There is so much to see and do across our coastal district that you’ll never get bored, and you’ll want to visit again and again. We really do have something for everyone in our little corner of Kent, with plenty of great places to eat and beautiful accommodation across the district, so remember to take your time and enjoy exploring…
Here are 10 things to get you started on your next trip to our district, if you need inspiration....
Offering some of the best views of Folkestone’s coastline mixed with great food, local drinks and sparkling entertainment, the Harbour Arm is a magnet for those in the know.
Once the town’s ferry port, the restored harbour arm is a beautiful promenade stretching out into the sea and is now home to a growing collection of independent businesses. It is a hub for food, drink and events, with live film and sports screenings, live music and DJs, exquisite dishes from around the world, locally brewed beers, unique gifts and fashion, and even treats for your pooch.
Folkestone is home to the UK’s largest urban contemporary art exhibition, Folkestone Artworks, with 74 pieces by 46 artists dotted around the town. Open 365 days a year, the trail can be explored in stages with handy maps taking you past pieces by Tracey Emin, Yoko Ono, Anthony Gormley, Mark Wallinger, and Cornelia Parker.
The arts trail was launched by Creative Folkestone, which is also the driving force behind Folkestone’s vibrancy with a host of shops, galleries, studios and venues offering music, theatre and entertainment in the historic old town. Explore the quarter, stop off for a bite or a drink, and be inspired.
Beloved by the Victorians and just as beautiful today, The Leas sits atop Folkestone’s cliffs overlooking the sea and are well worth strolling.
The mile-long promenade has attracted visitors for 200 years thanks to its unrivalled views of the English Channel, fresh sea air and striking white buildings gleaming against the blue skies. It is a wonderful place to walk and meet friends, and you can always call into the Balcony Bar at Leas Cliff Hall – the town's impressive entertainment venue - to enjoy a drink overlooking the fantastic views, and book some show tickets while there.
Did you know that Folkestone is the UK’s first ever Music Town? Crowned by the BBC, the town has been recognised for its vibrant live music scene and its collection of independent venues – big and small – championing great artists and creativity.
With miles of coastline and countryside to enjoy, our district is a great place to ramp up your energy on a sporty break.
A sight to behold inside and outside, Folkestone’s F51 is the world’s first multi-storey skatepark and climbing centre, offering sessions and lessons to all in its award winning building.
There are more adventures to be had across the district, whether you like traditional games at the Folkestone Sports Centre or want to try some Sea Sports like paddleboarding, windsurfing and kayaking while in town.
This is also the place to reap the benefits of sea swimming in the blue waters along our coastline – it’s a year round activity for those in the know, so don’t be shy of having a dip whenever you visit!
The perfect any-weather, all-generations day out, the Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Railway is a must see when visiting.
Home to 11 steam locomotives and 2 diesel engines, the trains are one-third full size and travel 13 ½ miles between Hythe and Dungeness with four stations on the way, all within walking distance of the beach.
The historic railway allows you to explore this unique corner of Kent with the chance to stop off and enjoy coastal and country walks, cycle rides, medieval churches and iconic lighthouses. There’s also great food and drink options at the stations including The End of the Line Restaurant at Dungeness, a renowned eatery for ‘all day breakfast’, locally caught fish & chips and much more.
Experience a safari in the English Countryside at Port Lympne Reserve.
This huge wildlife park and a breeding sanctuary is home to over 700 rare and endangered animals, including the largest herd of black rhino in the UK, the only giraffes in Kent, gorillas, tigers, lions, leopards, bears and so much more. You can journey to South America, Asia, and Africa on the authentic safari across the ‘savannah’ and see some incredible animals along the way.
Get up-close with life-size prehistoric creatures in the Dinosaur Forest, or book an animal experience or an overnight stay in unique accommodation for a truly out-of-this-world adventure.
The UK’s only desert is right here in Dungeness, and it’s a must see. Far from being a sandy barren landscape, the shingle shores of Dungeness have a unique climate that makes for incredible, otherworldly scenery.
The RSPB Nature Reserve has miles of open shingle, water pits and grassland housing rare birds and wildlife, such as marsh harriers, bitterns and leafhoppers. And you can also visit the idyllic former home of artist Derek Jarman, Prospect Cottage.
A place that must be seen to be believed, why not stay the night to watch the landscape change as the sun sets and rises?
For the history buffs, there are plenty of interesting heritage sites across the district to explore.
Folkestone Museum is free to visit and will take you on a journey through the area’s past, from its origins as a humble coastal community through to its heyday as a fashionable seaside resort and beyond. Our rural and coastal heritage is also celebrated at the Romney Marsh Visitor Centre, Lydd Town Museum, and the Old Lighthouse at Dungeness.
For a touch of the macabre, visit the famous skull-filled Ossuary at Hythe’s St Leonard's Church, which attracts hundreds of visitors every year. Not one for the easily spooked!
One of the best things you can do in Folkestone, Hythe and Romney Marsh is to simply walk. There are trails and walking routes all over the district, from seaside strolls to more ambitious hikes up to the highest view points of our ancient landscape.
The famous North Downs Way national trail winds through Folkestone, charting the same route that pilgrims have taken for centuries when visiting Canterbury Cathedral. Climb up the chalk escarpment of Sugarload Hill for incredible views of the Channel to France.
Head out into Reinden Woods at Hawkinge, or walking along the dramatic Kentish coastline in Folkestone and head into The Warren for some fossil hunting!
If a big trek is not your scene, simply soak up the scents and scenery of the Lower Leas Coastal Park, a beautiful seaside haven of trees, plants and picnic spots – all within easy reach of the beach. Also head to the White Cliffs Countryside Partnership for more inspiration