Thinking of moving to Folkestone? As the most successful independent estate agency in the South East, we have gathered our local knowledge to share with you, in our Living In Folkestone guide.
As well as uncovering all you need to know about local services, our guide will give you a feel for what life is like in the area, along with its history, culture and some of the recreational activities on offer!
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What Is Life Like In Folkestone?
Folkestone is a pretty Kent town combining quaint cobbled streets with contemporary art. This picturesque mixture can be seen in the pastel galleries, shops and cool bars in the town’s Creative Quarter: a perfect place for a stroll, soaking up all of the arty inspiration.
With the town’s excellent transport links into London (taking less than an hour) and to France (Calais is just 35 minutes away via Eurotunnel Le Shuttle), beautiful beaches and fantastic local schools, it’s clear to see why Folkestone is popular with commuters, families and second-home buyers alike!
History Of Folkestone
Folkestone has had residents for over 2000 years! The area was inhabited by the Romans (remains of a Roman villa were found on the East Cliff in 1924) and was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086: valued at £100, with a population of 800.
The town became a sea port during the 13th century, but things really took off in the early 19th century when the pier and harbour were built, and again in 1843 with the opening of the railway. This brought visitors from London, making it a holiday destination and by 1881, the town’s population had reached 18,986. This was a 522% increase over 50 years!
After the World Wars, the town continued to welcome tourists and holidaymakers, whilst also rebuilding itself. In more recent years the introduction of the M20, the Channel Tunnel and the High-Speed rail link to London has certainly given Folkestone a much more contemporary feel; yet it still retains its quaint seaside charm.
Days Out In Folkestone
Folkestone’s sandy shores attract thousands of visitors each year – and for good reason too! Both the town’s beautiful beaches provide prime spots for sunbathing, picnics and seaside strolls. The sandy beach, located next to the harbour hosts an annual sandcastle competition in July, with amazing entries that need to be seen to be believed!
Whilst on the harbour beach, don’t forget to dig for gold. Artist Michael Sailstorfer hid around thirty 24-carat gold bars with a value of around £10,000 on Folkestone's Outer Harbour beach in Kent in 2014 as part of an arts festival. Only a handful have been found so far, so grab your shovel and get digging!
If you don’t fancy a day on the beach, but still want to take in the stunning scenery, have a leisurely walk to The Leas and explore the coastal park. Enjoy the all-year-round flowers, see a performance at the amphitheatre or let the kids run loose in the largest free adventure play area in the south-east. Then take a ride in the Leas Lift; an original Victorian hydraulic cable car, transporting visitors between the promenade and seafront.
Each weekend, the recently restored Folkestone Harbour Arm is open, giving residents and tourists a packed programme of live music, along with food, bars and activities to enjoy, not least the chance to enjoy some of the town’s most amazing views. Relax and dine al fresco or walk down to the lighthouse, for a chilled day out.
Things To Do In Folkestone
Whether you are into theatre, sports or eating out, Folkestone has plenty of things to entertain its residents and visitors!
The Quarterhouse, in the town’s Creative Quarter, is a small and intimate modern venue, showcasing a range of interests from theatre, dance and comedy to films and music.
As well as a thriving arts scene, Folkestone has a busy sports community with an amateur boxing club, squash club, Wyndgate badminton club, along with many more. The town has its own football club, Folkestone Invicta, to support from the sidelines too! The Folkestone Sports Centre boasts a fantastic array of facilities such as a fitness suite and studios, swimming pools, ski and toboggan slopes and more.
Keen foodies will be impressed with Folkestone’s range of cafés and restaurants too! Rocksalt is just one award-winning restaurant in the town and with its seasonal, locally-inspired menus and panoramic sea views; it has become a favourite spot for locals and celebrities to frequent.
Schools In Folkestone
Folkestone has a number of excellent schools and educational facilities within close proximity.
Primary and first schools include:
- All Souls' Church Of England Primary School
- Capel-le-ferne Primary School
- Cheriton Primary School
- Folkestone Christ Church C. of E. Primary School
- George Spurgen Community Primary School
- Harcourt Primary School
- Hawkinge Primary School
- Lyminge C. of E. Primary School
- Morehall Primary School
- Mundella Primary School
- Folkestone Academy
- Sandgate Primary School
- St. Eanswythe's C. of E. Primary School
- Stella Maris Catholic Primary School
- The Churchill School
Secondary schools include:
- Pent Valley Technology College
- The Folkestone School For Girls
- The Harvey Grammar School
Higher education institutions include:
- South Kent College
Transport In Folkestone
Folkestone is well-connected and has fantastic transport links.
Folkestone has two rail stations: Folkestone Central and Folkestone West. Both stations offer services running to London St. Pancras (taking less than an hour) and London Charing Cross (in less than an hour and a half).
Buses and coaches
Stagecoach operates regular routes to surrounding towns including Folkestone, Canterbury and Dover.
London City and Gatwick airports are the nearest international airports to Folkestone, both located 72 miles away.
Folkestone is located close to the M20, giving great access to Ashford, Maidstone and London (within 90 minutes), along with connections to the M25. The A20 also runs from the town, connecting it to Dover. The A259 from the north of Folkestone provides easy access to Folkestone, New Romney, Rye, Hastings, Bexhill and Pevensey in East Sussex.