Tea Garden Lane. Cabbage Stalk Lane. Frog Lane.
The Kent town of Tunbridge Wells isn’t short of charmingly-named thoroughfares, but the residents of Frog Lane have gone one further, by adopting the amphibian as their unofficial mascot.
Unknown even to many local residents, Frog Lane is a steep, cobbled road, barely wide enough for a car to squeeze between the buildings. It’s lined with a variety of higgeldy-piggeldy houses and cottages, each with a unique style, including a pastel pink townhouse that’s regularly splashed across Instagram.
The whole street is reminiscent of the much more famous Mermaid Street in Rye, and its picturesque nature alone is enough to draw in visitors and photographers, but there’s something else that makes it a worthwhile stop on a tour of the town — an army of frog statues.
More than 50 frog and toad ornaments line the lane, placed there by local residents. Some sit at street level, a few balance on roof tops, and others still peep out of drainpipes. Local legend suggests that there are 52 of the creatures on Frog Lane, in a variety of shapes, sizes, materials and positions. Despite our best efforts, we’ve only ever managed to track down 42, but my goodness, we got as excited as children at an Easter egg hunt as we did so.
One frog cartwheels on a roof, another kicks back, legs crossed to sunbathe, while a third gets stuck into a book. Four of the creatures balance on top of each other, in a stony amphibian pyramid, and another peeks out of a drainpipe.
The frog statues have remained relatively unknown until recently, when they gained a bit of online traction thanks to the large numbers of locals exploring the town on walks during lockdown. They’ve been in situ since at least 2018 though, and Frog Lane residents keep things fresh with seasonal adaptations — for Easter 2021, a knitted Kermit lookalike wielding a woolly hot cross bun was strung around a drainpipe, and some of the frogs get a tinsel garland at Christmas time.
So, if you’re looking for something toadally unusual to keep the kids (and adults) hoppy on a day out in Kent, swing past Frog Lane and keep your eyes peeled.
Frog Lane, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN1 1YT. It’s a five minute walk down the High Street from Tunbridge Wells railway station (parking near Frog Lane is tricky, and you’re likely to get… toad).