Thinking of moving to Folkestone?
With its trendy eateries, galleries, boutiques and elegant period buildings, Folkestone looks like – and is – a town on the up again. Its story is that of seaside towns around Britain – a thriving resort at the start of the 20th century, it fell into decline and disrepair until regeneration began to turn its fortunes around. Yet Folkestone stands out for its character – underneath the gloss of recent investment, the town still has a thick layer of grit. And it’s all the better for it.
Folkestone’s regeneration owes a great deal to Roger de Haan, billionaire entrepreneur (he is the former owner of Saga, one of the town’s biggest employers) turned benefactor who has donated tens of millions of pounds to develop the town and support charities and schools. In particular, de Haan has funded the regeneration of the Harbour Arm, now a vibrant promenade lined with food and drink outlets, open-air seating and a big screen showing sporting events and films.
Across the harbour sits the much-lauded, Michelin Guide-listed Rock Salt restaurant; but the town’s best food is actually found at its more homespun establishments, from pub grub by the fire in the Pullman to fabulous vegetarian and vegan food at Beano’s, whose vegan sticky toffee pudding beats most other sticky toffee puddings we’ve eaten.
The beaches are, of course, the town’s best asset; both Folkestone and Sandgate are rated excellent for water quality, and though they’re mostly shingle, there’s a sandy beach by the harbour called Sunny Sands. You can enjoy a lovely walk along the seafront promenade, lined with pastel beach huts, from the harbour up to the Lower Leas Coastal Park, which has the south east’s largest free adventure play area. Keep going and you’ll find yourself in Sandgate, with its cute Victorian cottages and independent shops and cafes.
The arts scene is another of Folkestone’s strengths; there are two theatres, an annual book festival and a charming creative quarter of independent shops, galleries and cafes. Here you’ll find record stores, clothes shops and the delightful Steep Street coffee house, which has shelves of books for customers to peruse. Plus there’s the Triennial art festival – as part of which, in 2014, artist Michael Sailstorfer buried gold bars collectively worth £10,000 on the beach. No one knows whether they’ve all been found – you might strike lucky.
Houses here are not only cheaper than in much of Kent, but are really truly stunning in the west end of town, whose wide tree-lined boulevards are graced by enormous Victorian and Edwardian villas and period townhouses converted into flats. And transport links are fantastic – London is less than an hour away by train, with three services an hour to St Pancras and Charing Cross, plus you have the Eurotunnel on your doorstep and the Eurostar terminal 15 minutes away at Ashford.
At family-run Kent removal firm Colin Batt Removals, we’ve been helping people settle into homes across the county for 40 years – and are proud of our lovely corner of England. We’re based in Ashford and cover all of Kent, carrying out removals in Folkestone, Maidstone, Canterbury, Tonbridge and anywhere else you care to mention – we often work nationally and internationally too, as we specialise in piano removals. Call 01233 740395 for a free quote.