Sinead Hanna
1st August 2023

Miles of beaches, adventure playgrounds, steam trains and wild animals make Folkestone, Hythe and Romney Marsh the perfect place to make lasting memories for the whole family.

If you want to be beside the seaside, you’ll be spoilt for choice here – Folkestone is part of Kent’s Heritage Coast, one of Lonely Planet’s top rated places to visit in the world, so you can enjoy a lazy or energetic day out in beautiful surroundings

Build sandcastles and brave the waves on Sunny Sands beach, or scale the heady heights of the adventure playground - complete with pirate ship - in the Lower Leas Coastal Park, right next to the shingle shores in Folkestone. Bring a picnic or stock up on treats from the nearby cafes. Further along the coast, you can explore the UK’s only desert at Dungeness – and treat yourself to some old-fashioned fun at the Dymchurch Amusement Park after your adventures.

If you want to truly master the waves, then why not try your hand at paddleboarding or kayaking? You can hire equipment or book a lesson on your next visit from Folkestone Sea Sports, Action Watersports and The Kitesurf Centre.

For those who prefer to stay inland, a trip to Hythe’s Royal Military Canal won’t disappoint; you can hire an electric cruiser or a traditional rowing boat to explore this idyllic waterway with the family.

And if you’d rather sit back and enjoy the scenery, don't miss the opportunity to ride the one-third size trains of the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway. Home to 11 steam locomotives and 2 diesels, the one-third full size locomotives run across 13 ½ miles between Hythe and Dungeness and are a unique way of seeing the coast and countryside. Grandkids and grandparents will be grinning from ear to ear.  

Folkestone Museum offers a friendly, engaging space for all the family to learn about the heritage of Folkestone from its origins as a bustling fishing harbour to its heyday as a fashionable seaside resort. Interactive exhibitions guide visitors through the eras and inspire every generation.

For an indoor adrenaline rush, visit the incredible F51 – a three storey skatepark and climbing centre with the world’s first suspended concrete bowls. You can book sessions throughout the week as well as coaching and taster sessions. Any budding skater boys and girls won’t want to miss this.

There are also sports-a-plenty to enjoy at Three Hills Sports Park and at Folkestone Sports Centre, where you can learn and keep active together. And Kidz Planet’s huge indoor activity centre will be a hit for energetic youngsters.

Animal lovers in your mix? For awe-inspiring wildlife and authentic safari adventure right in the heart of Kent, look no further than Port Lympne Reserve. You can see more than 700 rare and endangered animals in the 600 acre park by the Kent coast, including tigers, lions, giraffes, rhinos, gorillas and more. There is even a safari experience and some jaw-dropping accommodation for those looking for an overnight experience.

Help flex your family's creative muscles with a trip to Folkestone’s Creative Quarter where there are plenty of studios and galleries to visit, such as Block 67 on Tontine Street which offers family workshops and events. Alternatively, head down to Mudpie in Sandgate to create a unique pottery piece to treasure forever.

Don’t forget to check out what’s one at The Quarterhouse and The Leas Cliff Hall, two incredible entertainment venues in Folkestone, for the latest family theatre show or event. There are also numerous family-friendly festivals and events held throughout the year offering music, theatre, comedy and entertainment no matter your age. Or take in a movie at Cinemarsh, a picturesque and community-focused cinema in New Romney, or Silver Screen in the heart of Folkestone.

For families who love their history, take a trip to historic sites like the Dymchurch Martello Tower, owned by English Heritage, and The Old Lighthouse at Dungeness. 

And there are also hundreds of miles of foot and cycle paths winding across the district and the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty if you feel like taking the family out into nature. Just take away whatever you bring with you – and share your snaps on social media with #visitfolkestone.