Welcome to Heritage Open Days 2012: In and Around Tunbridge Wells
Between Thursday 6th September and Sunday 9th September 2012 we will be welcoming visitors to a programme of over fifty heritage events and venues, all free of charge. This includes twelve venues, features or activities new for this year.
Heritage Open Days is all about places of architectural, historic, cultural or social interest in the local community – Royal Tunbridge Wells and the towns and villages nearby. There are several opportunities to see private houses as well as going into familiar buildings not usually open to the public. Other buildings - from an animal pound to the third largest mansion in the county- will be opened up –with people on hand to welcome you; several have arranged a special guided tour at some stage during the weekend. As well as buildings there are also events out of doors. What the whole programme has in common are the people across the area who want to welcome you and help you discover more about the history and heritage of the area and find out why it is special for them.
This year the programme features nine guided walks. Explore the Wealden wool town of Cranbrook; the lost industries of Southborough Common; the New Town and St Paul's Estate in Rusthall; the historic spa town of Royal Tunbridge Wells; and Tunbridge Wells Common.
For themed walks discover historic travel and transport in Tunbridge Wells; historic sites of stage and screen in the centre of Tunbridge Wells; and the sites associated with the history of Tunbridge Ware. Join your guides to explore Grosvenor and Hilbert Recreation Ground and Woodbury Park Cemetery, both among the Tunbridge Wells entries in the Kent Compendium of Historic Parks and Gardens.
For all the family
Recommendations include the engine shed at the Spa Valley Railway, Cranbrook windmill and museum. Those with a head for heights will love High Rocks. There is a Hoppers Heritage Festival in Five Oak Green including films and a play. The underground air raid shelter at St Matthew’s School in High Brooms is always popular with the different generations. The tram man mini museum in Paddock Wood includes model trains, motor bikes and toys.
Gardens and agriculture
There are attractive gardens at Somerhill near Tonbridge and Willicombe House in Tunbridge Wells. The Pound in the middle of Tunbridge Wells dates back to the time when farm animals would stray round the town.
There is an art and craft exhibition - to go with the medieval wall paintings – at St Thomas A Becket, Capel. There are community history exhibitions about the localities of St Barnabas and St James in Tunbridge Wells. The historic Abergavenny archives at the family seat at Eridge Park will be open.
A variety of buildings are opening their doors to the public or offering behind the scenes tours: in Tunbridge Wells the Opera House (now Wetherspoons); St Barnabas School; the Town Hall; and Trinity Arts. And in Paddock Wood the Masonic Hall.
Churches include: medieval Pembury Old Church; 17th century St John’s Groombridge; 19th century Pembury Upper Church, St Mary’s Speldhurst, St Peter’s Southborough, St Thomas’s Southborough, Christ Church Southborough, the old closed churchyard of Paddock Wood (with the remains of the 19th century Church); St Peter’s Fordcombe; and 20th century St Augustine’s, Tunbridge Wells). Look in the programme for some of the highlights at the various churches, such as notable stained glass windows, and connections with famous families.
How to use this website
Use the menu in the top left of this page by clicking on the the place names which will open up a list of the participating properties and events. You will see the opening days and times together with access codes which are detailed in a table underneath. If you click on the underlined name of the property or event an image will be displayed together with a description and full details of opening days and times. To locate properties and events click on the Map option which will open the Interactive Map page where you will find instuctions on its use.
Tunbridge Wells Heritage Open Days are organised by Tunbridge Wells Borough
Council, the Royal Tunbridge Wells Civic Society, the Southborough Society and other local amenity groups with support nationally from English Heritage.
This website is copyright The Royal Tunbridge Wells Civic Society 2012 - Registered Charity No. 276545