Tunbridge Wells comes out tops

BLOOMING MARVELLOUS: Calverley Grounds is full of colour as the town takes part in Britain in Bloom 2023

While Tunbridge Wells has long been hailed for its upmarket eateries, boutique shopping, plentiful green spaces and exceptional schooling, some of our residents have been making an impact at both regional and national levels. This week, the Times proudly celebrates several of those who help to make our town exceptional.

The gardens and green spaces of Tunbridge Wells are serious fields of contention, not just for gardeners but also for towns themselves.

One competition going on year-round is the Royal Horticultural Society’s ‘Britain in Bloom’ competition, for which a town can only qualify after winning the regional award.

Having been awarded a gold medal in the South & South East In Bloom competition last September, Royal Tunbridge Wells is now in the 2023 Britain in Bloom competition, in the small city category.

All finalists will be visited by a pair of Britain in Bloom judges this summer, and winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in autumn.

Local suppliers are holding their own, producing regionally and nationally recognised food and drink.

In the recent Taste of Kent Awards (ToKA), judges awarded a silver medal to High Brooms-based Pig & Porter brewery for its ‘Caravan’ bitter.

Now back to pre-pandemic levels of trade, Pig & Porter is still growing, with plans to establish a permanent tap room and retail/event space at the brewery in Chapman Way, says founder Robin Wright.

“We were hugely honoured to be in a room with so many other terrific, local businesses,” he added.

The Muddy Stilettos website is a stalwart champion of local producers and shops, and this year’s Kent awardS were no exception, highlighting the importance of farming and the land to the local economy.

On the High Street in Tunbridge Wells, The Cove came up roses in the ‘florist’ category. The company also sells wines, spirits and scents.

Meanwhile, Groombridge Farm Shop was named best farm shop/deli in the county.

The Kent portal of the popular family and lifestyle website said 77,000 businesses had been nominated and users cast 800,000 votes for the 2023 award.

However, other Tunbridge Wells locals are receiving national recognition, too.

Nail business owner Erin Esty was named ‘Nail Technician of the Year’ in the English Nails Brows Lashes (ENBL) Awards. Not only did she beat eight other nail technicians in the South East, but across England as well.

Hearing her name called at the ceremony in Manchester was a shock to Erin because nails are such a competitive sector in which it is hard to stand out, she told the Times.

Little Mount Sion-based salon Hidden Hair has carried off the Southern regional prize in the prestigious L’Oréal Colour Trophy, topping a shortlist of 20.

Entrants for the 67-year-old industry award compete to create a ‘colour look’, taking inspiration from current trends as well as anticipating future fashions.

The nine-month-old business received its trophy in a day-long show-cum-ceremony in London on July 10.

Making Tunbridge Wells proud, Salomons Estate, situated just two miles outside town, has taken first place in the ‘Heritage Wedding Venue of the Year’ category at the Kent Wedding Awards .

Now in its 10th year, the Kent Wedding Awards celebrate the best wedding professionals and services that the county has to offer.

As reported in the Times last week, the accolade from the Good Food Guide is something to celebrate.

Although reader nominations get eateries on to the list, Good Food Guide editors and inspectors visit every restaurant themselves. They also should offer regularly changing, seasonal menus at affordable prices and demonstrate being rooted in the local community, maintaining strong relationships with local suppliers.

Southborough restaurant Tallow has been on that list since 2022, the year after it opened, when it made it to number 91. This year, it made it all the way to the top, when it was named ‘Britain’s Best Local Restaurant’ earlier this month.

According to the judges’ summation: “This is the perfect neighbourhood restaurant, embodying everything we champion.

“‘Faultlessly wonderful” is how one loyal follower describes Tallow, and we can’t argue with that,” said the judges.

Share this article

Recommended articles


Please enter a search term below.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter