Folkestone, a coastal town in Kent, overlooks the English Channel and is only seven miles west of Dover. It is still one of England’s busiest ports and a popular place to visit in England due to its pleasant coastal setting.
Its development as an important holiday destination began in the mid-nineteenth century with the construction of the railroad from London, so the town’s distinctive architecture dates primarily from Victorian times.
Folkestone has a plethora of things to see and do, such as spending time at the beachfront amusement arcades and pavilions, having a refreshing stroll along the large promenade and Harbour Arm, or dining in a restaurant or café in the town’s fashionable Creative Quarter.
And don’t miss a stroll through the well-kept parkland that stretches down the coast, particularly the famed East Cliff and Warren Country Park, which offers stunning views of France in clear weather. Learn about these and other Folkestone attractions and activities.
Folkestone is the quintessential English seaside town, complete with arcades, funfairs, and pebble beaches, as well as pleasant promenades and a quaint fishing harbour.
Much of the original downtown centre has been redeveloped into the Creative Quarter, which is now home to artists, fashionable shops and boutiques, art galleries, cafés, and restaurants. This is an excellent spot to stroll about, shop, or have a bite to eat.
The magnificent residential district known as The Leas, with its charming squares and gardens dating from 1843, is the town’s true historic treasure.
Folkestone’s address is Old High Street.
The super-fast Eurotunnel transportation service, which uses the Channel Tunnel, commenced operating in 1994, over 250 years after the initial proposals to construct a fixed link between Britain and the continent were conceived in 1751.
Today, this amazing marvel of engineering transports over 11 million passengers every year between London and destinations like Paris and Brussels.
The tunnel (or “Chunnel”) connects Calais and Folkestone and features 31 miles of double-track in the major tunnels, as well as large surface-level terminal facilities. Le Shuttle trains transport autos, coaches, and heavy freight trucks in addition to passengers.
The Folkestone White Horse is a significant nearby landmark. This amazing horse was built in 2003, continuing a centuries-long tradition that has seen similar gigantic artworks erected on various chalk hills around England. It appears to actually burst out of the hillside above the Channel Tunnel station.
Folkestone’s address is Ashford Road.
The Folkestone Museum, which is centred on a collection of fossils that came into the town’s possession in the late nineteenth century, is definitely worth adding to your vacation itinerary.
In addition to the fossils and a significant collection of natural history objects, the museum is housed in the old Town Hall and offers a range of intriguing exhibitions connected with the town’s history.
Displays of historical attire and artwork recount the tale, with a special emphasis on its rise to fame as a Victorian vacation destination.
There is also a wonderful collection of items and materials relating to the town’s historic maritime history.
This contains model vessels, fishing-related objects, and information about the smuggling problem in the 1700s and 1800s. The “Frontline” display also includes material from the war years.
Temporary exhibitions are also on display (for details on forthcoming events, visit the attraction’s website). On the premises, there is a gift shop.
Folkestone’s address is 1-2 Guildhall Street.
Your Folkestone itinerary should include include a visit to the Parish Church of St. Mary and St. Eanswythe. Parts of the church, which is located on Church Street near Old High Street, date back to the 13th century.
One of its most prominent characteristics is its unusual centre tower, which was rebuilt in the 1800s. It’s also worth seeing for the stained-glass window depicting William Harvey, who was born here in 1578 and developed the circulatory system.
The church’s reliquary is also noteworthy. The bones discovered buried in a wall during renovations in the late 1800s were eventually verified to be the remains of St. Eanswythe, who died in the 7th century.
A little brass door and grille identify the location where they were discovered (and later reinterred).
Group tours (for groups of 10 to 20 persons) can be organised.
Folkestone’s address is Church Street.
The Battle of Britain Memorial Trust looks after the National Memorial to the Few at Capel-le-Ferne. This eye-catching monument honours Churchill’s famed “Few” — the pilots that battled in the skies over this portion of England to preserve the country safe from attack.
The names of the 3,000 men who flew, fought, and died in what is usually regarded as Britain’s most critical war of the twentieth century are engraved on the memorial.
Folkestone, New Dover Road, Capel-le-Ferne
The Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway (RH&DR) is the “world’s biggest tiniest railway,” with tracks only 15 inches between and a background of some of Kent’s most gorgeous scenery.
This extraordinary, completely functional railway operates over 13.5 miles of track running across Romney Marsh from Hythe all the way to Dungeness, a National Nature Reserve consisting of one of the world’s biggest stretches of shingle (it’s also home to the Old Lighthouse, which opened in 1904).
The RH&DR, which was built in the 1920s and memorably opened by Laurel and Hardy, saw combat during WWII, both as an armoured train and as part of the D-Day oil-pipeline network.
A return trip now takes little over an hour, but you should break up your travel by stopping at one or more of the railway’s six stops to explore the adjacent beaches, amusement arcades, shops, nature hikes, and bike lanes.
The RH&DR’s website has a year-round working schedule as well as information on fun themed events, charters, and programmes like how to drive a steam engine.
New Romney Station is located in New Romney.
Lower Leas Coastal Park is divided into three recreational areas. The formal zone, which begins at Leas Lift, the town’s 125-year-old funicular train, consists of lovely pine avenues, gardens, and flowers that bloom all year.
Other features include the fun zone, which has one of England’s largest free adventure play zones, as well as a famous amphitheatre.
Finally, the park’s wild zone is devoted to conservation and the protection of native animals. Within the park, there are picnic areas and a café.
Folkestone’s address is Lower Sandgate Road.
Sandgate, a lovely seaside community south of Folkestone, is a perfect side trip for sightseeing due to its beaches and stunning views of the English Channel.
The village’s High Street is a great area to go shopping. It’s well-known for its antiques and collectibles, and it also boasts a great assortment of tiny independent stores and eateries, including classic fish and chips.
Sandgate has an interesting history and was once a popular hangout for smugglers. It was also threatened by invasion twice: first during Napoleonic times and again during WWII.
Sandgate’s address is High Street.
The Kent Battle of Britain Museum, located in adjacent Hawkinge, is housed in an ancient armoury and includes the RAF Room, the Luftwaffe Room, the Aircraft Armaments Room, and an art gallery.
The museum, which claims to have the world’s greatest collection of Battle of Britain relics, actually holds objects collected from more than 700 crash sites around the country.
A variety of very instructive exhibits, replete with maps, papers, pictures, and artefacts from fighting planes that crashed in the vicinity, have been placed up. On-site, there is a café.
Hawkinge’s address is Aerodrome Road.