Clare Lush - My Tunbridge WellsSome of the classic ‘team sports’, such as football or cricket, might not be high on my agenda of things to do during my down-time, however there are some other fantastic ways to get active around Tunbridge Wells. Here are some of my favourites:

#1 Running

After years of refusing to do anything more than a brisk walk on the treadmill, I discovered running outdoors thanks to the ‘Couch to 5k’ app just over a year ago. There are so many beautiful places to go for a run around Tunbridge Wells and I never get tired of discovering new places to ‘explore’.

The 5k ‘Run or Dye’ event at Penshurst was a gentle way of easing me into my first event last year and I can highly recommend it for a fun day out, regardless of whether you are planning to run or walk.

Dunorlan Park plays host to the Parkrun which takes place every Saturday morning and is open to anyone who is looking to get active. Visitors to Tunbridge Wells are more than welcome to go along too.

The Hospice in the Weald 10k which takes place each September is also really popular, and as I write this post, I have decided to take part in my first 10k ever this year. Yes you read it here first - I am going to take part in the Hospice 10k this September!

For anyone who fancies even more adventure, I have heard that Bewl Triathlon is a challenging but worthwhile competition - it will be returning to Bewl for the fourth year this August (2016)!

#2 Trying something new

I have found that trying out new sports is a great way of keeping things interesting.

There are some niche sports facilities around here like the recently opened Chimera Climbing in High Brooms. This is a climbing centre which is suitable for climbers of all levels, including complete beginners like me. I have a mild fear of heights so am keen to give it a try but a little apprehensive too.

Fentons Curling Rink
Photo: the UK's one and only dedicated Fentons Curling Rink

Another sport I had a go at recently was Curling! Did you know that Tunbridge Wells has the only dedicated Curling Rink in the UK?

Fenton’s Rink, located between Lamberhurst and Royal Tunbridge Wells is an interesting place to visit if you are looking for something a little different. They offer lessons and host ‘Curling Parties’ - we went to one with friends last year. It’s an awesome alternative for a night out and a wonderful way of learning a new skill with friends!

If you are interested in trying your hand at snowboarding or skiing, then check out the Bowles Centre in Eridge which offers courses for both adults and children. It’s not the biggest slope in the world, but it’s a start!

We have been to a children’s ‘toboggan’ birthday party there too which was so much fun. The slope is actually pretty steep, giving tobogganers a good opportunity to pick up some speed on the way down! The grounds of the complex are really nice to have a wander around while you are there as well.

#3 Bike Rides

Cycling in the Woods by David Hodgkinson
Photo: by David Hodgkinson

Discovering new routes by bicycle was something we really enjoyed doing before having children. There are some super paths to follow, with one of our favourites starting off at the Tonbridge Swimming Pool carpark and heading towards Haysden Country Park, continuing on through the charming Bidborough countryside to Penshurst.

One of the highlights is a meal at the Leicester Arms or a slice of cake and a coffee at the Porcupine Pantry attached to Penshurst Place, followed by a slow and steady ride home!

More recently, we cycled half way around beautiful Bewl Water, with the kids in tow. The weather was sublime, and although I got stung on the arm by a wasp (!!), it was a fantastic family day out.

We diverted off the trail and ended up at a lovely little pub called The Bull Inn at Three Leg Cross near Wadhurst. It’s up quite a steep hill, but is definitely worth the burn.

#4 Country Walks

One of the many reasons why we love living here are the beautiful woodland walks in Tunbridge Wells and surrounding areas. We really enjoy having a big bustling town on our doorstep but being able to immerse ourselves in nature within a few minutes of our home too.

Southborough Common is right on our doorstep and walking through the woodland after a hectic day is such a relaxing thing to do. There are also lots of hidden little trails to follow between Southborough and Bidborough, several of which are still waiting to be discovered.

The Bluebell Woods at Pepenbury, near Pembury, is another favourite for a child / buggy friendly walk. It’s just the right length for a toddler to do without getting too tired and there are plenty of distractions throughout the woods, including a natural playground and various musical instruments to keep them busy.

Several of the National Trust properties around Tunbridge Wells have gorgeous grounds as well - one I really enjoy is Sissinghurst Castle which is set on 460 acres and near Cranbrook

Haysden Country Park has a new playground which we are hoping to visit soon and Broadwater Warren near Groombridge has a certain rustic charm to it - see if you can spot some of the wild ponies while you are there!


My Tunbridge Wells logoI hope some of these ideas have been useful? Writing this blog post has inspired me to sign up to a 10k run and to try out some new running routes around Tunbridge Wells. Wish me luck!


Related

Penshurst Place and Gardens
Historic House / Palace
Photography by Peter Smith - Penshurst Place and Gardens South view of the house

Set in the beautiful Weald of Kent, Penshurst Place & Gardens and the surrounding estate have stood on the banks of the river Medway since the 14th century, when the awe-inspiring medieval Baron’s Hall was built as a country retreat for the Lord Mayor of London, Sir John De Pulteney.

Dunorlan Park
Parkland / Woodland Garden
Dunorlan Park, Royal Tunbridge Wells

A glorious local awarding winning park and testament to the Victorian landscaping era. Boating lake and cafe.

Bewl Water
Lake / Reservoir
Boating and sailing on Bewl Water, on the edge of the borough of Tunbridge Wells Kent

Set in the heart of the High Weald and surrounded by 800 acres of outstanding natural beauty, Bewl Water is the perfect place to watch the seasons change and to enjoy some healthy family fun for all ages.

Fenton's Curling Rink
Sports Ground
Fentons Curling Rink

The only curling rink in England.

Sissinghurst Castle Garden
Garden
Sissinghurst Castle Garden, beautiful grounds laid out by Vita Sackville West

Famous, stunning gardens set in the remains of a large Elizabethan house amidst the unspoilt Weald countryside.

Bowles Outdoor Centre
Adventure Park / Playground
Bowles Activity Centre for outdoor pursuits in the Tunbridge Wells countryside

A day and residential outdoor centre with accommodation offering rock climbing, skiing, snowboarding, canoeing and development courses and fun!

Haysden Country Park
Country / Royal Park

Haysden Country Park covers an area of about 65 hectares (160 acres) in the Medway Valley, to the west of Tonbridge.

Pepenbury Shop
Charity Shop
Pepenbury Shop
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