attract an influx of permanent residents.
The cost of living was cheaper than in London but it was possible to get to London as stage coaches ran a reliable service from Tunbridge Wells to London with the journey only taking five hours!
The environment was a great asset to the town “romantic, rural, rugged with a vast variety of different views….”
The surrounding countryside was ideal for walks and rides and early guide books of the town described the country houses that could be visited in the area. High Rocks was a favourite attraction and a popular excursion.
Entertainment for residents and visitors took place on the Common including firework displays, cricket matches, archery and horse racing.
In 1750 Lady Coke wrote to her friend Mrs Eyre describing a typical day in Tunbridge Wells: “The outward amusements are cricketing, horse races and other diversions, such as walking, riding and airing in carriages.”
Residents petitioned for the abolition of the races in 1845 on the grounds “that they were a cause of drunkenness and riotous behaviour.” Once the race meetings were stopped, the race course was conserved as a footpath and bridle-way which can still be followed today.