Folkestone, Kent

Is Folkestone Kent’s most underrated seaside town? Great for a day trip or mini break from London, this rough-diamond city is studded with big-name art installations and great seafood restaurants – best enjoyed after a spell on the beach.

Where?

Folkestone, Kent

Why now?

One of the gritter members in Kent's family of seaside towns, Folkestone is a town that prides itself on creativity and a resilient, two-fingers up confidence - after all, someone here did spray paint a penis over a Banksy mural. You'll find a fierce artistic energy running through its independent galleries, stores and workshops that line Folkestone's streets.

Explore the Creative Quarter where you'll find rainbow-hued galleries and artists' showrooms huddled together on steep lanes; stroll down to The Leas, a cliffside promenade designed by the same architect behind Kew Gardens' Palm House; or slip away to Sunny Sands, a rugged beach backed by fields of wildflowers and thyme. As far as UK seaside towns goes, Folkestone's got buckets and spadefuls to offer.

You'll also find the largest urban outdoor collection of contemporary art in the UK here. Wander from Cornelia Parker's mermaid sculpture poised on a rock at Sunny Sands, past the nostalgic, giant jelly mould on the site of Folkestone's former playground by Lubaina Himid and be sure to tick off seeing Richard Wood's six bungalows that are scattered across town. It's kind of like an artist scavenger hunt.

Don't miss

Antony Gormley's Another Time XVIII. You'd be forgiven for getting carried away scoffing oysters and champagne served from a double-decker bus on the Harbour Arm, but venture down one of its discreet stairways and you'll stumble upon one of the artist's lonesome iron men gazing towards France on the horizon.

Where to stay

Try the Wes Anderson-esque The Grand for art-deco vibes - it's where Agatha Christie wrote Murder on the Orient Express too. We're hoping we can channel all this creativity into fixing our WFH writer's block.

Where to go for dinner

Chummys for fresh lobster, crab, cockles et al. Sure, it's not as fancy as award-winning Rocksalt, but have you even visited the seaside if you haven't eaten seafood out of a paper cup?

And for a drink…

Folkestone Wine Company or, if you want to hunker down in a proper pub, The Pullman (just next door) will charm with its summer-ready beer garden and the inviting fire that's lit when the sea breeze gets a bit nippy.

Who to take with you

Your friend that had their city breaks to Berlin/ Belgrade/ Warsaw cancelled this year - they'll appreciate Folkestone's punkish creativity.

Essentials to pack

Stuff this Paravel duffle bag with this THE ROW jumper and travel in these Bottega Veneta boots. Ok, the boots aren't essential but we're lusting after them hard and we know you will too.

How to get there

Catch the train from King's Cross to Ashford, then change to bring you straight into Folkestone Central.

Discover More
Mallaig, Scotland, UK