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Living in Cranbrook: The local area guide

Cranbrook is a historic medieval town within the boundaries of the beautiful High Weald National Park in Kent, England. It features some of the most enchanting ancient buildings of the county, and its layout makes it feel like it is almost trapped in time. In centuries gone by, Cranbrook was an important economic driver for the area. It was mostly focused on the cloth weaving industry, and the ancient Union Mill that still stands in the centre of the town remains a reminder of this fact.

Cranbrook is also home to the 'Cathedral of the Weald', St Dunstan's Church. It was finished in the early 15th century and has a spectacular tower, 74 feet tall. Another relic of the 15th century is what used to be an old manor and farm house, now the Cranbrook Museum.

The Cranbrook Museum is full of all kinds of interesting artifacts detailing the fascinating history of the town. It's a history full of drama and intrigue. King-defying writer Daniel Defoe lived in Cranbrook, and before that it was host to horrific witch hunts and smuggler gangs.

Today, the town is much quieter and very picturesque. It has a warm, friendly atmosphere and the surroundings make it stand out as one of the most sought-after places to live in Kent.


According to the 2011 Census there are 5,400 people living in Cranbrook.

Cranbrook lies within the affluent Royal Tunbridge Wells area. Jobseeker's Allowance is claimed by only 1.2% of the population, half the rate for Kent and a third of that for England. In terms of social grade, the region is overwhelmingly tilted towards the upper end of the scale. Two thirds of households belong to the ABC1 social grades, which is to say the primary earner works in a job role considered to be Higher or Intermediate professional, managerial, technical, or administrative. The rate for the rest of the country is a little over 50%.

This may all be related to levels of education, which are also above average. Only 17% of the population have no qualifications, which compares to 23% for the rest of England, and 35% have some form of university degree – much higher than the 27% figure for the country. Home ownership rates are very slightly elevated above the national average.

Cranbrook is proud to be a healthy village, with a number of locals living to well over 90 and attributing their vitality to the water's high iron content. Statistically, more than half of residents describe their health as 'very good', and a further 34% as 'good'.


Within Cranbrook there are four schools. For children up to the age of 11 there is Cranbrook Church of England Primary School. Ofsted have observed it improving quickly in recent years, and gave it particular acclaim for its early years learning provisions.

Dulwich Preparatory School educates children up to 13, and has close historical connections with Dulwich College. Past the age of 13 there is Cranbrook School, a secondary school, and the High Weald Academy, which boasts its own on-site farm.


For drivers, Cranbrook is fairly well placed. While there is no main road through the town, keeping it nice and peaceful, the A229 and A21 are not far away. Royal Tunbridge Wells is just a 20-30 minute drive away along the latter.

The railway station in Cranbrook was closed in the early 1960s, severely diminishing public transport options. However, there is still a bus service run by Arriva Southern Coaches and the nearest railway station, a few miles away in Staplehurst, has a direct service to London Waterloo East which takes just 50 minutes.

Amenities and shopping

Cranbrook is well served in terms of amenities and shopping. There are some very good independent craft stores, antique shops, galleries and boutiques. There is also a good range of conveniences, including a bakers, butchers, grocers, newsagents and chemist.

Cranbrook is also known for having a good range of places to eat and drink – from cosy pubs to classy wine bars and restaurants.

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact

All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith.

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