Or should we forget about Kent altogether and just look at Surrey?
I like the greenery and shade trees in Sevenoaks, but most of the streets with the tall stately shade trees appear to be further North and on the outskirts of the central village. The central business district just looks rather plain. Plus the train station is on the outskirts of town and not handly close to the central village area.
Royal Tunbridge Wells seems nice enough, but I did notice a couple empty shop fronts near the station. Is the area or the town declining?
I vastly prefer Tunbridge Wells. It has much better shops and eateries, the Pantilles are lovely and there are still some decent antique shops. The people are more balanced, and the country side is better. And I live in Sevenoaks. Given the choice, I'd obviously do things differently but it also depends on whether you or your spouse (?) will be travelling into London on a daily basis.
I think you are comparing apples and oranges- tun wells much bigger, empty shops all belong to old cinema awaiting redevelopment. Sevenoaks more expensive, good primaries but difficult for secondary unless you go private. Peters field much smaller again, though both Sevenoaks and peters field have a waitrose! Tonbridge worth considering? Kent grammar schools - you need to work out what you want first!
Not sure either is quaint (maybe Surrey is a bit more like that) but I think TW is much nicer. Grew-up near a village outside it. TW has better architecture, better shops/restaurants/cafes, better state primary schools (and just as good private ones) plus great state secondary schools (the grammar schools). It even has some theatre/concerts etc. Children travel from both Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells to go to the grammar schools in Tonbridge though (about 10-15 mins train journey from both) - think Tonbridge grammar schools, boys and girls, still both pip the T-Wells ones in terms of academic excellence although I'd happily send my children to the T-Wells ones if we lived there. I think there are slightly better private secondaries in Sevenoaks and Tonbridge although there are v nice/good private secondaries in Tunbridge Wells too.
Sevenoaks has less atmosphere, I think, but is smaller and significantly closer to London if commuting is a factor. Plus it does have some beautiful houses and some very pretty surrounding villages if you want to live out of town.
Lots of nice country pubs and beautiful countryside near both!