Love Where You Live

This month SO magazine chats to Laura Gibson, co-founder of PR and Marketing company Calvermont, who talks about all the places she likes to support locally. Here Laura reveals where she likes to stroll, shop and socialise…


Whereabouts do you live in the borough of Tunbridge Wells?

I live in what’s known as ‘The Village’ area, next to Claremont Primary School on a little hidden away road called Poona. I believe the road was originally the servants’ quarters for Calverley Grounds. Apparently many of them were from Indian descent, hence the name.


How long have you lived there and what made you decide to move to the area?

We have lived there for five and a half years. The timing of our move was linked to my son’s age and schooling but we have always wanted to live in Tunbridge Wells. I went to Mayfield School and therefore Tunbridge Wells was my local town.


Are there any nice views or walks near to your home?

Our house overlooks the Claremont school field so it feels very green despite being so close to town. But for real views I love going up to The Common – it’s also a good place for a very social dog walk!


When you are in town where’s your favourite place to go shopping? Which retailers you especially like to support?

My favourite shops are Anthropologie, bod & ted  – which both on the High Street  – and Oliver Bonas in Royal Victoria Place. But other firm favourites are Stampede for children’s shoes and a cheeky sale item, and Locality for fresh veg. Both of these are located on Camden Road. I also like Fenwick, Hotel Chocolat and Lush, all located in Royal Victoria Place.


The PR and Marketing firm you co-founded with Olivia Thornhill is very much pro-local – why did you decide to focus on supporting the town’s businesses?

Running Calvermont we do our best to support a wide array of enterprises all over town. We know the town’s BID (Business Improvement District) is really keen on highlighting how varied Tunbridge Wells is and we are working hard with our colleagues at another PR firm, Colley Raine, to drive visitors to all parts of the town. The most recent maps that have been created are ace!


Where do you like to grab a tea, coffee or a slice of cake?

I like The Lodge down on the High Street for a coffee and cake. They are also really dog-friendly so I can take the hound – and a laptop if I have work to do.


Do you have a preferred restaurant you like to dine in regularly?

Without the children, Soprano is a firm favourite – the food and the atmosphere are always brilliant. With the children, we still enjoy the Smith & Western near The Pantiles – and my son is a fan of the pancakes at Bills.


Which places do you take people when they come to visit?

Lago on Castle Street is good when we have friends and family visiting as they make a big fuss of you and the food and service is wonderful. Another great place is The Hawkenbury on Forest Road. It was formerly The Lyle but since then a lot of work has gone into the menu. There are now some great children’s meals too and all the food is sourced locally which is a big win!


Where’s the best spot to go for a Sunday stroll in the area?

I really like a ramble down the market on The Pantiles, but for somewhere a bit further out of town then the Broadwater Down or Hargate Forest are nice places to walk and they also boast good views.


If you’re looking to relax and unwind, where’s your favourite place to go?

I would say the spa at Natural Fit, or getting my nails done at Cee Cee on Monson Road are good places to relax. And you can’t beat an al fresco drink with a friend anywhere on The Pantiles.


Where do you like to meet friends and socialise?

There are so many places my friends and I socialise but The White Bear on the High Street has recently become a favourite for its beautiful design and great menu. Framptons is lovely for brunch and The Hawkenbury is great for socialising.


What do you like to do when you spend a weekend or day off in the local area?

I will do a workout and enjoy a spa treatment at Natural Fit on Calverley Road, followed by a lunch out somewhere like the Persian Lounge with friends. Then I’ll take a trip to either a local park or a clamber over Wellington Rocks with the children!


Why do you love where you live?

I love where I live because there is the perfect mix of live, work and play all on our doorstep. The town is 40 minutes from London Bridge but has so many thriving businesses based in the town centre and a brilliant creative and legal sector too. Contrast this with 100+ open green spaces to choose from, interesting high streets full of successful independents, a great community, exceptional educational facilities and local architecture, it’s fair to say we are really blessed!

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