In theknow: Matt Biddle

Royal Victoria Grove was planted in honour of Queen Victoria's visit to Tunbridge Wells

The owner of The Black Dog on Camden Road tells us about his favourite places locally

Where do you live, and what made you decide to move there?
I live in Rye, we have been there three years. Tunbridge Wells was proving expensive for a growing family and it turned into a blessing. Rye and its surrounds is a wonderful part of the world and my work/life balance has improved 100%.

What’s your favourite shop locally, and where’s best for a coffee or spot of lunch while you’re out?
My favourite shop is Locality on Camden Road. To have our fruit and veg supplier across the road is a luxury in these times, with fresh local produce from their farm and other local suppliers. The shop itself is a delight for the senses, the colours, smells and peaceful ambience…like shopping used to be.
For coffee it has to Fine Grind if I’m down down that side of town and for a bite to eat I spend a bit of time at Gusta on Camden Road for that Italian hospitality and the best pesto in town.�

How about nightlife – where do you go for drinks and dinner?
Over the last five years Tunbridge Wells has improved greatly on the evening options, particularly the independents with the broad range of styles and quality we’re seeing. For drinks it has to be Fuggles, on the back of the UK beer revolution they changed the landscape for drinking out in Tunbridge Wells and it reminds me very much of the bars of Melbourne. For food I can’t go past Rendezvous. Mark the owner was born to be a restaurateur – there’s no other feel like it in the town.�

Where’s the best place to go for a Sunday stroll?
For a town the size of Tunbridge Wells we are spoilt for choice on the Sunday stroll options available. For me if you’re on foot then High Rocks and up to the Beacon for a spot of lunch and views galore can’t be beaten. If you have a car available then a visit to the Ashdown Forest is a must with spectacular views and walking tracks in every direction across open heathland.�

Where do you take people when they come to visit?
For me it’s The Pantiles, it’s spectacular and the�number one showcase for the town, especially in summer when the al fresco dining comes in to play. However I recently sent an Aussie friend on a tour of the town and his highlight was The Common. Quintessentially English with the woodland, common, Wellington rocks and the cricket ground and so close to the centre of town.�

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