Folkestone, England: The U.K.'s Best Seaside Secret
When tourists visit England, they usually stay in London. Maybe they’ll do a daytrip to Stonehenge or, if they’re feeling extra glam, take the Eurostar to Paris. If they wanted to experience something extra special, though, they’d take the train south to visit Folkestone, Kent’s most eclectic coastal town.
You’ve probably heard of the White Cliffs of Dover. We, in Folkestone, are right next door, and, in my opinion, our little town is England’s best kept secret. But on the Postcard Academy podcast, my guest Tony Quarrington and I are spilling the beans.
Tony is the local tour guide here in Folkestone (definitely book him) and on a two-part episode of the Postcard Academy, we share what we love about this magical place.
In Part 1, Tony and I share stories to prove that history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme (take a listen if you like royal family gossip). In Part 2, we give you all our favorite food and culture recommendations for Folkestone.
Subscribe to the Postcard Academy for free to hear how Folkestone went from sleepy fishing village to Victorian playground for the rich to the creative capital of Kent (or dare I say England?). Below, you’ll find some of Tony’s favorite places in town (and mine).
Best Walking Tour in Folkestone
Best shopping in Folkestone
No chain stores allowed in the Creative Quarter, just charming shops and restaurants. Too many to list really, but here are some Old High Street favorites. Don’t miss Tontine, Rendezvous, and Church streets, as well.
Kitty McCall — Vivid fabrics and furnishings to beautify your home, or wherever you find yourself living.
County Fayre — Culinary delights made in Kent, from cheese to chutney.
Moo Like a Monkey — “Beautiful things for little individuals.” I bought my nephew a colorful wooden giraffe on wheels that you pull on a string. Keeping him away from the digital for as long as possible.
Shane Record — Paintings and prints by local artist Shane Record. He had one of the first shops on the Old High Street as part of the Creative Folkestone revitalization project.
Best cafes in Folkestone
We have Starbucks here in Folkestone, and I do hang out there sometimes when my co-working space is closed. However, I also love spending time in the local cafes.
Steep Street — Drink the best coffee in town in a room lined with books.
The Hideaway — Laidback cafe with a vegan cheesecake that will haunt your dreams in a good way.
Bobbie’s — A former signal box converted into a cafe. Don’t know what a signal box is? It’s the little building next to the railroad tracks that manages the switches.
Best pubs in Folkestone
If you like gastropubs with candlelight and fireplaces, then you won’t want to leave Folkestone.
The Pullman — “The food is great. Nice bar area, and then you've got a patio outside which is possibly the biggest sun spot in Folkestone during the summer,” Tony says.
Radnor Arms — Best halloumi burger and chips anywhere, and they make their own gin. I’ve also become obsessed with the Spanish olives they sell and buy a can a week because I’m made of money :/
The Bouverie Tap — Small bar serving classic British food and international drinks.
If you found this article useful, please share it, and subscribe to the Postcard Academy podcast. Each week, expats and adventurers share their insider travel tips on the best food, nightlife, and cultural experiences in the most interesting places around the globe. I’m your host, Sarah Mikutel, an American who's spent the last 8 years living in, and traveling around, Europe.