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A Brief History of The Pantiles


Fresh Seafood Restaurant in Kent on The Pantiles Parade

Although up on Mount Ephraim our Seafood Kitchen & Bar is known for its relaxed environment and hearty Pub menu, we know the Old Fishmarket is your go-to destination if you’re after something a bit more sophisticated – it is our Champagne and Oyster bar after all!


It makes perfect sense too, as it’s situated right in the centre of Tunbridge Wells’ most bustling and visually impressive destination, the Pantiles.


There’s certainly a story or two to tell about this Georgian parade, as the location upon which it’s built has been at the heart of the town’s growth ever since 1606. After major development work occurred following a Baron’s belief that nearby waters were key to good health, Tunbridge Wells later became a desirable destination for pleasure seekers and the ‘in crowd’ towards the end of the century.


Not much has changed there then, right?


Not quite, as some of these hedonists would occasionally go overboard resulting in the town being presented in a negative light in both literary works and on stage. That all changed in the 18th Century however thanks to the work of a certain Beau Nash who, as the man in charge of entertainment, managed to draw more than a thousand resident visitors to the Pantiles.


The main attraction, or so we’d like to think, was its transformation into the walk we see today marked by its distinct architecture and craftsmanship. In fact its success can be seen based on the original intention for this to be where “the fashionable of the world would stroll under the avenue of tall trees, drink coffee, sample waters from the market stalls,[and] gossip” – ring any bells?


Although we’re a bit of a late addition, we’re always honoured to uphold the deep-rooted heritage of this stunning spot by serving up great seafood, with a little liquid-refreshment, at the Old Fishmarket. Spend an evening at Sankey’s and you won’t only be dining with a beautiful backdrop, you’ll be making a little bit of history too…

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