8 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Folkestone
The seaside resort of Folkestone lies just seven miles west of Dover. Still a busy port, its development as an important holiday destination began in the mid-19th century with the building of the railroad, hence the fact the town's characteristic buildings date mainly from Victorian times. Entertainment and attractions in Folkestone are plentiful, and include spending time in fun amusement arcades and pavilions or taking a refreshing stroll along the wide seafront promenade. Be sure to take a walk through the well-tended parkland extending along the cliff-top, from where there are fine views across to France in clear weather.
1 Folkestone Town Center
Folkestone is the quintessentially English coastal town, complete with everything a trip to the seaside should entail: arcades, funfairs, and pebble beaches, as well as pleasant promenades and a quaint fishing harbor. Much of the old downtown core has been transformed into a Creative Quarter populated by artists, trendy shops, galleries, cafés and restaurants.
The Church of St Mary & St Eanswythe, situated around Old High Street, is worth visiting for its stained window showing William Harvey, the discoverer of the body's circulatory system. He was born here in 1578. St John's Commandery is a medieval chapel that was converted into a farmhouse in the 16th century and features a unique molded plaster ceiling and a remarkable timber roof. The real historic gem of the town, however, is the elegant residential area known as The Leas, with its attractive squares and gardens dating from 1843.
Location: Old High St, Folkestone
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Folkestone - TripAdvisor.com
2 Channel Tunnel
Nearly 250 years in the making (the first plans to establish a fixed link between Britain and the continent were made as early as 1751) the super-fast Eurotunnel transportation service that uses the Channel Tunnel began operation in 1994. It now moves 10 million passengers a year. The tunnel crosses under the English Channel between Calais and Folkestone, and includes 31 miles of double track in the main tunnels, plus extensive surface-level terminal facilities.
Train operation consists of the Le Shuttle trains conveying cars and coaches, and others carrying heavy goods vehicles. Other trains using Eurotunnel infrastructure, such as the high-speed passenger services between London and Paris, make travel between England and Europe fast and easy.
Location: Ashford Rd, Folkestone
3 Lower Leas Coastal Park
The Lower Leas Coastal Park is split into three recreational zones. Beginning at the 125-year-old funicular railway Leas Lift, the formal zone consists of attractive pine avenues, gardens and flowers that bloom year-round. The fun zone is home to one of the largest free adventure play areas in England, as well as a popular amphitheater. Finally, the park's wild zone is dedicated to conservation and local wildlife.
Location: Lower Sandgate Rd, Folkestone
4 Samphire Hoe
Wondering where all that chalk dug up for the Channel Tunnel went? Well, wonder no more. Samphire Hoe is a 74 acre piece of land located at the foot of famous Shakespeare Cliff mid-way between Dover and Folkestone. It's also one of the best places from which to truly appreciate the drama of the magnificent White Cliffs. It's a great place not just for sightseeing, but also for bird watching and sea angling.
Location: Samphire Rd, Dover
5 National Memorial to the Few
The National Memorial to the Few at Capel-le-Ferne is maintained by the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust and is dedicated to Churchill's famous "Few" - the pilots who fought in the skies above this part of England to keep the country free from invasion. The Memorial itself includes the names of the 3,000 men who flew, fought and died in what is widely considered Britain's most crucial battle of the 20th century.
Location: New Dover Rd, Capel-le-Ferne, Folkestone
Located south of Folkestone, the charming coastal village of Sandgate is a great side trip for sightseeing thanks to its beaches with their long views over the Channel. The village High Street is famous for its antiques and collectables, plus has a wonderful selection of small independent shops and restaurants (including traditional fish and chips). Sandgate has had a rich history. It was once a hangout for smugglers, and has faced the threat of invasion twice: once during Napoleonic times, and again in WWII.
Location: High St, Sandgate
7 Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway
The spectacular Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway (RH&DR) bills itself as the "world's biggest smallest railway". This remarkable 1/3 scale, fully functioning steam railway operates along 13 miles of track stretching across picturesque Romney Marsh from Hythe all the way to Dungeness. This terminus is one of the largest expanses of shingle in the world, designated a National Nature Reserve and home to the Old Lighthouse.
Built in the 1920s, the RH&DR even saw action during WWII, both as an armored train and as part of the oil-pipeline network for D-Day. Today, six stations span the length of the line - some of them used regularly by commuting school kids. Most are just a short walk to the beach, so plan ahead and break up your trip a little.
Location: New Romney Station, New Romney
8 Kent Battle of Britain Museum
The Kent Battle of Britain Museum is located in an old armory and features the RAF Room, the Luftwaffe Room, the Aircraft Armaments Room and an art gallery. A number of highly informative displays have been set up, complete with maps, documents, photos and artifacts from fighting aircraft that crashed in the area.
Location: Aerodrome Road, Hawkinge