In Georgian times a day’s stage-coach ride could get you from London to Tunbridge Wells, thus The Pantiles in Royal Tunbridge Wells was a major holiday destination for the gentry and royalty.
The discovery in 1606 of a Spring with distinctive reddish tinted mineral deposits led to the development of the Pantiles and Royal Tunbridge Wells. The practice of drinking from natural springs for health dates back to Roman times and the practice of taking these natural waters for health purposes became more popular among the nobility during the reign of Elizabeth I. Parties would leave the Court and travel to the established Spa towns of Bath and Buxton. Tunbridge Wells quickly became the most fashionable drinking spa as it was closer to London.
Away from Court they took advantage of the opportunities provided to establish relationships with individuals from different social backgrounds and the concept of a holiday as we know it today was born.
As there was no accommodation available at that time, the Royal entourage camped on the Common. It was not until the latter part of the 17th century that the first permanent lodging houses were erected in the area.
Today the Pantiles has a variety of specialist shops, art galleries, cafés, restaurants and bars. In summertime jazz bands play outside on the bandstand. It is a fabulous place to hang out with a chilled glass of white on a warm summer afternoon.