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Top places to live in Kent Folkestone

This once down-at-heel port town continues to undergo a remarkable regeneration. Want culture, the arts, great food and unique shopping experiences, plus the beach thrown in for good measure? Look no further… Part of our Top 200 Places to Live series.

The harbour of seaside town Folkestone

WHY? 

This seaside town is getting a reputation for its artistic heart – from the Triennial, a regenerative art festival that takes place in Folkestone every three years, to the Book Festival (usually in November). 

Then you’ve also got The Creative Quarter, which was part of the city’s regeneration project and is now the wonderfully colourful home to an eclectic mix of artist studios and creative businesses. Aaaand it’s on the foodie map. What more reason do you need? 

EAT

Let’s start with RockSalt perched over Folkestone harbour with panoramic floor to ceiling views out over the English Channel. The vista is not the only draw here since Michelin-starred chef, Mark Sergeant, is at the helm so expect your taste-buds to be dazzled. 

For something a little more informal, head to nearby SmokeHouse (also part of Mark’s gastro empire) for old-school fish & chips. Try Luben’s in Folkestone’s Creative Quarter for home-made authentic wood-fired pizza. Big Boys Burgers is THE place if you need a burger fix and boy oh boy, these are no ordinary burgers. 

Salivating yet? And if you’re looking for something to wash all that tucker down then sit down and relax at aptly-named Steep Street Coffee House or head to the Lighthouse Champagne Bar, tucked into the Folkestone Lighthouse at the tip of Folkestone Harbour Arm. Soak in the views and enjoy champagne by the glass or the bottle. 

SHOP

Folkestone’s Creative Quarter, a stone’s throw from the sea, has been steadily and successfully developed to regenerate Folkestone through creativity and is now a bustling and thriving district that is home to a wide-range of independent shops and studios. Take your time to walk up its cobbled streets and do not miss the following shops to browse and enjoy. 

One of Muddy’s favourites, Lilford Gallery, is the go-to place for up and coming local artists as well as internationally recognized talent. Head to Rennie’sfor curious vintage finds, Moo like a Monkey for wooden eco-friendly toys and children’s clothes (kids can play while you shop – hurrah).

NEARBY ATTRACTIONS

Kent’s Battle of Britain museum is on your doorstep with artifacts from over 700 aircraft on display. If the weather is fine, follow the coastal path from Folkestone to Sandgate, a pretty seaside village, just two miles away. If rain takes over, go to Silver Screen Cinema, an independent two-screen cinema in Folkestone’s historic town hall. From the antique box office ticket vending machines, to the classic auditoriums, the Silver Screen has provided the town with a uniquely traditional cinema experience for over 25 years.

Lower Leas Coastal Park is a fantastic place to while away the morning with your family – the largest free adventure play area in the South-East no less – and you can potter around its pine avenues with flowers blooming all year thanks to its unique microclimate. Events take place throughout the summer including concerts at its 350-seat amphitheater, children’s workshops and drama performances. 

It’s also a national cycle route if you want to saddle up. Alternatively, you have beaches all around you including pretty Sunny Sands beach in Folkestone itself with rockpools galore at low tide. And for something a little different, then why not take them skiing, snowboarding or tobogganing on the 60-metre ski slope at nearby Folkestone Sports Centre.

AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE

Average house price: £257,670 if you’re hunting for property locally try Jarvis Homes and C. R. Child & Partners.

HOT PROPERTY

SCHOOLS

A decent amount of choice – excellent Boys and Girls separate grammar schools in Dover. Or for independents, you’ve got Dover College for prep (read the Muddy review here) and senior just up the coast.

Or some do travel over towards Ashford to enjoy schooling at nurturing Spring Grove (read the Muddy review here)

BEST KEPT SECRET

You’ll be hard pushed to find anything cooler or more quirky than The Potting Shed. An antique shop at the front. Then there’s a potting shed in the middle, and you go through a hidden doorway into the cocktail bar hidden within. Provided you know the password of course – which changes daily. Love. This.

COMMUTE

The fast train from Folkestone Central can take you into St Pancras London in just less than an hour thanks to the new high speed train links. Otherwise you are well positioned for trips to Canterbury or your seaside sibling towns.

View the full Top 200 Best Places to Live 

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