A storm hit southern England last night – leaving my family’s home without power or heat (just in time for Christmas) and trees strewn across roads and train tracks. It meant that our plan to play tourists for the day in London was scuppered – no trains were heading north. So instead, we jumped in the rental car (a todaysthedayi for Ryan – ‘todaysthedayRy’) and headed west to Royal Tunbridge Wells.
I’ve not been to this gorgeous Kent town for at least 10 years, but it made the most sense – a quaint town to show my American manfriend and a perfect place to finish off some last minute Christmas shopping.
After a successful shopping session in the newer part of town, we headed to The Pantiles, an area of shops and pubs that provide Tunbridge Wells’ most famous photos. I’ve been to the town a few times in my youth, but never before have I wandered the famed Georgian cobblestones here, peering into gift shop windows and bakeries.
The Pantiles were created in 1638 after the discovery of nearby spring that attracted prominent visitors from all over the country. Today, it’s home to shops, art galleries and cafes and hosts events throughout the year: a farmer’s market is held here every other Saturday and festivals for food, jazz, fashion and art are also held in the summer.
Honestly, I could have left all of my shopping to the last minute, because the Pantiles and surrounding gift shops gave a really original selection of gifts. And for some reason, there was barely another Christmas Eve shopper in sight.
After ogling the history (Ryan got his fix of quaint towns for the day), we checked out the church and stopped for a spot of tea.
Thanks Tunbridge Wells, you saved us from the Winter Blues! Now all I want for Christmas is electricity…
Happy Christmas everyone!