Spotlight on High Street, Chapel Place & The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells
Spring is the ideal time to get out and about to explore Tunbridge Wells’ historic hub – the High Street, Chapel Place and The Pantiles. From places to eat and drink, vibrant, eclectic and independent shops, galleries and bespoke businesses – some of which really have stood the test of time – there is plenty for everyone to see, do and enjoy!
The charm of Kent’s only spa town, our very own Tunbridge Wells, attracts so many visitors and locals alike to the popular historic quarters comprising the High Street, Chapel Place, Vale Road, Nevill Street, Castle Street and, of course, The Pantiles. And spring is the perfect time of year to explore all it has to offer.
In fact, recent independent research, commissioned by Visit Kent, revealed that the town’s visitor economy continued to thrive in 2017 and is now worth £278 million. Visits to the district increased by 5.7% in 2017 to 4.7 million trips, with 4.3 million day trips and 300,000 overnight stays.
Councillor Jane March, Culture, Leisure & Tourism portfolio holder at Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, said: “The results of the research make very positive reading for Tunbridge Wells. Tourism is very important to our local economy and I hope that we will see this upward trend continue. The Council works hard to support the local tourism businesses through the marketing and promotion it carries out. We work with partners across West Kent to ensure that visitors know what a great and welcoming destination this is.” Kent remains the third most visited destination outside of London for foreign visitors.
SPOTLIGHT ON Childrensalon Outlet
Launched in 2017 by the Childrensalon Group, Childrensalon Outlet is the go-to destination for local and regional shoppers who are looking for luxury children’s fashion for less. Following the Childrensalon vision of dressing children beautifully, Childrensalon Outlet offers the best of ‘out-of-season’ items as well as individual collections sourced directly from the biggest brands, such as Ralph Lauren and more at up to 70% less than the original price. With its bright red facade complete with fairy tale characters trumpeting your entrance and a beautiful mural designed by Childrensalon’s Chief Creative Officer, George Harriman-Smith, and the famous toy trains inside, the Childrensalon Outlet will be like flying to Neverland or falling into Wonderland.
• Childrensalon Outlet, 9 High Street, Tunbridge Wells TN1 1UL.
SPOTLIGHT ON La Casa Vecchia
La Casa Vecchia restaurant, based in the heart of the historic Pantiles, is the perfect place for an evening meal or bite to eat at lunchtime. If you are looking for a relaxed, sophisticated and delicious meal then look no further than La Casa Vecchia!
• La Casa Vecchia, 70-72 The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells TN2 5TW, call 01892 544700 or visit lcvrestaurant.co.uk
I Was Born On The Pantiles
Josephine Butcher was born in a house opposite the bandstand on The Pantiles. And her delightful book, Tunbridge Wells, I was born on the Pantiles, is a record of what happened in the first 25 years of her life and includes the period from just before the First World War in 1914 up to shortly before the Second World War in 1939, as well as the present time.
Josephine’s family’s shop extended as far along The Pantiles as the Tobacconists – next door to it was the sweet shop, Jupps. The Pump Room was across the road. As Josephine recalls: “My brother’s favourite shop was Maynards sweet shop which was very near to our house – next door to Swan Hotel. Just past Maynards, there was a fur shop…and further along, there was the Hand and Sceptre Hotel, but I think it was called Parker and Hammicks.
“I hope you will agree with me when I say how lucky we are to be living in the Garden of England, because this is what it is called here. We’ve got everything really!”
• Tunbridge Wells, I was born on the Pantiles by Josephine Butcher (ISBN 0951671502), available from Amazon.
