resort of Folkestone came of age during the Edwardian era as people of all
classes flocked to the coast in search of
a 'Sound Body and Virtuous Mind'. Their legacy still lives on today in the
wide, leafy avenues and beautiful cinnamon coloured brick buildings which
border almost every street.
The pedestrianised shopping area, with its high-street names, leads down
to The Lanterns; an area of period architecture and fine speciality shops
and cafes. A number of these buildings are rather elegant and have been
sympathetically restored, their fascias graced by fine Georgian stone columns.
The cobbled old High Street leads down to the harbour where it doesn't take
much to imagine the sights and sounds of a time gone by. There are many
interesting little distractions down these winding streets, especially the
old curiosity shops which huddle together in conspiratorial fashion as they
drop steeply down towards the breakwater.
The hustle and bustle of the working harbour is full of maritime character
and the natural fall of the land allows panoramic views across the Channel.
On a clear day it is even possible to see France.
The harbour has been a port of call for many visitors since time immemorial,
and it is refreshing to discover that it still thrives today, especially
with the ever-popular SeaCat service to Boulogne. It's here, near the harbour,
where you'll find the traditional market held every Sunday. If you're looking
for more of a continental flavour you'll find it nearby in Sandgate Road
where the French Market pitches up once a month. Plans are well advanced
to create environmental improvements in the harbour area, emphasizing the
importance of the harbour as a part of the town's overall attraction. A
unique aspect of a visit to the harbourside is offered by the Russian Submarine,
which is open to the public. This unusual sight brings back memories of
the Cold War to those who lived through that period, and a visit provides
an insight into how the massive Russian submarine service worked and lived.
When you visit this part of Kent you can take advantage of many day out
opportunities and a day trip to the French coast is just one of the more
unusual. A speedy sea crossing by SeaCat from Folkestone to Boulogne is
a great day out, combining the experience of the voyage with the many cultural,
shopping and culinary aspects for which France is famous. From the SeaCat
terminal, you are a stone's throw away from Nausicaa, the French national
marine centre. The cultural heritage of the city creates a historic tour
for you to enjoy. The Channel Tunnel provides an alternative opportunity
to visit Calais.
Tradition and Beauty Up on the heights you'll find The Leas, a wide and
sweeping promenade with outstanding views. During the summer months this
mile-long area is awash with breathtaking flower arrangements where the
colours are so vibrant you could only be in Kent's Garden Coast.
The bandstand on the promenade hosts regular outdoor concerts, providing
regular live entertainment throughout the season. From the promenade you
can take a ride on the Victorian Leas Cliff Lift, which hugs the cliff face
and connects The Leas with the seafront. Unlike the other lifts in Folkestone,
The Leas Lift survived both World Wars. During the Second World War it was
requisitioned and put out of action as a precautionary measure against enemy
action and the lower station became a Home Guard post. If you're feeling
a little more energetic you could always take the zigzag steps located fairly
close to the lift entrance, but be warned - there are quite a few of them!
Not far from the lower Leas Cliff Lift entrance you'll find The Rotunda,
Folkestone's traditional seaside amusements attraction. This is real thrill-a-minute
action with go-karts, dodgems, log flume, helter skelter, crazy golf and
the archetypal ghost train -don't say you haven't been warned! The Rotunda
caters for all ages, from three to ninety three! You'll also find bowling
greens, pitch and putt and a putting green on the East Cliff.