Tunbridge Wells and the surrounding area is full of fantastic places to eat – but with so many restaurants to choose from, how do you decide which one to go for? We present some of our favourite eateries and find out why they’re exciting gourmets throughout Kent and East Sussex.
These days, diners are well and truly spoiled for choice in our part of the world. From Tunbridge Wells to Sevenoaks, virtually every cuisine you can think of is available right on our doorstep, meaning there’s always somewhere to tuck into a mouth-watering meal when celebrating a special occasion, enjoying a candlelit dinner for two or just popping out for a bit to eat with friends, family and colleagues.
Whether you’re partial to a hearty gastro pub meal or some authentic Italian cuisine, there’s bound to be something that takes your fancy. So, join us as we pull up a chair, peruse the menu and savour some tantalising offerings from around the Weald…
The Barn is a lovely pub restaurant with great character and a super atmosphere. It has been privately owned and managed by us for 24 years.
We have an excellent reputation for our steaks which are cut from 28 day matured prime British beef and in addition you will find on our menus both traditional and unique dishes all freshly prepared, together with homemade desserts. Our 2 course lunch or pre theatre menu is terrific value at £9.75. Wherever possible, we purchase from local suppliers.
We have always specialised in private parties and especially so at Christmas, with great menus to choose from:
- Christmas lunch (two courses, £11.95)
- Christmas party lunch or dinner with a wide choice of dishes from £20 for three courses
- DJ and entertainment on selected evenings
We are open on Christmas Day. Please visit our website to view our Christmas brochure and menus.
1 Lonsdale Gardens
Mount Pleasant Road
Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 1NU
01892 510 424
The Cherry Tree
We opened our doors for the first time on August 26 2013, after a major facelift and not a little surgery to the building. Since then we have added our Garden Room with its stunning Russian mural, and lately the wood-fired adobe oven in which we cook our amazing pizzas. We had never intended to add a takeaway to our repertoire, but it is proving very popular.
We make everything on our menu from scratch in our kitchen from the best quality ingredients we can obtain. We try to buy or barter everything from as close to home as possible and use organic produce wherever we can. You will not see the word ‘homemade’ on our menu because everything is, and not ‘homemade’ in some factory somewhere.
Additionally, we offer a proper Christmas dinner, with jewelled chestnut soup and free range turkey from Stan Poland, along with my own Christmas pudding made to my aunt Elsie’s recipe and lots of other goodies.
Dale Hill, Ticehurst,
East Sussex TN5 7DG
01580 201 229
The Mark Cross Inn
Take a serene saunter through the heart of the East Sussex countryside – just don’t forget to pop in for a pint at The Mark Cross Inn along the way. The fourth notch on the Whiting & Hammond belt was added in September 2006 when W&H purchased the lease of this extraordinary pub near Tunbridge Wells.
The views across the rolling Sussex countryside make this venue stand out against all others. The pub shut for an intensive 12-week renovation, which included a substantially enlarged kitchen, as well as the installation of brand new toilets. The Whiting & Hammond formula that had served them well up until now naturally went down a storm.
Seasonality plays a key part in the food preparation at The Mark Cross, adapting a menu to what’s fresh and available from the local suppliers and changing dishes daily to ensure a wonderfully diverse menu is on offer for both lunch and dinner; not forgetting a great breakfast and their famous Sunday roasts served at the weekends.
This Christmas, The Mark Cross will have special party nights on December 4 and 18, with great entertainment and a fantastic menu that will also be running throughout December.
East Sussex TN6 3NP
01892 852 423
The Kings Head
The Kings Head joined the Whiting & Hammond family last year, bringing the total number of sites to eight. As with most of the W&H acquisitions, The Kings Head had been in a sorry state before being taken over. The magic wand was waved and, after an intensive refurbishment, the new Kings Head was open within weeks. Highlights include the three huts in the garden and the fascinating wall of rolling pins!
The Kings Head menu caters for one and all, from traditional British classics such as fish and chips and a steak burger, to interesting, seasonal dishes that use the freshest ingredients sourced from our local suppliers.
The Christmas, The Kings Head has a festive menu to get all taste buds watering. You will always find the traditional turkey and Christmas pudding on our menus, as well as delights such as wood pigeon Wellington with sautéed spinach, mushroom duxelle and pigeon jus for starters. And who can resist a sherry trifle with custard, whipped cream, raspberry jelly and chocolate shavings?