SPOTLIGHT ON Woods Restaurant & Bars
Get set to celebrate the Easter holidays at Woods Restaurant & Bars on The Pantiles when, from Saturday 6th-Monday 22nd April (inclusive) kids eat free (one child per adult, eating a dish from our main menu). Every child eating from the Kids Menu will receive a lucky dip envelope after their meal, along with a small Easter egg. Ten lucky winners will receive a large Easter egg, with one receiving the star prize – a giant Easter egg! Take part in our Kids Easter Photo Competition* Take an Easter photo of your offspring at Woods (using our props table provided) and post on our Facebook page to enter. The winner will receive a family ticket to Crazy Jean’s Soap Box Race in Dunorlan Park on 8th June, and the runner-up will receive a giant Easter egg. Easter Sunday – enjoy our special brunch, lunch or afternoon tea menus… booking recommended! * Check our website and Facebook page for full details and competition T&Cs.
• Woods Restaurant & Bars, 62 & 64 The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells TN2 5TN, call 01892 614411 or visit woodsrestaurant.co.uk
SPOTLIGHT ON Gray-Webster Gallery
Gray-Webster Gallery is a large gallery offering a range of high quality paintings and drawings by British artists from both the 19th and 20th centuries at competitive prices. We also offer a museum quality restoration and valuation service for works in all media, as well as providing a sourcing service if you require work by a particular artist or craftsman.
• Gray-Webster Gallery, 4 Nevill Street, The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells TN2 5SA, call 01892 522750 or visit gray-webstergallery.com
SPOTLIGHT ON David Carpenter Watch Service Centre
Tunbridge Wells is set to have its own independent Watch Service Centre as David Carpenter is due to open its doors in the next few weeks. Situated on the High Street, next to Cafe Nero, David Carpenter promises to bring a professional team of watchmakers who will service, repair and restore your most valuable timepieces. David is soon to announce several renowned and diverse watch brands to bring a unique horological style to Tunbridge Wells.
• Call 01892 263401, email email@example.com or visit davidcarpenterwatches.com
Culture & entertainment
Simply soak up the culture, admire the fascinating history and architecture of the famous colonnaded walkway – The Pantiles – search out independent shops and studios in the quaint streets nestling off the High Street, on the High Street itself or in the cobbled and charming walkway of Chapel Place. Alongside its vast wealth of retail outlets, spring/summer sees the area come to life with a series of live events, including Jazz on The Pantiles kicking off in May and on every Thursday during the summer from 7pm, as well as live music at The Grey Lady (greylady.co.uk) and The Forum (twforum.co.uk), the town’s landmark music venue, and Soul Train, to name but a few.
Also, make a date in your diary for The Pantiles Markets, which take place every first and third weekend of the month – a fantastic way to while away a morning and early afternoon and experience the hustle and bustle of the market, featuring a wide variety of local produce, tasty treats, designer clothes and artisan crafts. Discover something new each time you visit, with a host of seasonal themes, guest traders and ever-changing ranges from regular stalls.
SPOTLIGHT ON Poggenpohl
Situated on The Pantiles, this small but perfectly designed studio hints at what is achievable by showcasing fragments of Poggenpohl’s product ranges. From the outside, the historical building is a subtle dark green facade, complementing the unspoilt beauty and elegant charm of The Pantiles walkway. Behind the freshly-renovated facade, customers can expect a modern contrasting range: the award-winning +VENOVO is the focus of the new studio, with its elegant, functional and minimalist design. This innovative kitchen newcomer has been designed deliberately as a solitaire, to stand alone in rooms and be attractive from all sides.
• Poggenpohl, 39-41 The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells TN2 5TE, call 01892 240745 or visit poggenpohl.com
SPOTLIGHT ON Fashion Carpets
Tunbridge Wells’ premier supplier of high quality floor covering, carpet, wood, laminate and vinyl, we are a long-established family-run business and have built an unrivalled reputation for providing a truly personal service. Alongside our impressive selection of quality carpets we also stock a range of rugs, including Crucial Trading and Louis De Poortere.
