Opera House, Royal Tunbridge Wells - Atlas Obscura

Opera House, Royal Tunbridge Wells

Royal Tunbridge Wells, England

A grand Wetherspoon pub set in a former opera house dating back to 1902. 


One of the largest pubcos in the United Kingdom, JD Wetherspoon runs almost 900 boozers across the country, several of which repurpose Grade II-listed historic buildings. One of its finest examples can be found in the town of Royal Tunbridge Wells, housed in a grand opera house built in Edwardian Baroque style.

Boasting a capacity of 1,100, the Opera House originally opened in 1902 and was purchased by Union Cinemas in 1931 to be converted into a cinema. Though it was bombed and set aflame during World War II, the Opera House reopened in 1949 and was used as a bingo hall in the 1960s.

In 1996, Wetherspoon purchased the historic building and converted it into a public house. The interior, which retains much of the features of the theater, is known for its grandeur, offering a semi-surreal experience—perhaps the poshest place to grab a pint. The pub has also hosted several opera performances since 2006, reviving the past of the Opera House.

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November 13, 2023

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