Whether you want to see some live music, catch a show, enjoy some sports, or visit for one of Folkestone’s excellent calendar events, there are plenty of entertainment options for you to choose from during your stay by the sea.
Entertainment in Folkestone
Taking pride of place in the creative quarter of Folkestone, The Quarterhouse is an incredible multi-arts centre on Tontine Street. It houses a 220 seat (500 standing capacity) auditorium which attracts an excellent programme theatre, dance music and film performances. The building is a stunning example of architecture. An amalgam of mesh and glass, it’s supremely modern. Juxtaposed against the colourful late Georgian building of Tontine Street, it’s become an iconic sight in Folkestone town centre, particularly when it’s lit up at night. Take a look to see what’s on during your stay at our Folkestone hotel, it often welcomes some real gems to this part of the south east coast.
The town’s main entertainment venue, however, is the Leas Cliff Hall. It seats a whopping 900 people, a capacity that can increase to 1,500 when they take the seats out and turn it into a standing venue. It boasts a year-round programme of touring shows ranging from wrestling to ballet; live music to stand-up comedy. Past performers include The Rolling Stones, Queens of the Stone Age, and Kings of Leon, not to mention countless comedy acts including Frankie Boyle, Lenny Henry and Russell Howard.
Theatre in Folkestone
Live Music in Folkestone
We could have easily mentioned the Eleto Chocolate Cafe in our list of favourite places to eat in Folkestone, but that wouldn’t do justice to the main reason why we love it so much; the jazz-loving founders of the cafe have a long history with live music. Maiuko Fi, the celebrated multi-award winning singer-songwriter, is the main host of the events at the Eleto Jazz Room. She was born in Mozambique of Royal Swazi ancestry and boasts a voice that can surprise and astonish with every song. As well as Maiuko, the Eleto Jazz Room books some truly incredible artists from around the world. See what’s on during your stay, it’s arguably the best evening’s entertainment Folkestone has to offer.
On the grungier side of Folkestone’s gig scene, The Harp Restrung is a fantastic little venue. You’ll find it on Grace Hill, a short walk from The Old High Street. It is, essentially, a dive bar straight from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. The thing with DIY venues like this is, no matter how cool the place might look, how cheap drinks might be, or how fantastic the selection might be, they live and die by the quality of their sound guys. Thankfully, that’s not something The Harp Restrung needs to worry about. The staff are extremely friendly, and they’re doing great stuff for the local music scene.
Last of all, if you’re visiting during the summer months then be sure to see what’s happening at the Leas Cliff Bandstand. When the sun’s shining and the weather’s warm there’s nothing better than gazing over the sea and listening to the dulcet tones of one of the local brass bands.
You can time a trip to Folkestone around several events of the seaside town’s cultural calendar. Folkestone Book Festival takes place towards the end of November. It marks the beginning of the winter festivities. You can expect a diverse range of talks from esteemed writers from around the world. They can range from food to fighting; astronomy to art, with the majority of them taking place in the stunning Folkestone Quarterhouse.
If you’re here in September, Skabour is one of the best ska and reggae festivals in the country. It’s a community not-for-profit event organised purely for local lovers of ska, although it’s now grown to attract some of the best artists in the world.
At the height of summer you can also pay a visit to the Folkestone Airshow, where you can sit along Sandgate Beach and watch daring pilots dance across the sky, including the likes of the RAF’s infamous ‘Red Arrows’ display team.
When it comes to sports, sadly there’s not a wealth of options for you to choose from. Folkestone Invicta is the name of the local amateur football team. They play their home games at Cheriton Road, the former home of Folkestone FC, less than a mile and fewer than 15-minute’s walk from our Folkestone (Channel Tunnel) hotel. Adult tickets are just over a tenner, while student, concession and junior tickets are considerably less.
Forget sitting and watching, why not get involved? The Folkestone Sea Sports Centre at Sunny Sands – the beach that heads up our page dedicated to activities in Folkestone – is perfect for anyone wanting to take to the water. You can go power boating, kayaking, dinghy sailing, stand up paddleboarding, and plenty more, not to mention shore-based activities such as orienteering.