Oh we do like to be beside the seaside, particularly the south East’s pretty seaside town of Folkestone. It’s home to the Channel Tunnel, one of the fastest ways to get to France and continental Europe. But what’s the rush? There’s plenty for you to see and do in this pretty corner of the country. From days out at the beach to evening entertainment at the Leas Cliff Hall, Folkestone might not ‘have it all’, but it’s certainly not shy of options for anyone staying at our Folkestone hotel. You can go shopping around the Cultural Quarter, eat out along Sandgate Road, or enjoy an afternoon in one of the town’s friendly pubs. Folkestone is a place of culture, entertainment, and leisure; perfect for anyone planning a staycation in the UK.
Things to do in Folkestone
When the sun’s shining and the weather’s warm Folkestone comes into its own. You can spend the day on one of the seaside town’s beaches, or enjoy a walk through the stunning Leas Cliff Coastal Park. The Folkestone Harbour Arm has been newly renovated and is well worth visiting for its eateries and incredible views. While, if the heavens open and you’re looking for indoor activities, there are other great options too.
Time your trip to Folkestone around some of the town’s popular calendar events, which range from book festivals and air shows to celebrations of ska. You can also take your pick of year-round entertainment venues in Folkestone, such as the stunning new Quarterhouse arts centre, the famous Leas Cliff Hall, and a handful of smaller music venues where you can catch everything from jazz to metal.
Places to eat
When your tummy starts rumbling, you can take your pick from a wonderful array of restaurants and cafes in Folkestone. We’ve pulled together some of our favourites, so you can enjoy a harbourside dinner with a stunning view, full English breakfasts, ‘freak shakes’, fish and chips, pizzas, and plenty more.
While Folkestone may be lacking any kind of club scene, the seaside town has more than its fair share of bars and pubs. Our local guide gets things started with the peoples’ favourite micropub before moving on to the stunning Wetherspoons, a rum-lover’s paradise, and a fine drinking establishment with some pukka eating.
If you’re craving some retail therapy during your stay in Folkestone, the town’s main shopping centre is Bouverie Place. It’s home to favourite High Street names such a TK Maxx, Primark and Starbucks. While you’re there you may want to pop into Topshop and Debenhams, which are just next door. Sandgate Road is where you’ll find many of our favourite places to eat in Folkestone. It’s also effectively the town’s High Street, home to familiar names like Waterstones, CeX, Superdrug and Clarks. It leads around to Rendezvous Street where you’ll find some of the more upmarket shops and boutiques in Folkestone. Be sure to check out the Creative Quarter, too. It’s the area around the narrow, colourful cobbled Old High Street, which is home to more than a hundred creatives as well a quirky independent shops selling everything from vintage clothing to local art, upcycled homeware and second hand vinyl records.
We can’t talk about travel without mentioning the Channel Tunnel, also known as Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, which runs between Folkestone and Calais in France. The main terminal is north of the town centre, with its own junction 11A off the M20. There are as many as four departures per hour, and it takes just 35 minutes to reach France. Folkestone Central is the town’s main train station. It’s on the South Eastern Main Line which runs from London Charing Cross to Dover Priory, and also stops off at Folkestone West, the town’s secondary station which serves the western area of Folkestone as well as Sandgate.
Travel by car and it will take you roughly two hours to reach the capital. However, by train you can get from Folkestone Central to London St Pancras in under an hour. In terms of public transport, Folkestone Bus Station is in the heart of town, right next to the Bouverie Place shopping centre. The town is small enough to get around by foot. However, if you need to catch a taxi, Folkestone does have Uber. Alternatively, you can take your pick from any number of trusted local options, including the popular JJ Taxis, and Folkestone Taxi.