• Fashion Carpets, 42 High Street, Tunbridge Wells TN1 1XF, call 01892 528676 or visit fashioncarpets.co.uk
SPOTLIGHT ON The CakeShed
New owner Joe Glenister has taken over the much-loved cafe, The CakeShed. Situated in the heart of The Pantiles, The CakeShed quickly became one of the most popular cafes in Tunbridge Wells since its doors were opened six-and-a-half years ago by Francesca Gilpin. Known for its high quality coffee and loose-leaf teas, luxurious cakes and gourmet sandwiches, The CakeShed has played host to live music, art exhibitions and a poetry trail. “I would like to thank Francesca for all the work she has put in to create The CakeShed. I am really excited to meet all of our guests and looking forward to working with the fantastic team, to continue all the things that make The CakeShed great, but also progress the journey with some new and exciting ideas. Watch this space!”
• The CakeShed, 32 The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells TN2 5TN, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01892 457357.
The Pantiles Market diary dates
• April 6th & 7th, 20th & 21st
• May 4th & 5th, 18th & 19th
• June 1st & 2nd, 15th & 16th
• July 6th & 7th, 20th & 21st
• August 3rd & 4th, 17th & 18th
• August 31st & September 1st
• For more market dates, visit thepantiles.com
Did you know?
Our historic spa town is one of the delightful Seven Wonders of the Weald, and is full to the brim with picturesque parks and places to let your dog roam free. Or why not take a stroll down the famous Pantiles where you find lots of cafes to enjoy a coffee. The Pantiles Cafe and Framptons allow dogs inside, so perfect if you’re visiting on a typical sunshine and showers spring day!
• Visit sevenwonders.org.uk
SPOTLIGHT ON Style My Home
Style My Home are an independent interior design company situated in The Pantiles offering a comprehensive range of design services from initial design consultation through to complete project management services. More recently, in this more difficult house market, we have experienced successful results working with clients and developers staging properties in preparation to sell. We use local contractors and suppliers and work in both residential and commercial properties. If you wish to refurbish your home or work place, or need to maximise your property’s potential to sell, give us a call.
• Style My Home, Royal Victoria House, 51-55 The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells TN2 5TE, call 01892 510070, email email@example.com or visit stylemyhome.com
SPOTLIGHT ON Pincushion
Located in a beautiful listed building on The Lower Walk in The Pantiles, Pincushion is a new shop excited to be selling quality quilting fabrics such as Liberty, Kaffe Fassett, Tilda and Moda. They also supply notions needed for quilting as well as handmade gifts. Why not join one of the beginner or advance creative workshops with experienced teachers for a friendly relaxed learning atmosphere? Or pop into work on projects, meet new friends, share knowledge and find inspiration. Everything you need for quilting and sewing projects supplied.
• Pincushion, 25 Lower Walk, The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells TN2 5TD, call 07903 252477 or visit pincushionpantiles.co.uk
SPOTLIGHT ON Bella Vou
Bella Vou offer clients a uniquely individual approach to cosmetic and plastic surgery. Boasting some of the most renowned surgeons and doctors in the UK as part of their team from their boutique clinic in the beautiful and historic Pantiles, and offering a wide range of procedures – from face and body plastic surgery to non-surgical procedures including varicose vein and woman’s intimate health – lead by British trained consultant plastic surgeons and doctors. Complimentary consultations available during April, simply quote INDEX. To find out more about the procedures available, visit bellavou.co.uk
• Bella Vou, Pantiles Clinic, 45-47 The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells TN2 5TE, call 01892 257357 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Flight of the Phoenix
The 2018 Tunbridge Wells Civic Society awards honoured the restoration of the splendid sculptured sign above the new Poggenpohl showroom on The Pantiles. For many years it has been thought of as a phoenix, and assumed to have originally represented the Phoenix Assurance Co. Yet...it seems, it was never a phoenix! The sign appears to show a bird rising out of the flames – and therefore a phoenix – but they aren’t flames. The bird is sitting on a red, fur-lined hat, and is in fact, an eagle!
• Visit thecivicsociety.org
We’re now a BID!
From 1st April, Royal Tunbridge Wells will become a Business Improvement District or BID. A BID is a defined geographical area – in this case the whole town centre of Royal Tunbridge Wells from the Lower Pantiles up to the top of Mount Ephraim and the end of Camden Road, encompassing the entire town centre. A Business Improvement District is a business-led, business-funded partnership, formed via a ballot to improve a defined area to benefit its members. A BID lasts for five years and then businesses are consulted again about whether they want to continue as a BID for a further five-year period.
