Everything you have to do in Tonbridge at least once
It’s got a medieval castle and everything
Tonbridge is the town that is endlessly mistaken for its mildly more exciting neighbour, Tunbridge Wells. It is full of schools and sad commuters. A lot of times it feels as if there is nothing to do but sit around a complain about how there is nothing to do, but Tonbridge is much more exciting than it first appears.
Sit in Tonbridge park, and mess around in the play area
On the rare occasion that the weather is nice, the park is the place to be. Lie down on the grass with some friends and a pack of cider and enjoy the sun and the bustle of activity going on around you. Tonbridge Park’s play area is immense. Though it has changed a lot since we were able to fit in the baby swings, it has not lost its charm or its ability to inspire adventurousness within us all. The best part is the sand pit.
Have a meal at the Oriental Buffet Club next to the river
If you want a cheap all you can eat buffet this is the place to go. Offering everything from chow mein to chicken nuggets, you are spoilt for choice. The food isn’t always the best quality and the decor it doesn’t have the classiest decor but it’s cheap so you can’t complain.
Visit Tonbridge Castle
The medieval castle is Tonbridge’s tourist hot-spot, but, to be honest, it’s a bit rubbish. Most of the original castle has been reduced to crumbling stone walls, and when they show plays or concerts, it usually rains. However, it is one of the best examples of a medieval castle in Kent and if you climb up the hill you get a view across the whole of the town. Lovely.
Go on a pound store crawl down Tonbridge High Street
Tonbridge high street now has two Poundlands just across the road from each other. One of them used to be a 99p store. There is also a Pound Party shop and a Poundstretcher.
Go hunting round charity shops on the High Street
Almost every shop in Tonbridge is a charity shop, and almost every item in the charity shops is last season’s Primark. Searching for something stylish is a good way to kill time and it’s even more rewarding when you finally find something fabulous.
Swim outside at Tonbridge Swimming Pool
Even if it’s freezing outside. I once went in November.
Ride on the mini train outside the swimming pool
What’s not to love about a tiny train? Feel the breeze in your hair as you hold on tight and chug round the mini railway track. It doesn’t get much more thrilling than this in Tonbridge.
Visit the fake Banksy on the riverside
Two years ago, in the dead of night, someone painted a fake Banksy policeman on a wall next to the Medway. Even to this day, no one knows who did it, but it’s still one of the most cultural points that Tonbridge has to offer.
Feed the ducks at Haysden Lake
When the weather’s nice, take a leisurely stroll to Haysden lake. Ideally, bring a dog with you too because dogs are great. Bring a loaf of bread and spend the afternoon feeding the ducks. It’s a lovely way to feel at one with nature, but if the geese start chasing you, run.
Hire a boat on the Medway
Even if no one can row and you end up stuck in the middle of the River Medway.
Meet your friends at the Starbucks opposite Poundland
The fact that Tonbridge is brimming with independent cafes is one of its best features, but we always somehow end up at Starbucks.
Have a drink at The Humphrey Bean
Why pay £9 for a cocktail across the road when you can spend the afternoon in the Spoons beer garden sipping pitchers for much less? It’s not the most picturesque Spoons but there are always some interesting characters in there. This is when you can’t be bothered to get the train to the much classier Wetherspoons in Tunbridge Wells. It’s in an old opera house.
There’s no clubs so go to a house party
To truly experience life growing up in a small town you must attend a house party. There’s nowhere to go out in Tonbridge so house parties are always the best nights. Everyone will get disgustingly drunk and someone will probably have sex upstairs, so whether or not you want to actually host it yourself is up to you.
Watch a film at the Angel Centre
Tonbridge doesn’t have a cinema. It does, however, have a small cinema at the local leisure centre which will inevitably be populated by the elderly.
Go to Fusion for a night out
Let’s face it, Tonbridge is terrible for a night out. Pure is full of old people and crime. No one goes there. No one ever will, so get on the train and spend the night at Fusion. Maybe not the whole night. Maybe just an hour. You won’t want to stay much longer than that, but if you have to get the train back you will have to stay until the bitter end then wait in the cold until the first train in the morning.
Watch lambs being born at Hadlow College
Every Spring the public are invited to the local farming college to watch the often somewhat brutal and bloody birthing of lambs. You can also ride on a tractor if you like.