Situated on the banks of the river Medway, Tonbridge has been a market town since the Earl of Gloucester was granted the right to hold a weekly market in 1259. A castle was built there in the 11th century by Richard Fitzgilbert, a nobleman in William the Conqueror's invading army, and rebuilt in the 13th century.
The town and its surrounding areas became famous for the production of finely inlaid wooden cabinets, boxes and other objects, which were called "Tunbridgeware".
Tonbridge was spelt "Tunbridge" until 1870, but the spelling of the name was changed in an effort to avoid confusion with nearby Tunbridge Wells, a larger, but considerably newer, town about five miles to the south.
1 Tonbridge station is very near the centre of town and has trains from London Charing Cross, Tunbridge Wells, Hastings, Redhill, Ashford and East Kent. Additionally there are services to London Cannon St via London Bridge. London is served by six off peak services an hour and the journey takes 30-45 minutes depending on whether the train is direct or a stopper service. Tickets cost about £10.
There are local buses to Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks (route 402) and Maidstone (routes 6 and 7), and other towns.
The centre of Tonbridge is fairly small, and can easily be travelled on foot. As with most other towns in England, the town is well served by buses and taxis.
Arriva is the bus company that operates in Tonbridge. Timetables and fares are available on their website . Buy your ticket from the driver when you board the bus.
The main taxi rank is at the train station, although you can order a taxi by telephone to pick you up from anywhere.
For booked journeys try:
- 1 Hop Farm Country Park (World of Activities at The Hop Farm), Paddock Wood, Tonbridge, Kent, TN12 6PY, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 10AM–5PM, except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Once a working hop farm, it now offers a wide variety of attractions and events. Admission £7.50 for adults, £6.50 for children.
- Hire a boat and potter about on the Medway
- Take a walk or go fishing at the lakes in Hayesden Country Park
- Take a visit to Source of Sound nightclub (abbreviated to 'SOS' or 'Source' by locals) which is a fine establishment and not one bit dodgy.
Tonbridge High Street offers the standard blend of chain and grocery stores. Unusually good charity shops.
- [dead link] Uskudar, 150-152 High Street, TN9 1BB, ☏ . Turkish restaurant.
- The Humphry Bean (on the high street) or the wharf are good places to drink.
- Rose and Crown Hotel (in the centre of Tonbridge). An obvious, if expensive place to stay.
- Langley Hotel (A mile from the north-west of the town, along the B245 towards Hildenborough).
The town is also served by two Premier Travel Inns, both of which are about one mile from the town centre. One is attached to the Vauxhall Inn (at the A21/A26 junction to the south) and the other to the Hilden Manor (B245 towards Hildenborough to the north-west).