Along with Dover, Folkestone is an important channel port, with regular ferries and Eurotunnel trains travelling to and from France. Despite being a busy transport hub it is also a popular holiday destination with an attractive old town area, cobbled streets and a picturesque harbour.

Folkestone Harbour © Oast House Archive (CC2)

This popular seaside resort boasts a wide cliff-top promenade with attractive parks and flower gardens. This beautiful cliff-top area, known as the Leas, is backed by rows of early 20th-century terraces and crescents with far reaching sea views. From here a fine pedestrianised shopping centre leads down to the old harbour where there are fresh food stands and quaint little shops.

Although now much developed, the old town and the harbour have not lost all their old world charm. Narrow, cobbled, pub-lined streets lead down to the old wharves where the fishing boats still land daily catches. The artists' Creative Quarter has music and street theatre as well as many live events at the modern Quarterhouse venue.

Folkestone has two main beaches, one of shingle and one of sand; both ideal for bathing. There is also an open-air swimming pool. Access to the beach from the Leas is obtained either via pleasant wooded paths or by a Victorian water balance lift, one of the oldest in the county.

Along the cliff-top promenade is a statue of William Harvey, born in Folkestone in 1578, who discovered the circulation of blood. The sea road towards Hythe, runs through shaded woods and well kept gardens. A rugged area of the cliffs, known as the Warren, has an abundance of wild flowers and fossils. To the north is an ancient fortification called Caesar's Camp.

The medieval church of saint Mary and Eanswith, is named after the granddaughter of Ethelbert, the first Christian king of Kent. She established the first nunnery in England in A.D. 630, just east of the present church. The church also has a memorial window to William Harvey, physician to James I.

Once notorious as a smuggling centre, Folkestone flourished as a seaside resort after the arrival of the railways in 1842. The history of the local area is recorded in the Folkestone museum. The Eurotunnell Exhibition Centre explains the building of the tunnel with model layouts.

Map of Folkestone


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