Kent property finder – focus on Royal Tunbridge Wells

What is Tunbridge Wells like?

Tunbridge Wells has an atmosphere like that of the most elegant London ‘villages’, such as Chelsea and Notting Hill, with huge appeal for families, professionals and retirees alike. Firstly, the town has grand parks, laid out a bit like fashionable Regent’s Park. Also, there are a cosmopolitan range of shops and cafes in the historic and highly picturesque Pantiles which give a sophisticated air and an undeniable style. As a result, this is a town for genuinely gracious living. You can find out more at  Tunbridge Wells.

The Pantiles. Tunbridge Wells, Kent property finder, kent home finder, tunbridge wells property finder, tunbridge wells home finder
The Pantiles now
The Pantiles long ago

Property in Tunbridge Wells

The houses in Tunbridge Wells are predominantly Georgian or Victorian, with much of the town designated as a conservation area. New developments are often designed in a sympathetic style. The cream of the town’s property is to be found in ‘the Parks’, principally Calverley Park, Camden Park, Hungershall Park and Nevill Park. Original Regency villas in Calverley Park, designed by Decimus Burton, fetch a premium.

The cottages and townhouses of the ‘old village’ area around the High Street are popular with commuters who want to live within walking distance of the station.

Calverley Park Crescent

In addition, the surrounding countryside offers a wide range of properties. For instance cottages, farmhouses, oast and barn conversions, country mansions and estates, and contemporary and eco-houses. The popular villages include Penshurst, Speldhurst, Groombridge, Frant, Matfield and Brenchley.

The local scene

Green spaces are a major feature of the local lifestyle. The Common and Dunorlan Park provide swathes of woods, hills and landscaped grounds that extend right into the town centre.

Dunorlan Park

Much of the area is part of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Also, Ashdown Forestand Bewl Waterreservoir are close by. They offer glorious scenery and a wide range of things to do outdoors, while the coast is easily accessible — Rye, Camberand Eastbourneare popular local destinations. Find out more details about these attractions here.

Where to stay

In Victorian times, large numbers of people came to visit Royal Tunbridge Wells to “take the waters”. At the time the local Chalybeate Spring, naturally tasting of iron, was seen as a cure for anaemia. The town sprang up rapidly in response to this demand. As a result, there are many hotels, not least The Spa Hotel.

tunbridge wells hotels, tunbridge wells spa
The Spa Hotel

The bigger hotels also cater to weddings and other functions. However there are other options, for instance Salomons Estate.

Salomon’s Estate – available as a Wedding Venue

or High Rocks

both of which afford wonderful outdoor spaces for wedding photographs.

Getting about

South Eastern rail services provide direct access from Tunbridge Wells to Charing Cross (via London Bridge and Waterloo East) and Cannon Street in just under one hour. In addition, commuters can look ten minutes down the line, where the stations at Frant, Wadhurst and Stonegate offer easier parking and less congestion. Furthermore, the Uckfield line provides services to London Victoria.

Junction 5 of the M25 is about 10 miles up the A21, while Gatwick Airport is 22 miles away via the A264.

 

Schools in Tunbridge Wells

Many families move from London to Kent in order to take advantage of the grammar school system and the excellent independent schools in the area. The leading private schools are Sevenoaks School, Tonbridge School, St Leonard’s School in Mayfield and Eastbourne College. In addition, there are the sought-after grammar schools which include Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys, Tunbridge Wells Girls’ Grammar School and The Skinners’ School. Also, Judd School and Tonbridge Girls Grammar School are nearby.

Property Finder Spotlight: Best places in Kent for Grammar school places.

School

As a property finder, clients often ask me “where in Kent should we live to have the greatest chance of obtaining a grammar school place for our child?” This is frequently a prime requirement for parents with relatively bright children. They are keen to secure what they see as the best state education available for their child.

Work

Of course, other considerations will come into play, for instance places of employment. The train from Ashford to London takes about 1 hour 25mins,  TIMETABLE The return trip could become a bit of a drag at the end of a long working day. Parents may consider this an acceptable trade-off for a better chance of a Grammar school place as there are generally more schools in mid and South Kent where your child can “pass the Kent test (11-plus) and get in”, rather than competing for the places.

Villages
Property Search Consultants
Pluckley Church

There are some lovely villages in the Ashford area, including Pluckley which is five miles to the west. This picturesque village with its 900 years old Grade 1 listed church can be found in the Domesday book. It has a wealth of pretty cottages and village shops. Current Average Property value here is £536,000 although it is possible to buy a 4 bed semi-detached house for around the £380,000 mark. Nearby Smarden also offers fine examples of period property with its magnificent 15th and 16th Century Kentish hall houses. Your property finder can have access to off-market properties and sometimes get you a better deal.

It is far harder to obtain a place at the super selective Grammar schools in the Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks areas where competition is high. Here the “posh” factor comes into play in addition to close proximity to London and house prices reflect this. However, it is still possible to get quite a lot of house for your money. You can get a large 4 bed Edwardian semi-detached house in the pleasant market town of Tonbridge for around £475,000. In Tunbridge Wells just down the road the equivalent will cost you £ 25000-£50000 more.

Top Schools
Property Finder
Judd School

If you have a very intelligent boy you could consider St Olave’s in Orpington. ST OLAVES. However, as the state school which consistently comes top in all the league tables, competition for places here is fierce.  Only around 10% of those sitting the school’s own entrance exam are awarded a place. Like the other top Grammar schools, The Judd in Tonbridge for boys JUDD SCHOOL and Tonbridge Grammar School (TOGS) for girls TOGS, have no catchment area. They cherry-pick high achievers from far and wide.

Grafton Property Search
Maidstone Grammar School

Further east property is also more affordable in the county town of Maidstone which has several very good Grammar schools. Maidstone Grammar School MAIDSTONE GRAMMAR and Maidstone Grammar school for Girls MAIDSTONE GIRLS GRAMMAR, consistently come high up in the league tables. Although education is a major driver for the housing market in the town there is still plenty to choose from like the little nooks of terraces in the centre and the period homes and terraces between the centre and Mote Park. For posh suburbans try Loose to the south or Buckland Lane to the north-west and around London Road for detached Victorian and Edwardian Properties.

One of the many things your property finder can advise you on.