The Pantiles has been declared as one of the top ten ‘high streets’ for independent shops in the UK following research commissioned by American Express Shop Small.
The Tunbridge Wells retail and restaurant hub ranked third on the prestigious list – which was published by the Retail Times on November 23.
It was higher than some very well-known tourist traps, including Broadway in the Cotswolds, The Lanes in Brighton and Magdalane Street in Cambridge.
The only two high streets to rank higher than The Pantiles were Victoria Street and West Bow in Edinburgh and the High Street in Stockbridge in Hampshire.
The Pantiles, which is not officially known as a high street, was first created following the discovery of the chalybeate spring there in the early 17th century by Lord North.
It is now arguably better known for its diverse shops, businesses and mix of popular cafes, restaurants, and bars as well as its popular jazz nights which take place every Thursday throughout the summer months.
Many of the town’s locals and traders shared their delight on social media after hearing the news that American Express had declared it in the top three of the UK’s high streets.
Alex Green, CEO of RTW Together BID told the Times: “RTW Together is delighted that The Pantiles, one of the key sources of pride in our town, has been recognised as one of the best high streets in the country.
“We will continue to support the town with an aim to seek recognition for all our shopping areas within the town in future years.”
The list of ten high streets was identified by data analytics and consulting company, GlobalData using measures such as the highest proportion of independent outlets, the variety of business types, number of visitors, and shop occupancy rate.