2 Westerham Road
Kent TN13 2QA
01732 452 081
The Cricketers Inn
It was the summer of 2010 when Whiting & Hammond took over The Cricketers Inn, making it their goal to give the people of Meopham their local pub back, returning it to its former glory and restoring the locals’ faith in a place of which they can be truly proud. Now completely refurbished, the bar and lounge have a wonderfully warm and welcoming feel, complete with wood and stone flagged floors, four open log fires, bookcases and curious pictures.
The Cricketers is a favourite with foodies, as well as with those who just want to pop in and have a drink in the vibrant and relaxing atmosphere. The menus are changed daily at the pub, meaning guests can come in frequently and always be met with something new and diverse.
Joining its sister pubs, The Cricketers has a wonderful Christmas menu planned for December, with delights such as crab panna cotta, caviar dressing and beetroot crisps, as well as Horns Oak farm venison and juniper suet pudding, celeriac mash and red wine sauce.
Kent DA13 0QA
01474 812 163
The Chaser Inn
The Chaser Inn was where the Whiting & Hammond story began back in 2003. It was a big refurbishment when W&H took over from Greene King, with a relocated kitchen and toilets. More recently, the courtyard has been covered with a spectacular retractable roof, making it cosy in the winter and a wonderful outside space in the summer.
The pub is extremely popular and has won a number of awards over the years, including the prestigious National Publican Food and Drink Award for Sunday Lunch Pub of the Year.
Celebrated for its mouth-watering Sunday lunch, there is no better place to enjoy this delicious tradition. The Chaser Inn proudly promotes the use of fresh, locally sourced produce, rating the quality over the price to ensure customers receive interesting and delicious dishes.
This Christmas, The Chaser Inn will be celebrating all that is festive, with a delectable three-course menu running throughout lunch and dinner service in December, including special menus for Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.
Kent TN11 9PE
01732 810 360
The Little Brown Jug
The Little Brown Jug was acquired by Whiting & Hammond as pub number three in 2006. In true W&H style, the pub received a full makeover to bring it up to par with the company style and beautiful sister pubs.
Visitors are drawn to the pub’s sleepy, idyllic location in the small Kentish village of Chiddingstone Causeway, not to mention the rustic bookshelves, cosy corners and roaring fires. Additionally, three distinctive and immensely popular huts have been set up in the beer garden, creating a fantastic, one-of-a-kind dining experience.
Whiting & Hammond has a strong company ethos to provide fresh, locally sourced produce. The Little Brown Jug was the first of the W&H pubs to hold a beer festival and celebrates all that is great about British food and real ales.
The Little Brown Jug will be running a delicious three-course menu throughout December with dishes such as game and pistachio terrine, clementine and cranberry compote and multigrain toast, and of course the traditional roast turkey and Christmas pudding.
Tonbridge, Kent TN11 8JJ
01892 870 318
The Hide Out
The Hide Out opened in November 2014. We pride ourselves in offering seasonal local produce, coupled with friendly service and a regularly changing menu; we’re also proud of the quality of our meat, which comes from a local butcher specialising in all kinds of cuts and aged steaks.
If you prefer to opt for something a little lighter, we have a range of dishes, including something a little different from the standard fare offered by the big chain restaurants in the area. We have a garden for outside dining and drinks, as well as an upstairs bar that is proving very popular with Tunbridge Wells cocktail lovers.
The Hide Out can be hired for exclusive use for a celebratory event, wedding reception or birthday party, whether it’s a seated dinner or a standing cocktails and canapé reception.
26 London Rd
Kent TN1 1DA
01892 315 297
The Blackboys Inn
The Blackboys Inn, nestled in the heart of the Weald with multi award winning gardens, is recognised as one of the most attractive pubs in the South East. The 13th century coaching inn offers a diverse and eclectic menu, utilising
locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. To add to the dining experience, there is a superb selection of prize winning Harvey’s ales and wines. Our aim is to facilitate an atmosphere where people feel relaxed, so they can truly enjoy the bucolic ambience of our inn.
Our signature dish is the lobster and prawn burger served with a mango, chilli and spring onion salsa and lime mayonnaise; a lighter summery spin on the classic burger, championing our local native lobsters.
Due to our location and the expertise of our chefs, we are able to utilise the seasons’ offerings of great seafood and game, our bestselling dishes of late being our shellfish a la plancha and our slow braised pork belly with honey and soy glaze, king scallop, tempura king prawns and a papaya salad.
