A glance at Tunbridge Wells

Tunbridge Wells

A look at life in Tunbridge Wells, home of property-focused law firm Cripps.


In popular culture, Royal Tunbridge Wells has typically been lampooned as the quintessential middle English town. Spitting Image once parodied it declaring independence from the UK under the slogan 'Liberty, Equality and Gardening', while during the 1950s the phrase 'Disgusted, of Tunbridge Wells' became synonymous with conservative aversion to modern life. In recent years the town has valiantly fought back, and now employs the much happier phrase 'Delighted of Tunbridge Wells' to boost its image. Cripps' trainees seem pretty pleased with the local area. “Admittedly the night-life isn't the most vibrant around, but there is enough on offer to keep you busy,” one told us. Our interviewees were most impressed with the "fantastic array of independent restaurants. We're spoilt for choice, and we always take incoming trainees out for lunch before they start to give them a taste.”

There are plenty of pubs and bars in town, including long-standing trainee favourite Sankeys, which is conveniently located round the corner from Cripps' head office on Mount Ephraim Road. Several of the town's watering holes are located within the Pantiles, one of Tunbridge Wells' main attractions. Originally built as a getaway for tired Londoners, this Georgian colonnade houses cafés, restaurants, bars and shops, as well as occasional markets – creating, we hear, “a more 'Southern European' feel.” Delightful. Depending on the week, visitors might discover dancing Morris Men, an outdoor cinema or regular jazz concerts, which “everyone turns out for.”

Sport lovers will certainly be at home here: the town hosts cricket, rugby and football teams, and those who enjoy aquatics can take advantage of the RTW Monson Swimming Club. Keen runners have the chance to compete in the annual Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon, and there are plenty of parks with space to pursue other outdoor pursuits.

Tunbridge Wells is home to theatres – Trinity Theatre and the Assembly Hall – plus an independent music venue. The high street is about to get a whole lot snazzier as well: a development project will spruce up the heart of the town, partly by transforming the historic fire station into a bustling hive of pop-up shops and restaurants.

If you're still craving the bright lights of the city, London can be reached by train in just under an hour. If it's sea and sand (or rather pebbles) you're after, then Eastbourne and Brighton are both only an hour away by car.