Pubs or public houses have always had a special place in the English heritage. In olden times, this refers to houses that have been open for the public – like neighbourhood living rooms. In Kent, pubs have historically been travellers’ choice to break their journey, relax, have a drink or two and gobble down ale.
Even today, when society has become more settled and less nomadic, pubs have maintained the allure for people to make friends and be social with their neighbours or passing tourists.
Before we introduce you to some of the many pubs in the Tunbridge Wells area, you need to be familiar first with the proper way to act in English pubs. Pubs are unlike American bars, they are of cultural importance to England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland.
There is usually no table service – you order and pay at the bar. You are not obligated to buy alcoholic drinks – if you order a can of soda, they will serve it to you without a judgemental eye. If you order food, just order and pay at the bar, and the barman or barmaid will bring the food to your table.
Engaging in conversation with strangers standing or seated at the bar is also completely normal, but it is considered rude to speak to strangers sitting on a table.
Pubs in Tunbridge Wells
The Kentish Hare in Bidborough, not far from Royal Tunbridge Wells, is a privately owned firm. It is a local favourite and highly patronised by people in the area. If fine dining is what you are looking for, The Great House at Hawkhurst might be the perfect place for you – it is a scenic, white clapboard 1500s building.
The George and Dragon at Speldhurst, meanwhile, is a pub for game eaters – the menu changes according to the season, as cited in the 2016 Michelin guide!
Tunbridge Wells has dining pubs, garden pubs, pubs with play areas – there are simply too many to mention, and there is surely a pub that will match any person’s taste.