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.
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, tel. 08457 484950.
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.
Arriva is the bus company that operates in Tonbridge. Timetables and fares are available on their website. Buy your ticket from the driver when you board the bus.
The main taxi rank is at the train station, although you can order a taxi by telephone to pick you up from anywhere.
The Humphry bean (on the high street) or the warf are good places to drink
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 and the other to The Hilden Manor.
Other places of interest in the Tonbridge area