Tunbridge Wells Borough Council is very proud to be hosting the Olympic Torch Relay on Tuesday 17 July.
Tunbridge Wells is the first place in Kent that the Torch will visit and we want people from across the borough to line the route and be a part of this historic occasion. This is a once in a lifetime event and definitely not to be missed.
We expect this will be a very exciting day for the town and as with any event of this size there will be some disruption to traffic both before the Torch arrives and afterwards as people are leaving. Please be patient.
Where should I watch the Torch?
As it enters the borough at 11.20am the Torch will be in convoy mode – this means the Torch is in the one of the vehicles in the convoy but you’re unlikely to be able to see it.
The Torchbearer convoy vehicles, including the vehicles of the presenting partners will pass through the route ahead of the torchbearers arriving. When it reaches the A264, near the Spa Hotel, it will be given to the first of at least eight inspirational Torch Bearers who have been chosen to carry it proudly as it makes its way along the Tunbridge Wells route. From this point you’ll be able to view the Torch.
It will be carried along Mount Ephraim, Grosvenor Road, Upper Grosvenor Road, Meadow Road, Goods Station Road, Grosvenor Road, Mount Pleasant Road, High Street, and London Road.
On Eridge Road the convoy will split and the Torchbearer will carry the Flame through the historic Pantiles rejoining the convoy at Linden Park Road. It then makes its way along Eridge Road to the junction with Summervale Road where, at 11.55am the Torch will return to convoy only mode before heading out of the county.
We hope a lot of people will come along and view the Torch with us so we’re advising you plan ahead and choose where you want be to see the Relay.
Stewards will line the route and on some parts of it, including Grosvenor Road and Mount Pleasant, there will be barriers or tape put up for your safety.
Access to some areas, such as the Pantiles, may be restricted if overcrowded, so if there is a specific place you would like to watch the Torch from please make sure you arrive early.
The only road to be closed will be the High Street, between 8am and midday. On-street parking along the route in the direction the Torch is travelling will be suspended for the same period. This applies to all vehicles including blue badge holders, there is disabled parking in the town’s car parks.
As the Torch makes it way through the town rolling road closures will be implemented, meaning short, temporary stops for traffic. Every effort will be made to keep disruption to a minimum.
Access to public car parks may be limited at times so we’re advising everyone who wants to come into the town to either walk, or use public transport if at all possible. If driving please arrive and park in plenty of time.
On-street parking along the route in the direction the Torch is travelling will be suspended between 8am and midday.
What else is happening?
On the day, the focus is on the Torch Route but there will also be activities and entertainment in Calverley Grounds, organised by Tunbridge Wells Museum & Art Gallery, for visitors who want to extend their time in the town. The entertainment will be based around the flat area close to the Calverley Café.
The House of Curious Engagements by Sondry Folk will be there. This is a portable live art gallery, showcasing a circus performance and contemporary artwork. The house and all of its content forms a public art piece, a body of work reflecting themes about the meaning of home.
The circus performance follows the story of two characters, one mischievously cheeky, the other a little straight laced as they endeavor to move into The House of Curious Engagements. This piece combines acrobatics, slack-rope and juggling to provide a dynamic and engaging performance that the audience can watch through large windows situated around the house. The performance lasts approx 30 minutes and is suitable for all ages.
When the performance has finished the house is open as a gallery space to enter and explore, viewing and interacting with the exhibiting artwork.
An 80 strong group of children, teenagers and adults will be performing, Motown, gospel and chart songs. The choir will be comprised of members from the Tunbridge Wells, Wadhurst, Crowborough & Uckhurst, Paddock Wood, Maidstone, Sevenoaks, Orpington and Tonbridge Rock Choir™ choirs.
Rock Choir™ is the largest amateur choir in the world. Rock Choir offers its members the opportunity to sing without the need to audition, read music, or have any previous singing experience – it’s the contemporary choir for people who love to sing.
The Kent Cultural Baton, which is a unique, mobile public artwork designed by artist Nicole Mollett that’s touring Kent in the period leading up to the London 2012 Games, is there too.
Well worth a visit, the Cultural Baton, in an American Airstream caravan, is a creative workspace that at each visit captures the sights and sounds of its location – a visual and aural map, a snapshot in time. Artist Nicole Mollett will be onsite to engage and inspire visitors.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service will have their display vehicle parked alongside the Great Hall car park.
Don’t forget too, the Spectator exhibition is open to visitors to the Tunbridge Wells Museum & Art Gallery. Spectator asks what does it mean to be a sports fan? How has a passion for sport shaped people’s lives both in the past and the present? Through contemporary photographs, costume and historic objects, The Spectator explores these questions and more.
With opportunities to interact and get involved, the exhibition is a chance for you to tell the world what watching sport means to you. Why not submit your photos from the Relay for the Wall of Fans?
Please be safe and help us to make sure the event is safe. Look after your belongings. If you notice anyone acting suspiciously or see unattended bags or suspicious items tell a steward or a police officer.
Do not leave your bags or belongings unattended, as it may cause an unnecessary security alert.
Other 2012 events
Not everyone will be able to escape their normal routine and watch the Torch on its journey and for those who can’t make it there is still the weekend of celebrations in Dunorlan Park which includes big screen coverage of the opening ceremony of the Games. Events during the weekend also include the annual Mela and a community day. The Proms in the Park concert is part of the weekend’s events and tickets for this wonderful concert are on sale now from the Assembly Hall Theatre, please call 01892 530613 or visit www.assemblyhalltheatre.co.uk/proms-in-dunorlan-park.
Follow the Torch in Tunbridge Wells on Twitter @TWellsCouncil, #TWTorch