The Pantiles in Royal Tunbridge Wells has proudly secured the third spot on American Express’ list of the UK’s top 10 High Streets for Independent Shops. Surpassing renowned locations like Petworth and Magdalane Street, The Pantiles stands out with its charming colonnade, two-level setup and picturesque backways.

In this week’s blog, we’re exploring the history of The Pantiles and the accolade received by American Express.

The history

Dating back to the 17th century, The Pantiles boasts a rich history that sets it apart. Once known as The Walks, this elegant colonnade was originally constructed to shelter visitors strolling between the famous Chalybeate Spring and the Georgian-era spa facilities.

Expanding from the wells and the summer crowds that wanted to escape the capital’s heat in the summer – The Pantiles soon became one of the most iconic streets in Britain. Revered for music and a carnival atmosphere that has distinguished the location over the centuries; it became host to diverse boutique shops and a mix of popular mix of cafes, restaurants and bars.

One of the UK’s best high streets

Identified by GlobalData, the ranking considers factors such as the proportion of independent outlets, business variety, footfall and shop occupancy. With The Old Fish Market (now Sankey’s exclusive champagne and seafood bar, which retained its name), the huge Pantiles Clock, the Polar Dance bronze sculpture intgeroduced by Beumée Contemporary Fine Art, and the famous spring in Bath Square – The Pantiles is a photographers delight.

The Pantiles offers an ideal setting for outdoor activities, markets, music events and family-friendly fun. The historic Chalybeate Spring, discovered in 1606, adds a touch of heritage to the area, now beautifully revitalised by Royal Tunbridge Wells Water. The spring’s bottled water, available in local cafes, includes natural, sparkling and botanically infused varieties.


At Targetfollow Estates Limited, we’re immensely proud of our asset. Since our acquisition of The Pantiles in 2008, we have played a key role in revitalising the location, and we are proud to see the area thrive once again. Through 14 years of strategic asset management, we have transformed a tertiary retail pitch into a premier boutique shopping location, prime eating area and venue for live entertainment in the historic town of Royal Tunbridge Wells. From hosting the famous jazz nights during the summer – to redefining the brand through social media; we have carefully maintained the timeless essence of the shopping centre, whilst subtly bringingThe Pantiles to the 21st century.

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