I mentioned a little while ago about wanting to escape London for a bit - that I found London to be quite exhausting and that it helped me, well, not hate living here so much if I could just take a break once in while. If nothing else, sometimes it's nice to be able to walk down a street without being bashed out of the way, or without wanting to bash a tourist out of the way. Anyway...this little trip was to Royal Tunbridge Wells. A slightly odd choice, but I needed to go to Lakeland and there are no where near enough stores in London, and I sure as hell don't want to spend my Saturday afternoon fighting with people in White City or Stratford.
So why not combine it with a trip somewhere? It was a pretty quick and easy journey out of London, which would have been quicker had I realised that the train station near my boyfriends house was the second stop on the trip, rather than us walking half an hour to get the train from its first stop. Div. At at £15 for a return, it wasn't extortionate either. Plus - I'm trying to see more of England one weekend at a time.
The first thing we did when we arrived was head to The Grove, which was probably the perfect place to start for a trip to Tunbridge Wells in Autumn. The Grove is well known for its trees, and there are hundreds of them, which also meant there were thousands of leaves. I resisted the urge to run through the park kicking them all up into the air, but other people in the park definitely didn't - I can't say I blame them!
Afterwards, we headed to some of the smaller streets surrounding the park, moving towards our ultimate aim of going to the Pantiles. Tunbridge Wells is well known for its Victorian and Georgian architecture (which are my favourite, so I was completely in my element). Just near where one of these photos was taken, there was a pub called The Grove, where the drinkers appeared to be having a singalong, just like they do when they crack the piano out in the Queen Vic in Eastenders. I probably could have spent a lot more time wandering the streets to have a look at the gorgeous houses which were squeezed down some of the back streets
Finally, we went to what is probably the biggest attraction of Tunbridge Wells (!), the Pantiles. The Pantiles is a Georgian colonnade of shops, with some of the prettiest buildings in the whole town, full of shops and restaurants. A lot of the restaurants allowed you to eat outside, and the whole place felt slightly more French than being sat in Kent. The first shop we went into was Chegworth Farm Shop, which stocked Monmouth coffee and some tasty looking juice options and had a really pretty and Autumnal window display.
We also spent a lot of time in Trevor Mottram, which is one of the best kitchen shops I've come across in a long time (and actually, much better than going to Lakeland, which was half of the reason for the trip in the first place). The shop was stuffed full of kitchen stuff, and there were some incredibly good bargains in there. I managed to stock up on cup measuring pans, icing syringes, edible glitter and two cookie cutters for under £15 - but even better were the staff, who were friendly, helpful and up for a chat. If you ever find yourself in this corner of Kent, it's definitely worth a visit.
So if you fancy a quick trip to escape busy crowds and you're in need of bakeware, you probably won't go wrong with Tunbridge. I'll probably be back!