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Tonbridge

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Kent : Tonbridge
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Tonbridge [1] is a town in West Kent, in South-East England.

Understand

Situated on the banks of the river Medway, Tonbridge has been a market town since the Earl of Gloucester was granted the right to hold a weekly market in 1259. A castle was built there in the 11th century by Richard Fitzgilbert, a nobleman in William the Conqueror's invading army, and rebuilt in the 13th century.

The town and its surrounding areas became famous for the production of finely inlaid wooden cabinets, boxes and other objects, which were called "Tunbridgeware".

Tonbridge was spelt "Tunbridge" until 1870, but the spelling of the name was changed in an effort to avoid confusion with nearby Tunbridge Wells, a larger, but considerably newer, town about five miles to the south.

Get in

By car

The main roads into Tonbridge are the A21, which runs from the M25 down to Hastings, the A26, which goes south to Brighton and north to Maidstone and the A227 which also goes north to Gravesend.

By train

Tonbridge station is the main train station in West Kent and is used by 3.8 million passengers a year. It is situated very near the centre of town. It is on the mainline to the Kent Coast serving Dover, Ramsgate and Margate as well as the mailine serving Tunbridge Wells and Hastings. Services also available to Gatwick Airport via Redhill and Maidstone via Paddock Wood. London is served by six off peak services an hour and takes between 30 and 45 minutes depending on whether the train is direct or a stopper service. Tickets cost about £10.

Fare and timetable information is available from South East Trains [2], tel. 08457 484950.

By bus

It is possible to reach Tonbridge by bus from such towns Brighton, Maidstone and even London (which would involve a few changes).

Get around

The centre of Tonbridge is fairly small, and can easily be travelled on foot. As with most other towns in England, the town is well serviced by buses and taxis.

By bus

Arriva is the bus company that operates in Tonbridge. Timetables and fares are available on their website [3]. Buy your ticket from the driver when you board the bus.

By taxi

The main taxi rank is at the train station, although you can order a taxi by telephone to pick you up from anywhere.

For Pre Booked Journeys try:

  • MS Executive Chauffeurs [4] - +44 1892 513042 or 0800 980 7252
  • Kent Chauffeurs [5]

See

  • Tonbridge Castle [6]

Do

  • Hire a boat and potter about on the Medway
  • Take a walk or go fishing at the lakes in Hayesden Country Park
  • Take a visit to Source of Sound nightclub (abbreviated to 'SOS' or 'Source' by locals) which is a fine establishment and not one bit dodgy.

Buy

Eat

Drink

  • The Humphry Bean (on the high street) or the wharf are good places to drink.

Sleep

  • The "Rose and Crown Hotel" in the centre of Tonbridge is an obvious, if expensive place to stay.
  • A mile from the north-west of the town, along the B245 towards Hildenborough, is the "Langley Hotel".

The town is also served by two Premier Travel Inns. Both about one mile from the town centre. One is attached to The Vauxhall Inn (at the A21/A26 junction to the south) and the other to The Hilden Manor (B245 towards Hildenborough to the north-west).

Get out

Other places of interest in the Tonbridge area

  • The World of Activities at The Hop Farm, Paddock Wood, tel: 01622 872068, e-mail: info@thehopfarm.co.uk. Open from 10:00–17:00, 7 days a week (except 1 December - 7 February). Once a working hop farm, it now offers a wide variety of attractions and events. See website for details [7]
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