Formerly known as simply Tunbridge Wells, Royal Tunbridge Wells is a spa town is located in western Kent. It’s situated around 30 miles south-east of the centre of London. The town has a population of approximately 56,500 people. It is seen as a highly desirable place to live and originally took its name from the natural springs in the area as well as the nearby town of Tonbridge, which was once called ‘Tunbridge’.
When did Tunbridge Wells become ‘Royal’?
The town became ‘Royal’ in 1989. It is one of only three English towns with ‘royal’ in their name. The others are Royal Wootton Bassett and Royal Leamington Spa. It has been visited by figures from the Royal Family on many occasions and was able to count Queen Victoria and King Edward VII as big fans.
An excellent reputation
In a 2014 Halifax Quality of Life survey, Royal Tunbridge Wells was named as one of the UK’s best places to live, charting at #31. It was voted as the second-best place to live in Kent after Sevenoaks. Royal Tunbridge Wells residents enjoy just under 33 hours of sunshine each week on average. The survey found the town had an overall life satisfaction rating of 7.3, and that over 96% of its people were in good health. A survey carried out by Rightmove round that it was Britain’s 5th happiest place to live.
More facts about Royal Tunbridge Wells
In 1974, the Tunbridge Wells parliamentary constituency was formed. The seat has remained Conservative ever since. Tunbridge Wells’ official twin town is Wiesbaden in Germany, which is also a spa town. The town is also home to one of the UK’s oldest motor clubs, TWMC. The club oversees a substantial number of non-competitive events each year. Tunbridge Wells also played host to the country’s first-ever motor show in 1895.
The town is also noted for its architecture. Some of its most renowned buildings include Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery, Scotney Castle and the former Opera House, which is now a Wetherspoons pub. Each year, the pub is used as an opera house once again for a few days.
Famous residents past and present
Tunbridge Wells is also home to a large number of well-known figures. People who were raised in the area include Jo Brand and Dame Kelly Holmes, and Bob Mortimer and Davina McCall have resided in the town. Nick Knowles was educated at the local Skinners’ School.
Tunbridge Wells in folklore
According to folklore, Royal Tunbridge Wells even has its very own ‘big foot’. Sightings of a tall ape-like being have been reported since way back in the early 1940s, and some claim there are up to 20 ghosts at The Pantiles, which is home to a range of shops, cafes, restaurants, bars, art galleries, and a Farmers Market.
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