Deep in the heart of the Garden of England there’s a town renowned for it’s Royal Spa’s, hot chocolates and even Sid Vicious (yes, really!). Welcome to the world of Royal Tunbridge Wells through the eyes of a Yorkshire lass.
Hello there, I’m Stephanie and as a Yorkshire girl through and through I was born and raised in a town that produced the Chuckle Brothers (you’re welcome), a little town called Rotherham. But after graduating with a degree in English Language and Creative Writing, it was the career prospects of my better half that had us flying South one winter. I have been living in Tunbridge Wells for around 18 months now and am excited to share a few quirks about this Royal town which may even shock and surprise. With just a years analogue snapping experience under my belt I hesitate to admit that I am a new yet keen Lomographer, and am currently the proud owner of a Diana F+ (Hong Meow Edition) which although my first will not be my last analogue camera.
So, what is so Royal about Royal Tunbridge Wells I hear you ask? It seems only logical to start at the beginning. Tunbridge Wells was named after the Chalybeate Spring a mere 400 years ago and rumour has it the water was “health giving”. The spring itself is located amongst the famed Pantiles, once a summer haunt for Royals of England and still attracts many in the summertime eager for a sip of the famous medicinal water. I did promise a few quirks and The Pantiles does not disappoint having at one time housed the late punk figurehead that was Mr Sid Vicious! Surprisingly there have been more celebrity names to grace the paths of Tunbridge Wells including Shane MacGowan who was born in the town and one of Britain’s most famous female comics Jo Brand was taught at Tunbridge Wells Girls Grammar School.
However aside from the former celeb residents and miracle water there is much fun to be had in the seemingly reserved town of Tunbridge Wells especially for the music lovers among us. The Forum is the main venue about town, however something you may not know (or even want to) was that once upon a time The Forum was actually a public toilet, yes really and you can tell, but aren’t those dingy gigs always the best?
The Sussex Arms is renowned for its pub quiz on a Thursday night. There’s a prize every time as our team ‘The Yorkshire Puddings’ found out last week, taking away puzzles and a Betty Crocker cake mix after coming 6th in the running!
Another notable claim to fame has to be the Ismail hot chocolates and for jolly good reason. Rather than your average hot cocoa they use melted chocolate around the entire inside of the mug, fill it up with deliciously warm frothy milk and blob a nice large chocolate penny on the top for good measure and they are to die for (now wondering why on earth I gave up chocolate for lent…) The perfect remedy for a wintery afternoon.
So there you have it, Tunbridge Wells, punks, one heck of a hot chocolate and magical water, who knew?