By Royal Appointment

    Tunbridge Wells is one of the most sought after places to live in the South East of England so no wonder it’s been so popular with everyone from kings and queens to busy commuters over the centuries

    High Street Tunbridge Wells

    There are many reasons why people love making this particular corner of Kent their home. As well as the great green spaces and excellent access to the capital and the coast, there are also plenty of fabulous restaurants, gastro pubs and independent retailers all thriving in and around Tunbridge Wells.

    Add to this mix a hugely impressive array of private, selective and state schools, glorious countryside, elegant architecture and a vibrant arts and culture scene and you pretty much have the recipe for the perfect place to live.

    This was recently confirmed in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Residents’ survey* for 2015 which found that 92% of people were happy living here. Overall satisfaction with the range of services and amenities here was 86% while 98% of residents said they felt safe in their local area, with 73% saying they would happily walk alone after dark.

    The spa town, which dates back to the 18th century, was awarded its royal status in 1909 after King Edward VII recognised its popularity and also the numerous trips his family, most notably his mother, Queen Victoria, had made to it.

    It was first put on the map in 1606 when Lord North, a courtier to James I drank from a nearby spring – now known as Chalybeate – and declared that his poor health had improved dramatically as a result.

    It quickly became the place to be thanks mainly to the restorative powers of the spring waters but also due to the fashionable Pantiles walkways that had been built which offered an array of shops and coffee and ale houses as well as the perfect vantage point to see and be seen.

    But it was Queen Victoria’s visits with her husband Prince Albert that really made it fashionable. She enjoyed making Tunbridge Wells part of her regular holiday ‘sojourns’ which led the 19th century poet and historian Lord Macaulay to deem it as ‘one of the richest and highly civilised parts of the kingdom.’ How right he was!

    AT-A-GLANCE FACTS AND FIGURES FOR LIFE IN TUNBRIDGE WELLS
    • According to RightMove the average price for a flat is £252,471, a terraced house is £375,612 and a semi is £413,602
    • In the past year house prices in Tunbridge Wells were 12% up on the year before and 27% up on 2013 when they averaged at £335,130.
    • 86% of residents go into the town to shop*
    • 59% of residents go into the town for business
    • 58% of residents go into the town to eat and drink
    • You can get to London in 58 minutes by train
    • The cost of an average South Eastern season ticket is £4,404.00
    New Build Stats & Facts

    According to a recent survey carried out by the Home Owners Alliance the top three benefits of owning a new build were:

    • lower maintenance costs
    • better energy efficiency
    • ease of getting onto the property ladder

    NHBC found that construction firms are building the highest number of detached properties for over a decade, with semi-detached homes also at their highest level in more than 20 years.

    Zoopla recently confirmed that the housing market is showing signs of rebounding following its post-referendum dip. Sales levels stabilised during August, and according to Simon Rubinsohn of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS): “There are clear signs that the housing market is settling down after the initial surprise of the outcome to the EU referendum.”

    The path to finding your dream new home is far smoother now since the Government introduced a raft of changes in 2011. These include putting pressure on local authorities to sell surplus land and also the introduction of Help To Buy and Starter Home schemes.

    The Home Builders Federation (HBF) and the UK’s largest housebuilding construction companies have pledged to help deliver one million new homes by 2020.