What To Do In Folkestone – Staycations for the Family

If you are staycationing in Folkestone there is so much to do!  The Kent Down’s and Heritage Coastline has been selected by the Lonely Planet Guide as one of the top 10 places to visit in the world.  It’s the only UK destination to make the list.  And, the Sunday Times suggests this is one of the best places to live in Britain in 2024.  Therefore, come to Folkestone to take in what we have to offer. The 2021 Creative Folkestone Triennial has added new artworks to see in our outdoor urban settting, and the 2025 Triennial is just around the corner.

The Harbour Arm is open and showing free family films on the Big Screen along with the major sporting events happening into the autumn.  There are camp sites such as the wonderful Little Switzerland Campsite on the East Cliff, or lounge in luxury in one of our hotels on The Leas and visit in style!  This Folkestone Family Trail takes two days and you will only have scratched the surface of what we have to offer!  There’s plenty to do outdoors to maintain social distancing during your stay in Folkestone.

Day one:

The east cliff

Camp, or take lunch, at the Little Switzerland Caravan and Camping site which has stunning views across our natural paradise – The Warren – and the English Channel.

Folkestone Beach

Looking over the town from this vantage point you can see your route for the next two days.  Sunny Sands lies at the bottom of the East Cliff and is an excellent sandy beach to play on.  Check the tide times to plan your play.  You can also hire stand-up paddleboards and kayaks at the Folkestone Sea Sports centre if you fancy dipping in the sea!

Harbour Arm

Find something to eat for lunch on Folkestone’s Harbour.  You will find Gobsmack’d – burgers to get your mouths around; Big Greek Bus – sit on the bus on the Arm to eat authentic Greek food; Go Dutch for the most delicious balls of pancake drizzled in chocolate or caramel sauce.

The Goods Yard has other food outlets and houses the Big Screen.  This shows all the major sporting fixtures for the summer months. Check out their website – Folkestone Harbour Arm – to find out how to book.  At other times during the summer months there is a film programme for the Big Screen.  Some family films will be shown for free and other films will be ticketed.

Just opposite the station platform you’ll find the adventure golf which is great fun for all the family.  Across the Arm on the pebbly beach you will discover Beachside and Triennial artworks past and present.

Walk the Old High Street

Folkestone’s independent shops celebrate the creative elements that underpin our town.  Creative Folkestone supports the artists that work from the studios and galleries on The Old High Street. Please bring a mask so you can enter the shops, following the guidelines advertised on the doors. This is the main thoroughfare connecting the harbour area to the top end of town.  There are plenty of shops from Moo Like A Monkey – the ultimate children’s shop, to Hiraeth Creative – a gallery supporting local artists, and The Cake Junction showing inspiring edible artistry.

Folkestone is a food town

Find something for supper that suits everyone; there’s Luben’s Pizza – Folkestone’s very own pizza restaurant that knocks the socks of any brand chain in the country; The Pullman Pub is on Church Street – just to the left of the museum – serving a feast of the finest pub food in Kent; there’s The Folkestone Wine Company for something sophisticated.  Lucky Chip for burgers, Cocomee for authentic Asian fusion, Cabron for authentic Mexican cocktails.

Folkestone Museum

The Folkestone Museum holds some amazing artifacts found in the local area.  From dinosaur fossils to evidence of smugglers in the 17th Century, there is lots to do in this hands-on museum.

Folkestone Family Trail
Monopoly Folkestone Food
Folkestone Living
The Goods Yard with screen
Creative Quarter Folkelife
Folkestone the Sea
Lower Leas Coastal Park
Rana Begum Beach Huts Credit Thierry Bal

Day two:

If you’ve chosen to stay on the West side of town there are plenty of hotels to choose from.  The Burlington, The View,  The Clifton with its Marco Pierre White Steakhouse are all located on The Leas, then this is your starting point for today.  If you are camping at Little Switzerland, then take this route in reverse!

THe leas and lower Leas Coastal Park

The Leas is where you can walk along the top of the cliffs overlooking the Channel.  It’s a great place to skate-board and walk the dog.  Opposite The Bandstand is the 10 Hour Clock and the Zig-Zag path which will take you down to the Amphitheater.  You can also spend hours playing in the Lower Leas Coastal Park which has something for all ages – zip wires, long tunnel slides, a pirate ship and more.

creative Folkestone Triennial

Every three years Creative Folkestone puts on an international arts festival.  The town becomes and outdoor art gallery and some of the installations remain permanently.  There are 3 audio guides to aid your tours around the town to discover the works from artists such as: Gilbert & George, Atta Kwami, the kaleidoscopic Beach Huts from Rana Begum, and look out for some skateboard situations from Assemble across town.

You can also see the other 74 permanent artworks by 46 different artists such as Tracey Emin, Antony Gormley, Yoko Ono, Mark Wallinger, Cornelia Parker, Bill Woodrow, Michael Craig-Martin and Ian Hamilton Finlay.  There are routes around Folkestone to see all of these pieces and you can include them in your route along the stony beach at the bottom of the Lower Leas Coastal Park.

something for lunch

Following the Artworks trail back into town, there are many cafés offering tasty snacks.  Try Djangos which has comfy seating downstairs, or street-seating in the sun; Dr Legumes is a brilliant vegan restaurant on the same Rendezvous Street.

If you’ve stayed along the seafront then the Mermaid Café offers great cheese toasties and good value options for the family.  You can sit with a sea view, or take your food onto the beach.

Payers Park

There’s a fantastic multi-layered park behind The Old High Street with a very fast slide!  There’s also a quiet place for reflection in the Payers Pocket Community Garden.  This is a space that’s been created by local residents who wanted somewhere to sit outside during lockdowns, and home to the town’s smallest gallery.

Fish and chips

It has to be done, you’re here, by the seaside, so what you need for tea is some freshly caught fish and beautifully fried chips to sit and eat on the beach.  You’ll find many chippies to choose from along The Stade in the inner harbour.

Getting here

Folkestone is situated on the South East tip of the UK, just off the M20’s Junction 13.  Trains take 52 minutes from London St Pancras International and arrive at Folkestone West and Folkestone Central.

discover more about folkestone below

Future Creatives – Children’s Activities in Folkestone
Get Into The Spirit – Folkestone’s Living Advent Calendar
Folkestone Sea Sports – Come and give it a go!
The Lower Leas Coastal Park

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