For over 400 years, Royal Tunbridge Wells has been a popular tourist destination. What was once the simple site of a natural spring welled up from the ground has turned into a thriving, charming historic town that welcomes tourists from all over the world to sample not only its atmosphere but also its array of unique stores and establishments.
One of the town’s most charming and characteristic features that it is filled not with a number of chain stores that can be found on any high street in the country, but rather a range of beautiful, quirky boutique shops that provide that extra touch of personal appeal during a visit. You can find things in the independent stores of Royal Tunbridge Wells that you won’t come across anywhere else, and that makes for a really special day out.
There is a certain je ne sais quoi to the unique retail atmosphere of this royal warranted town so without further ado, here are ten of the best boutiques in Royal Tunbridge Wells that are worth visiting.
1. Gray & Co.
Men’s clothing is an area of retail that doesn’t receive as much of the spotlight independent boutique treatment, but Gray & Co. have something to say about that. Nestled in the heart of the town, this wonderful store is filled with beautifully made garments. The atmosphere is buzzy with trendy music and there’s animated conversations happening no which direction you look. They are committed to offering customers something a little different compared to the tried and tested big name brands and their collections dress the stylish man about town from top to toe. Look out for special womenswear in small collections, usually in the form of a seasonal capsule wardrobe.
Gray & Co, 8a Chapel Place
2. Anna Poulsen
Anna Poulsen can be found along the charming Chapel Place row of shops, offering a range of lovely women’s clothing and accessories that you won’t find down any old high street. The Danish designer’s shop is celebrated for its focus on bright colours and bold, beautiful prints, along with a collection of accessories that are both right on trend and timeless in equal measure. Anna specialises in leather pieces and items can be made to order. What could be better than leaving a day trip with a new favourite item of clothing you know someone else won’t be wearing at your next event.
Anna Poulson, 5 Chapel Place
3. The Silver Sheep
When thinking about a boutique shop that offers glorious products from local artisans, The Silver Sheep is the absolute epitome. Founded by a silversmith and a knitwear designer, this store is filled to the brim with all of the best trinkets and creations that the local Royal Tunbridge Wells creative community has to offer. From handmade soaps to glassware to silver jewellery, The Silver Sheep is the place to shop for a unique and beautiful gift for any occasion or as a treat for yourself. Visit The Silver Sheep Gallery which features a new artist every month.
The Silver Sheep, 10-12 Chapel Place
4. Le Petit Jardin
As the name suggests, Le Petit Jardin is a wonderful boutique in the town that specialises in garden and homewares. They work with an array of small, independent businesses for their supplies, sourcing the most beautiful, sustainable. and extraordinary products. We can confidently state that a visit to Le Petit Jardin is so much more rewarding than a Bank Holiday trip to your local chain gardening centre! If you enjoy a fun day out in a charming historic town and love shopping for your home and garden, Le Petit Jardin fuse them in an awfully pleasing way. Browse the store for colourful garden furniture, natural body care products, or that statement piece for your living room.
Le Petit Jardin, 14-16 Chapel Place
5. Arte Bianca
All this boutique shopping is bound to work up an appetite, so why not keep the independent theme going in your cuisine? In operation since 2008, Arte Bianca is a family run delicatessen, offering the very best and most succulent in Italian food. Whether your culinary Achilles heel is cheese, coffee, pasta, olives, or wine, Arte Bianca has products and dishes that are bound to have you dreaming of your own Italian escape. Pop in and you’ll be overwhelmed by the delicious aromas. Stay for something tasty off the menu and then fill your bag with exquisite treats to take home.
Arte Bianca, 1 Chapel Place
Furniture shopping might not immediately come to mind as a casual town visit type of activity, but you never know what you might find and fall in love with at Settle. From made to measure sofas and dining tables to luxurious cabinets, Settle specialise in providing bespoke pieces of furniture that match perfectly to a customer’s existing home aesthetic. There are plenty of things in the world that you can get away with skimping on, but if you want an armchair to last forever, there is nothing like a superb quality bespoke creation.
Settle, 11 Chapel Place
A real gem among the boutique shops of Royal Tunbridge Wells, Gabriella is a jewellery store that boasts more than 100 years of experience amongst their expert team. With a huge focus on customer experience as well as the sheer beauty of the pieces, a trip to Gabriella feels like a real event, adding to the overall atmosphere of your day out in this historic town. Whether you want an engagement ring, diamond earrings, watches, or bracelets, there is something to fulfil every desire at Gabriella.
Gabriella, 9 Chapel Place
8. Zebra Cards
No visit to Tunbridge Wells is complete without some time spent in Zebra Cards. It may be located on the High Street, but you will find things in Zebra Cards that you won’t find in any other high street card and stationery store. Locals and tourists alike love this store. It’s a treasure trove of handmade greetings and celebration cards along with a wide selection of books and other small gifts for friends and family. Cards rang from the very small to the most elaborate over-the-top creations you can imagine. Walk in to find the most perfect card, wrapping, and gift for any occasion.
Zebra Cards, 5 High Street
9. Brittens Music
If music is a passion, then a trip to Brittens is an absolute must. The establishment offers lessons in various disciplines to budding musicians, but that isn’t the only side to the business. Not only can you purchase a wide range of instruments in store, but there is also a fantastic catalogue of sheet music to browse, as well as a fun range of music themed gifts to buy for your loved ones who don’t want a violin brought home for them! From starter instruments to general accessories, Brittens is a one stop shop for all your musical needs.
Brittens Music, Russel House, Grove Hill Road
10. Fine Grind
One more place to sit down and have a tasty break, because a single stop for treats is never enough during a full day of visiting a historic town! Calling themselves the “finest coffee geeks in town,” Fine Grind is an independent coffee house that puts quality of taste and quality of experience right at the top of their list. Each barista is professionally trained by Antipodean Baristas, and they are committed to making your cup exactly the way you like it, no matter how strange or specific the order might be! When it comes to coffee breaks in Royal Tunbridge Wells, you absolutely can’t go wrong with a few relaxing minutes spend in Fine Grind.
Fine Grind, 90-92 High Street
It is a charm to wonder the boutiques of Royal Tunbridge Wells, particularly the pedestrianised Chapel Place. For lovers of independent stores, there are some real showstoppers here.