History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: Groombridge House and Gardens
There are really two Groombridges, for the village straddles the boundary of Kent and East Sussex. The larger and newer portion of the village, known as New Groombridge, lies in East Sussex, while the oldest part of the village is in Kent. Most of the village facilities (shops, post office, bakery) lie in New Groombridge, while only the Crown Inn serves the older part of the village.
There was a manor house here as early as 1239, but the present house was built by Philip Packer in 1662, with help from his friend, architect Sir Christopher Wren. The house is visited today for its glorious gardens, some of which were laid out in 1674. Legend says that a group of notorious smugglers called the Groombridge Gang built secret tunnels from the cellars of Groombridge House to the nearby Crown Inn, though the tunnels have never been found.
St John the Evangelist Church
The small church of St John the Evangelist features good stained glass and memorial brasses. The church dates to 1625 and was built as a private chapel for Groombridge Place. It later became a chapel of ease for Speldhurst before becoming a fully fledged parish church in its own right. Over the door is an inscription commemorating Prince Charles (later Charles II) and his safe return from Spain.
The three feathers of the Prince of Wales also appear over the door. The font dates to 1625, as do the finely carved pulpit with its sounding board. The best monument in the church is to Philip Packer of Groombridge House, who died in 1686.
Spa Valley Railway
The SVR, as it is known, had a station in Groombridge, on the route to Three Bridges, Rowfant, and Grange known as the Three Bridges line. In 1985 the route was closed due to British Rail cutbacks. The railway line reopened in 1997 as a heritage railway running to Tunbridge Wells. The SVR is served by a new station, while the old station house is now used as the ticket office.
Address: Groombridge, Kent, England
Attraction Type: Village
Location: On the B2110 just west of Royal Tunbridge Wells
Photo Credit: N Chadwick, licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence
We've 'tagged' this attraction information to help you find related historic attractions and learn more about major time periods mentioned.
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17th century (Time Period) -
NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Groombridge Place Gardens - 0.2 miles (Garden)
Spa Valley Railway - 3 miles (Family Attraction)
Tunbridge Wells Chalybeate Springs - 3.2 miles (Historic Building)
Tunbridge Wells Museum & Art Gallery - 3.6 miles (Museum)
Penshurst Place - 3.8 miles (Historic House)
Chiddingstone Castle - 5 miles (Historic House)
Hever Castle - 5.7 miles (Castle)
Hammerwood Park - 5.8 miles (Historic House)
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