20 Years From Now...

"20 YEARS FROM NOW," Mark Twain said, “you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than the ones you did.”THIS online journal is dedicated to our next 20 years!

Friday, 23 February 2018

Royal Tunbridge Wells

Today marks the end of our latest house and pet sit in Royal Tunbridge Wells.

More about the housesit later, but first let's back up a little to February 4/18 when we returned to Gatwick from Guernsey. The next day we picked up our rental car in Leatherhead and from there drove to Royal Tunbridge Wells where we stayed three nights at the Travelodge before beginning our housesit February 8/18.

Unlike most English towns that can trace their origins back a thousand years Royal Tunbridge Wells is a relatively new settlement.

It all began when Dudley Lord North discovered a Chalybeate Spring here in 1606.

Chalybeate water contains a significant level of dissolved mineral salts with iron and manganese and in the early 17th century this combination was believed to have health-giving properties.

Royal Tunbridge Wells Railway Station

Word spread and by 1619 "taking the waters" had become fashionable. "The Wells" was a popular destination for royalty and the aristocracy alike. 

Entrance to Royal Victoria Place shopping mall

The original site of the Chalybeate well is a short distance walk south of the High Street shops in an area known as The Pantiles. This is where the upper classes partook of the  water and congregated along the "parade". Later, in 1804, a Bath House was built, but by 1860 it fell into disuse. In 1987 the bath house facade (below) was restored and between Easter and September the spring water is available to visitors.

The Pantiles, so named for its tiles, is compromised of restaurants, cafes, art galleries and shops. It was quiet on weekdays although most shops and cafes were open.

Our first morning in the city it snowed...I know, right? Shocking!

The blanket of snow made it too chilly to sit outside, but we found the interior of The Pantiles Cafe (below) an inviting place to enjoy a hot cup of tea between our exploration of the area. 

The Pantiles Cafe

Weekends at The Pantiles are bustling thanks to a Saturday and Sunday market made all the more tantalizing by some very welcome winter sunshine and milder temperatures.

On another gorgeous day that felt almost spring-like we strolled around Calverley Grounds that is in the middle of town not far from the High Street. Like the locals we opted for a cup of tea from the cafe and sat at a table outdoors.

We ate out a few times during our stay in Royal Tunbridge Wells and lucked out our first evening with The Mount Edgcumbe gastro pub that is just a short walk from the Travelodge.

Just inside the door to the pub is a cozy, cave-like area to sit and chat.

It was wonderfully warm and cozy and after an hour or so we secured a table for dinner.

We enjoyed both the meal and atmosphere of The Edgcumbe so much we returned six days later for Sunday Roast.

The Beau Nash Tavern is also an easy walk from the Travelodge and we had a tasty lunch there - washed down with a pint of Guinness, of course!

A little further from the hotel on the High Street is Wetherspoon's Opera House pub and restaurant. Our meal may have been mediocre, but the setting was superb as it really is an opera house!

Our second last day in Royal Tunbridge Wells we had one of our more memorable lunches at the Duke of York pub. Great service, great meal.

And this morning we capped off our stay with a delicious breakfast at Woods Restaurant almost kitty corner across the way. (Both of the next two photos are courtesy of Google.)

Now onto our reason for being in Royal Tunbridge Wells in the first place - our latest housesit.

I believe this was our 40th housesit, but to be honest have lost count. Regardless of the number this rural setting soothed the soul and we both enjoyed the baaing of the sheep and crowing of the roosters as well as watching the geese waddle across the fields - and all from the comfort of the kitchen or lounge.

We spent a fair amount of time indoors during this sit as the weather was rather cold, wet and dismal, but the upside is we got to spend quality time with the pets. Maggie, a 7-month old miniature Dachshund, quickly wiggled her way into our hearts.

Is she A.D.O.R.A.B.L.E. or what?!

Tiger was the shyest of the group and it took a few days for this featherweight to warm up to us - but once she did it there was no turning back.

Tiger deciding whether to exit via the cat flap or wait for the human/slave to open the door!

Daisy was the calmest of the three and this spot next to the kitchen table was her favourite in the entire house. We'd find her here from morning to night and if she wasn't sound asleep she'd be quietly watching whatever was going on.

We'd like to extend a warm thank you to J&S for the invitation to care for their comfortable home and three adorable pets. We miss them already and we've only just left!

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