BID projects are always in addition to local authority services, not replacements for them. The aims of a BID are:
• To allow businesses to decide and direct what they want for the area.
• To allow businesses to be represented and have a voice in issues affecting the area.
• Invest BID levy funds to benefit businesses in the BID area.
• Deliver tangible benefits to local businesses.
• To be equitable and sustainable.
Putting Chapel Place on the Map 2019!
Chapel Place is the charming, hidden gem of stylish and unique, small independents, nestled between the High Street and the more famous Pantiles. Chapel Place is the pretty, easily missed traffic-free walkway, lined with a fantastic choice of fashion and lifestyle boutiques, shops, cafes and bars – places to shop, places to stop, places to eat and drink, places to browse and to easily lose yourself, if only for a short while.
A vibrant community of creative people and dedicated shopkeepers, Chapel Place is paved with the spa town’s iconic red pan tiles and is home to a mix of gorgeous residential, retail and historic architecture, including the landmark Bedford Terrace row of breathtakingly pretty Georgian homes, and the town’s oldest building – the church of King Charles the Martyr with its distinct and highly photogenic white weatherboard clock tower.
So, for a taste of Tunbridge Wells’ town life, shopping and social as it should be, visit Chapel Place this spring! Find us on the updated full-colour town map supported by Royal Tunbridge Wells Together – soon available from the Tourist Information Office and many premium sites around town.
• Chapel Place, Royal Tunbridge Wells TN1 1YQ. @welovechapelplace
SPOTLIGHT ON Gabriella Fine Jewellery
We are passionate about designing and sourcing the finest pieces of jewellery and focus on providing exceptional customer experience, knowledge and expertise. Our Managing Director, Richard Burrell, started his career in Hatton Garden in 1963 and is still very much hands on. We offer a bespoke commissions service, taking old pieces of jewellery and remodelling them, along with a 48 hour jewellery repair service, same day valuations and battery changes.
Opening times. Mon-Sat 9.30am – 5.30pm
Address. 9 Chapel Place
T. 01892 540216
SPOTLIGHT ON Gray & Co
Your ‘go-to’ modern menswear and denim specialist independent in the heart of Tunbridge Wells. Offering an expertly curated number of smaller Scandinavian, European and British collections to bring you a fantastic choice of easy to wear, seasonal wardrobe essentials – smart casualwear, jeans, beachwear and fashion footwear.
Opening Times. Mon-Sat – 10am-5.30pm, Sun – 11am-4pm
Address. 8a Chapel Place
T. 01892 315684
SPOTLIGHT ON The Silver Sheep
A joyous riot of all things hand-crafted, the unique boutique gift shop, workshops and spacious gallery sources and showcases a diverse and enthralling collection of many sustainable, locally made products - from exquisite glassware and ceramics, to bespoke jewellery and knitwear - that can be commissioned and created for you by owners, Caroline and Sylvia. Now offering popular courses and workshops.
Opening Times. Mon-Sat – 10am-5.30pm
Address. 10-12 Chapel Place
T. 01892 459085
SPOTLIGHT ON The Chapel Hairdressers
We completely reinvented the hairdressing experience 22 years ago because we listened to what women universally disliked about hairdressing. Discover why we have 30+ industry awards.
Opening Times. Mon 9am – 5pm (Telephone bookings only). Tues 9am – 6pm. Weds-Thurs 9am – 8pm. Fri 9am – 6pm. Sat 9am – 5pm
Address. Chapel Place
T. 01892 549900
SPOTLIGHT ON le petit jardin
The destination for your home and al fresco life. A curated range of needful things and ethically produced homeware; from Aleppo soap to natural household goods and classic French glassware. An official stockist of vibrant Fermob garden furniture in its array of 24 colours. We proudly stock hand-crafted garden tools, lighting, enamelware and cosy blankets for those campfire evenings, add a tin of our olives you’re there. Live plein air!
