The town’s changing face
Now, take a walk through the cobbled streets of Folkestone’s Creative Quarter to see how an eye-opening array of shops, bars, restaurants, galleries and studios have brought a modern, artisan edge to the town centre’s stately infrastructure. Then drop by the Folkestone Quaterhouse, one of the town’s newest performance venues, and check out its refreshing roll call of music, dance and comedy acts.
Folkestone attracts sightseers from around the world, with international visitors taking great delight in their discovery of a town drenched in old-English charm but pulsing with a very modern vibrancy. As well as the Leas, Folkestone is adorned with a promenade that extends out to sea. Formerly a ferry port, the Folkestone Harbour Arm is another of the town’s must-see hospitality hubs. Its redevelopment as a lively, quirky hive of visitor-friendly activity was funded by local businessman Sir Roger De Haan. A leading face for change in Folkestone. Boasting pop-up and traditional bars, an outdoor cinema, snack and fine-dining eateries.
‘Rocksalt’, the Harbour Arm’s architectural jewel, is typical of the town’s restaurants for its delivery of dishes created using locally farmed produce and fish caught from the surrounding deep blue sea. For a less grand, but even more authentic way to savour Folkestone’s piscine delights, Little Rock serves seafood supplied direct from trawlers operating out of Folkestone harbour and nearby Hythe Bay.
Sir Roger De Haan was also responsible for siting the world’s first multi-storey skate park in Folkestone. ‘F51’, a stunning multimillion-pound tower of energy, opened in 2022 to community and county acclaim. The three-tier action station contains 2,100m2 of skateable surface, with climbing and bouldering spaces also available, perfect for a weekend activity.
When the weekend is over, parents will be delighted to send their children to one of the many excellent schools Folkestone has to offer. Two of the town’s primary schools and two of its secondary schools achieved an ‘Outstanding’ rating in the government’s latest Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) report. This accolade, the highest achieveable Ofsted rating, was also attained by two Folkestone nurseries: Castle Hill Village Nursery, and Shorncliffe Nursery.
We now direct you to Folkestone’s beautiful Leas. Situated on the town’s western cliff top, the mile-long promenade is a walker’s paradise. The Leas is where gorgeous gardens lay and spectacular sights out to sea add to a blissful open-air experience. Take the steps to the Lower Coastal Park and wander along a zig-zag path lined with pine avenues and gardens, and as the beachhead approaches, look out for the Southeast’s largest free adventure play area, the amphitheatre, and breathtaking wildlife.
By then, you may have concluded that Folkestone is no ordinary day by the seaside.