Advice on where to live in Tunbridge Wells

(8 Posts)
FridaSofia15 Sat 18-Jul-15 13:26:12

Hi everyone, this is my first post on MN. I am pregnant with my first child, due at the end of August, so this site has been incredibly useful so far!

Husband and I are currently living in Scotland, after spending 4 years in central London. We want to return south after the birth of our daughter and have set our hearts and minds on TW. We want to be close to London but won't necessarily be working in London, therefore the commute is less of an issue for us.

We are looking to buy a 2 bed property and our budget is around £380. I am aware that TW is pricey and therefore we are willing to compromise on space (eg 2 bed instead of 3, flat instead of a house). However, we would like to live somewhere safe and quiet but within walking distance of the shops/station/etc as that would make life easier with a small baby.

We have been researching right move and, although TW looks relatively small, there seem to be distinct areas and I would like your help making sense of them Estate agents talk about St James', St Peters', St John's areas. What are these areas like? Also this part of town (North) seems to be relatively cheaper than the southern part of TW (eg it is possible to find a house that fits the budget). Is there a reason for that?

Could you please comment on any of the areas above/recommend a particular area? Also, what is southborough like? Would that be a good alternative to living in TW proper?

Many thanks in advance for your help and looking forward to your comments!


RuthStones Sat 25-Jul-15 19:38:18


We have lived in the St James area of TW for about 10 years now. We rented a flat closer to town and then brought a three bed detached property a bit further out and closer to Dunorlan Park last year. We paid less than your budget and I think you should be able to find a nice 3 bed house even with the recent rises in house prices.

This is the sort of thing I mean:

The area is lovely. Dunorlan Park is about 5 minutes away and you can walk to the town in 10 – 15 minutes. You have a choice of 2 train stations should you need to commute to London which are both within walking distance. The local primary school (St James) has a very good reputation and there is plenty of choice secondary school wise too.

We really like the area as it is great for the town centre but you can also get out of the town via roads and rail easily too. We both drive to work and the A21 is within easy access. The A21 of course takes you up to the M25 and down to the coast as well.

I am happy to give you more info re: TW should you need it. Good luck!

FridaSofia15 Sun 26-Jul-15 10:30:26

Hi RuthStones

Many thanks for taking the time to reply and for your useful comments, much appreciated! I have read good things about the St James area and actually the house in the link you sent is one of those on my "watch list" (sadly I doubt it will still be on the market by the time I manage to come down to do some viewings (around the end of October).

The house seems to be part of a fairly recent housing estate/development. Are there many housing estates in TW? Any that I should avoid?

One thing I can't seem to figure out on my own is what the boundaries of the St James area are, especially to the north and to the east. I have been reading that I should try and avoid the Sherwood area/estate, isn't that to the east of St James?

Thanks a bunch and have a great Sunday!

RuthStones Sun 26-Jul-15 22:50:30


The estate we live on was built in the 1960's so I guess its not that modern by some town's standards. There are two new estates being built that I know of. One on the old Kent and Sussex hospital site which is pretty much town centre and one at the back of the industrial estate by the cinema.

Yes Sherwood is to the east of St James. I guess the Sandhurst Road is the dividing point. A colleague of mine told me to avoid the area but to be honest, it looks OK to me when I drive through it and certainly no where like the sorts of places I lived in during my time in Leeds.

That said, St James is v nice and I think within your budget. North of here you start to run into high brooms and the industrial estate. If you think of Hibert Park as the cut off that might make things clearer but I can send you some more detailed instructions if you would like?

Personally, I haven't heard great things about high brooms and another colleague in South borough thinks its a bit rough around the edges. But that said, this is TW and most areas are fine. Compared with other towns in Kent and certainly other cities in the UK, I hope you will think it's a safe and nice place to live where ever you choose.

MizLizLemon Sun 26-Jul-15 23:05:24

I know it might seem like a long way off now as you're pregnant, but before you buy check the catchments of the local schools and how far away from the school the children who were given places lived last year.

Tunbridge Wells has become something of a bolt hole for people moving out of London to raise children in recent years and the knock on effect on the schools has been awful. I was going to say good primary school places are at a premium, but in fact so are average primary places right now.

The new development on the old hospital site has a school in the middle of it, but the house prices are eye-wateringly high. Even a two bed flat would probably be out of your budget. There is another new development in the Knights park area that also has a school as part of it, but I have no idea re the house prices there.

The areas you want to avoid are Sherwood and Showfields, and the school you want to avoid is Temple Grove, formally Sherwood primary before it got taken over and turned into an academy. High Brooms is a bit cheaper than Tunbridge Well, as is southborough, some people think they're a bit rough, but that's by Tunbridge Wells standards, by any other standards they're average areas.

The St Johns area is nice and a little cheaper than the village or St James, but you may really struggle to get a primary place in that area (St Johns school doesn't actually serve St. John's area).

FridaSofia15 Tue 28-Jul-15 11:45:05

Hi RuthStones and MizLizLemon, thank you so much for your replies.

RuthStones, your instructions above are very useful, finally I can make more sense of the area and can narrow down my search area. I can see that there are properties within my budget, if you don't mind I would like to contact you once I have shortlisted the properties I am definitely going to view (need to give birth first!)

MizLizLemon, you are right, it makes sense to look at catchment areas from right now. Even if, for some reason, we end up selling this property in a couple of years time, we need to make sure we buy something now that people will want to buy in the future!

Many thanks to both of you for the useful information.

FridaSofia15 Tue 28-Jul-15 11:59:38

Forgot to add that I have had a look at new builds and sadly they are too expensive. The old hospital development has 2 beds starting from 450k! Nice interiors and location but...are they really worth that much money?!

The Knights wood development has houses starting at £450k so again a bit overbudget. Also, the development is located in High Brooms I believe?

RuthStones Fri 31-Jul-15 23:26:46

Hi FridaSofia15. Yes please get in touch when you are ready to - good luck by the way! Happy to meet up for a coffee and chat about the area if you are down visiting as well.

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