Address. 14-16 Chapel Place
T. 01892 541152
SPOTLIGHT ON Babycino
An independent family-friendly cafe, open to all, seven days a week. Our ethos is to provide a family-friendly environment, sourcing local produce and coffee. Babycino has a fun, safe, stimulating play area on the bottom floor of the cafe, with baby changing facilities, buggy parking and weekly classes taking place in our upstairs space. Babycino is available for private functions.
Opening Times. Mon-Fri – 9.30am-5pm. Sat – 10am-5pm. Sun – 10am-4pm
Address. 13 Chapel Place
SPOTLIGHT ON Hall’s Bookshop & Adrian Harrington Rare Books
Hall’s Bookshop opened in 1898, and remains an anchoring historical presence in Chapel Place beside King Charles the Martyr, the oldest building in Tunbridge Wells. Hall’s sells attractive second-hand books in every field, and to suit every budget. Upstairs is Adrian Harrington Rare Books which specialises in rare books, especially Ian Fleming, Arthur Conan Doyle, Winston Churchill and Agatha Christie.
Opening Times. Mon-Sat – 9.30am-5.30pm
Address. 20-22 Chapel Place
T. 01892 547531
SPOTLIGHT ON Anna Poulsen
Danish-born designer Anna Poulsen’s fashion and lifestyle boutique offers a range of clothes and accessories as individual as you are. All hand chosen by Anna – who also designs and makes the leather fashion and accessories – pop in and see for yourself the new spring range comprising comfy yet stylish trousers, dresses, knitwear, leather jackets, plus essential finishing touches, all in the season’s hot shades of orange and green, stripes, plains and patterns.
Address. 5 Chapel Place
T. 01892 532303
SPOTLIGHT ON Chapel Place Gin & Wine Bar
Tunbridge Wells’ hidden gem, at independently-owned Chapel Place Gin & Wine Bar we offer 130 gins – some made locally, others from around the world and many not usually found in your average bar. And of course, for those who haven’t quite caught the gin bug yet, there is a small selection of beer, rums, whiskies and vodkas. Pop in and enjoy the vibrant yet cosy atmosphere where the friendly and knowledgeable staff can guide you through what’s on offer.
Address. 18 Chapel Place
T. 01892 522304
SPOTLIGHT ON Peter Speaight Butchers
For all your needs with feeding the family over Easter and this spring, head to Peter Speaight Butchers in Chapel Place. Everything is local, free-range, grass-fed and organic. We also have dry-aged meats in a special dry-aged fridge, along with succulent spring lamb and beef joints, as well as the regular selection of homemade sausages and pies to gammon and cheeses.
Opening Times. Mon – 8am-2pm, Tues-Thurs – 8am-5pm, Fri – 8am-5.30pm, Sat – 8am-4pm.
Address. 15 Chapel Place
T. 01892 616668
SPOTLIGHT ON Seventeen
‘Seventeen’ at One Warwick Park is a celebrated and stylish gastronomic destination for modern food lovers! Set within the hotel’s stunning double height glass atrium, the modern restaurant is keen to source the freshest, local produce and to use global flavours and influences, combined with modern cooking techniques to proudly serve a wide range of seasonal options to suit every taste, throughout the day and evening.
Opening Times. Breakfast Mon-Sun – 7am-10am, Lunch Fri-Sun – 12noon-5.30pm, Dinner Thurs-Sat – 5.30pm-10pm
Address. 1 Warwick Park
T. 01892 520587
SPOTLIGHT ON One Warwick Park Hotel
A sophisticated and modern, 39 room boutique hotel perfectly located in the heart of Royal Tunbridge Wells. Nestled in the picture postcard pretty and vibrant Chapel Place, and just a stone’s throw from the famous Pantiles, this stunning hotel provides the perfect wedding venue, meeting and conference facilities, whilst also boasting its own impressive restaurant ‘Seventeen’ and brand new lux spa and beauty experience.
Address. 1 Warwick Park
T. 01892 520587