With game season around the corner, our chefs get to use some of their favourite ingredients. You can expect to see some creative twists on the classics, such as pigeon Wellington and rabbit, cider and thyme casserole.
Lewes Road, Blackboys,
East Sussex TN22 5LG
01825 890 283
The Car Wash Diner
Cruise into The Car Wash Diner, an authentic 50s restaurant with a fantastic atmosphere. Just some of the menu treats include an array of tasty breakfasts, stacks of pancakes covered in syrup, traditional hot dogs, succulent homemade burgers with masses of crispy fries and legendary milkshakes and floats made to order.
We make every effort to use only local suppliers and ingredients wherever possible, all of our meat is free range and we use free range, organic eggs. We believe our whole dining experience stands out, making sure our diners have a great time as well as a great meal. Every detail is spot on: the music, the food and the service, as well as pool tables and pin ball machines.
What better way to celebrate than with a bash at The Car Wash Diner? This authentic American eatery makes you feel like you are on a film set and gives you that extra special location for a fabulous pre-Christmas party.
We also host regular live music and open mic evenings, children’s and teen parties and Saturday night cruise-ins.
Horseshoe Garage, Hurst Green
East Sussex TN19 7QY
01580 860 370
Pasta Madre is a new Italian restaurant in Tunbridge Wells. Everything is homemade by our own chefs and the products are directly imported from Italy to keep the food truly authentic. During lunchtime you will find a sumptuous buffet of fresh salad, quiche, pasta and various ranges of pizza. The dinner menu changes every month and will follow seasonal products, so it is possible to try traditional recipes from the 11 regions of Italy. At Christmas time you can organise private parties and dinners in our function room.
Hampers with exclusive food and wine are available for an original Christmas gift.
Opening times: Monday to Thursday from 9am to 5pm and Friday and Saturday from 9am to 12pm
11 Camden Road,
Kent TN1 2PS
01892 516 554
The Brecknock Arms
From Harvey’s beer battered fish and chips and moules marinière, to Moroccan lamb and rib eye steaks, new landlords of The Brecknock Arms, Sally and David Fawcett, along with chef Ian Cook, have devised an eclectic menu that has made this revamped country pub in Bells Yew Green a popular dining choice for all the family.
Deli boards and fish platters sit comfortably alongside sausage and mash, homemade burgers, chilli and salads, with a variety of paninis and ciabattas also available.
With the majority of ingredients sourced locally, the food is hearty and unpretentious – think gravy and sauces, not coulis and jus! There are also vegetarian options, daily specials and a children’s menu, with many items available for takeaway.
Food is available from Wednesday to Saturday, 12pm to 2.30pm and 6pm to 9pm, with a delicious roast menu from 12pm to 4pm on Sundays.
Bayham Road, Bells Yew Green,
East Sussex TN3 9BJ
01892 750 237
The Kentish Hare
The Kentish Hare, under The Tanner Brothers, opened in May 2014 after extensive refurbishment and is now a stylish, award winning, popular pub and restaurant. Food is freshly prepared at a realistic price using the best we can find from the fantastic larder available to us in Kent, ensuring a superb dining experience, complemented by a selected range of
wines, local beers and spirits. This first year we have achieved two AA Rosettes, a ‘One to Watch’ award from the Top 50 Gastro Pubs in the UK and recently ranked sixth in The Times’ Alfresco Britain 50 Best Summer Pubs. Chris, James and the team are thrilled with this recognition for all their hard work, dedication and passion for food. We hope to see you soon!
95 Bidborough Ridge,
Bidborough, Tunbridge Wells,
Kent TN3 0XB
01892 525 709
Bill’s Tunbridge Wells restaurant is in a great location for shoppers and has plenty of leather sofas, nooks and crannies. There is also a lovely outside for when the sun is shining. Bill’s is open from 8am and closes at 10.30pm. As well as breakfast, lunch and dinner, Bill’s offers afternoon tea and a selection of cocktails.
You can take home some delicious treats from Bill’s retail range, including jams and chutneys made to Bill’s own original recipes. In the evening, Bill’s is filled with candlelight and music to create an ambience that is perfect for a romantic evening or a party.
Lime Hill Road, Tunbridge Wells,
Kent TN1 1LJ
01892 548 699