What to See in England
By Gordon Home
Public Domain Books
=How to get there.=–Train from Charing Cross, Cannon Street, or London Bridge. South-Eastern and Chatham Railway. =Nearest Station.=–Tunbridge Wells. =Distance from London.=–34-1/2 miles. =Average Time.=–Varies between 1 to 2 hours.
1st 2nd 3rd =Fares.=–Single 5s. 10d. 3s. 8d. 2s. 8-1/2d. Return 10s. 0d. 7s. 4d. 5s. 5d.
=Accommodation Obtainable.=–"Spa Hotel,” “The Swan Hotel," “Castle Hotel,” “Carlton Hotel,” etc. =Alternative Route.=–Train from Victoria, Holborn Viaduct, and St. Paul’s. South-Eastern and Chatham Railway.
At the same time that Epsom began to become known as a watering-place, Tunbridge Wells was rapidly growing into a famous inland resort. The wells were discovered by Lord North in 1606, while he was staying at Eridge, and in a few years Tunbridge Wells became the resort of the monied and leisured classes of London and other parts of the kingdom. From that time to this the town has been one of the most popular of England’s inland watering-places.
The Tunbridge Wells of to-day is a charming and picturesque town. “The Pantiles,” with its row of stately limes in the centre and the colonnade in front of its shops, is unique among English towns. Readers of Thackeray’s Virginians will remember his description of the scene on the Pantiles in the time of powdered wigs, silver buckles, and the fearful and wonderful “hoop.”
At the end of the Pantiles is the red brick church of King-Charles-the-Martyr, the only one with any claim to antiquity in the town; the rest are all quite modern.
Walks and excursions around Tunbridge Wells are numerous. The common, with its mixture of springy turf, golden gorse, with here and there a bold group of rocks, is one of the most beautiful in the home counties, and in whatever direction one wanders there are long views over far-stretching wooded hills and dales.
Rusthall Common, about a mile from the town, though somewhat smaller than that of Tunbridge Wells, commands more extensive views.
One great feature of interest at Rusthall Common is the group of rocks, of which the largest, the Toad Rock, bears a most singular resemblance to the reptile from which it is named. The High Rocks, situated further on, and just in the county of Sussex, are also very remarkable, rising from 30 to 60 feet in height.
[Illustration: THE TOAD ROCK
On Rusthall Common, Tunbridge Wells.]
[Illustration: Photochrom Co., Ltd. THE PANTILES, TUNBRIDGE WELLS.]