Sinead Hanna
13th July 2023

We've got a secret to share... we might just be one of the best seaside destination for arts and culture in the UK...

Our entire district is brimming with creativity, creators, storytelling and music, and plays host to some of the world's most prestigious artists on a regular basis. We not only have the UK's first ever music town (Folkestone!) and a world renowned Creative Quarter giving a home to numerous creative businesses, but our landscape has also inspired the likes of Derek Jarman, Tracey Emin and Antony Gormley. 

Here are some of the places to visit and events to look out for in Folkestone and beyond...

The Creative Quarter

The Creative Quarter is based in the historic heart of Folkestone. Compromising of The Old High Street - a winding cobbled lane lined with independent shops, galleries and eateries - and Tontine Street, a busy thoroughfare linking Folkestone Harbour with the rest of the town, the Creative Quarter is inhabited by hundreds of creative people and is a fantastic example of creatively-led regeneration. An arts-led charity, the quarter has renovated more than 90 buildings and created over 500 jobs for creative minds in the area. 

At the quarter's centre sits the striking Quarterhouse venue that has a diverse programme of cultural events and entertainment to enjoy. Whether it be a comedy sketch, theatrical performance, music gig, family theatre production, film or an inspiring talk, this creative hub invites you to immerse yourself in culture. 

Folkestone Artworks

Explore a collection of over 70 outstanding artworks by more than 40 international artists on permanent display in public spaces around the town by following the Folkestone Artworks trail. Originally commissioned by for the Folkestone Triennial, this is the largest collection of public artwork in an urban outdoor setting and you can find them dotted around the town and along the coast. Nowhere else in Britain can an art collection of this calibre be found on the streets of a town, and the trial include works by Tracey Emin, Mark Wallinger, Richard Wilson, Cornelia Parker, Cristina Iglesias, Christian Boltanski, Pablo Bronstein and many more. Explore them free of charge, all year round.

Folkestone Triennial

Every three years the town hosts the Folkestone Triennial, the internationally-renowned art festival and one of the UK's biggest art events. Artists are invited to use the town as their gallery and create striking new art over several weeks that speaks to both the local area and reflects issues facing the wider world. Four Triennials have taken place since 2008, attracting more than 440,000 visitors, so this is an occasion not to miss. 

Folkestone Fringe runs alongside the main festival with a packed programme of talks, events, workshops and performances inspired by, in reaction, and in contrast to the main exhibition. Keep up to date with the next Triennial with the Creative Folkestone.

Book Festival 

The Folkestone Book Festival presents an eclectic programme of speakers every year with talks exploring art, science, food, history, mental health, fiction and much more. Delve into the past to predict the future, learn how we can live a happier, more fulfilled existence, hear the life-stories of iconic figures in art, music and literature and discover the writers behind the fiction.

Further Afield

Heading out into the countryside, the annual JAM on the Marsh multi-arts festival is built around Kent’s magnificent Romney Marsh and its famous medieval churches. Each year JAM on the Marsh stretches across the landscape offering a rich programme of modern and classical music performances, alongside art exhibitions and talks, making the Marsh a true beacon of culture and history.

You can also explore the work of the IMOS Foundation including creating a new sculpture park in Romney Marsh, or visit the Romney Marsh art gallery located in the Romney Marsh visitor centre with exhibitions from local artists.