Situated in the Old Fish Market in the Pantiles, the Tourist Information Office is the place to go to find out about accommodation, historic places of interest, guided walks, and other events happening in and around the Tunbridge Wells area. You can also buy postcards and souvenirs there.
Summer: Mon-Sat 9.00-17.00 Sunday 10.00-17.00
Winter: Mon-Sat 9.00-17.00 Sunday 10.00-16.00
Gorgeous park in the town centre, perfect for a spring morning stroll with a variety of plants, flowers, shrubs etc and a really welcoming tea room with outside terrace area. Lots of young families on the day we were there enjoying the mild weather.
It's well situated between the Pantiles and the Town Centre - so a good "half-way break" kinda place to stop for a cold drink or coffee.
The ever growing popularity of the Chalybeate Spring inevitably led to the spread of commerce nearby - but in Georgian 'Royal Tunbridge Wells' it happened in the most tasteful way possible, namely the construction of the 'Pantiles'.
The Pantiles (or the 'Walks' as they were known in the 18th century) were THE place for a pomp-filled promenade. The collonaded walkway was split into two distinct levels - the 'Upper Walks' for the toffs and gentry and the 'Lower Walks' for the rest of us! Back then, the local 'dandy' Richard Beau Nash patrolled to ensure that breakers of protocol were properly censured. Alas, this does not happen today...though it is worth noting that with a well-timed prang of your umbrella any skateboarder may be successfully tipped into the 'Lower Walks' where they most surely belong! The blaggards!!
Worth looking out for are the annual Sedan Chair races which take place along the Pantiles on Bank Holiday Monday at the end of August. Do doublecheck wth the Tourist Information Centre beforehand! Also you'll find a number of delightful shops including an excellent traditional toy shop with a great selection of board games and one of the best cookware shops you'll find anywhere in the UK.
Wander along the Pantiles and you cannot help but come across the Chalybeate Spring. It was discovered in it's natural rural state in 1606 by a 'hung-over' Dudley, Lord North who alighted from his horse and felt invigorated after drinking the iron-rich reddish waters. To be honest, I believe that anyone who stops to drink from a muddy red pool of water in the middle of a field would have to be mad or intoxicated to do so. No matter. the Spring became famous for it's restorative powers and by the 18th century it was a fully-developed feature of Regency Tunbridge Wells, where a gulp of the reddish brew would assuage your guilt after hours spent at the coffee house or the dicing tables.
Nowadays those wanting to sample the waters will probably have to visit dutring the Summer months. For those of you unable to make the trip, licking a wet iron bar might provide the sensory and culinary experience you crave. I have never 'taken the waters' anywhere - be it here, Bath or Buxton - without feeling as if I needed a medal for bravery for doing so. Bottoms up chaps!
Just inside the entrance of the Pantiles, the famous colonnaded shopping area in Royal Tunbridge Wells, is the mineral spring to which the town owes its existence - the Chalybeate Spring.
The spring was discovered in 1606 by a young nobleman, Dudley Lord North. He had the water analysed and then claimed it had miraculously cured him from a 'lingering consumptive disorder'. Chalybeate means it contains iron. Rainwater fell on ground containing iron deposits, soaked through them then rose in a spring.
I didn't get the opportunity to visit the museum on this occasion.
Open Monday to Saturday 9.30am - 5.00pm, Sunday 10.00am - 4.00pm. Closed Bank Holidays and Easter Saturday.
Admission is free.