Love where you live Tunbridge Wells

SUE WILSHER IS AN AUTHOR, BASED IN TUNBRIDGE WELLS. HERE, SHE TELLS US WHY SHE LOVES WHERE SHE LIVES…

Where do you live?

On the South side of town.

How long have you lived there and what made you decide to move there?

We’ve been here for ten years – we were living in London and had our first daughter but wanted to put down roots somewhere that was both interesting and good for families. Work-wise and family-wise this was the right direction to head in. When we came to see Tunbridge Wells we fell in love with the area – lots of parks, shops, restaurants and historical interest – and all enclosed by beautiful countryside.

Where’s the best place to go for a Sunday stroll?

We love going for a stroll at Pepenbury – a residential home for adults with a learning disability that has a beautiful woodland walk in the grounds with a playground in the woods, farm animals, a small animals barn and a coffee shop. They welcome visitors and they have a donations box by the chicken coops. One of the residents carries a guinea pig around – the kids love it! We also buy our Christmas tree from there every year.

Where do you take people when they come to visit?

Usually The Pantiles – what’s not to love about the pavement cafes and restaurants and the Jazz on summer evenings? Rosemary Shrager’s lemon meringue tart, dinner beneath the cool vintage lampshades at the Tunbridge Wells Hotel, I could go on…

What’s the night life like where you live?

The Boogie Nights events at The Forum are fabulous for Northern Soul and shameless dancing for all ages! Also The Grey Lady on The Pantiles for live jazz/funk/soul. We’re very lucky to have The Assembly Hall Theatre and the Trinity Theatre here in town. And, Woods restaurant on The Pantiles makes a great party venue – I had a 1950s themed party there recently to launch the paperback of my debut novel When My Ship Comes In.

Where’s your favourite place to eat locally?

Kitsu, one of the best-kept secrets in Tunbridge Wells, a little sushi and noodle bar behind Fenwick – the food is amazing – the salmon lover platter is my favourite. Kai’s Kitchen opposite Tunbridge Wells station is also fantastic. My husband is half Malaysian and loves his chilli, but when Kai’s ask him if he wants ‘hot’ or ‘Thai hot’, even he says just ‘hot’!

Where’s the best place to meet friends and socialise?

There are lots of ‘gin opportunities’ in Tunbridge Wells, I’m happy to say! Chapel Place, Fuggles, Hotel du Vin bar or my local The Compasses. That doesn’t happen as often as I’d like! When we can, I go for a tipple with my writing group – to discuss meaningful literary topics only of course…

What do you do when you spend a weekend or day off in the local area?

We like to go for a traipse around The Common and Wellington Rocks, and the kids love High Rocks and Groombridge Place. The local parks are lovely – Dunorlan Park is great for feeding the ducks and rowing a boat. We look forward to the new adventure playground in Calverley Grounds – an amazing team of local people have been hard at work fundraising to build it – it’s an inspirational community initiative that’ll be a fantastic new asset to the town.

Why do you love where you live?

For me, Tunbridge Wells is the perfect mix of town and country. Everything you need within an easy distance and beautiful countryside a stone’s throw away. There is a lovely community feel in our area and I have met so many amazing, inspirational people since moving here.

Sue’s debut novel When My Ship Comes In is out now.
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