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If you're looking for a casual weekend break to blow off some steam, why not head to Folkestone. Alongside its traditional features, you can add the old town and Harbour areas to your repertoire of places to visit.
Getting here: Folkestone Central and Folkestone West stations are an hour and a half away from London Cannon Street. Or you can take our high speed services to St Pancras International in just under an hour.
The Creative Quarter is based in the historic heart of Folkestone, close to the sea from which you can see France. The Creative Quarter comprises of The Old High Street, a winding cobbled lane lined with independent shops, and Tontine Street, a busy thoroughfare linking Folkestone Harbour with the centre of the town. It is inhabited by hundreds of creative people ranging from designers to makers, from artists to musicians and these people create a community that supports each other’s creativity and businesses, which in turn enables the community to flourish and grow.
Folkestone’s Harbour Arm has rapidly become a food, drink and entertainment destination for the town and its visitors. Originally the railway terminal for the Folkestone- Boulogne Ferry and departure point for soldiers on their way to the Western Front, the arm still embraces the town’s working fishing harbour, becoming a pivotal point in the town’s future and its historical past.
Based moments from the harbour, on Tontine Street, Quarterhouse is a beacon for arts programming in East Kent that supports the regeneration of Folkestone. Opened by the Creative Foundation in 2009, Folkestone Quarterhouse is an architecturally award winning venue which provides a space at the heart of the Creative Quarter for artists and audiences to join together; with a programme that develops artists in the region, adding to the reputation of Folkestone, that brings people to the town and makes Folkestone a more enjoyable place to live.
Folkestone Triennial 2017 will return for its fourth edition and will be held over a nine week period from 2 September – 5 November. Curated for the second time by Lewis Biggs, the Triennial will take the title 'Double Edge'. Internationally recognised artists will be commissioned to make new contemporary artworks exhibited in public spaces around the town. Artists will be invited to engage with Folkestone’s various narratives and material memories drawn from the town’s social, cultural, political and economic history. Some artworks will become permanent additions expanding the town’s permanent collection, Folkestone Artworks, built up since the first edition of the Triennial in 2008.
Opened in 2000, the Lower Leas Coastal Park has been awarded a green flag, recognised as one of the best green spaces in the country. The park is split into differing recreational zones, beginning at the Leas Lift, where the formal zone comprises pine avenues, gardens, places to rest and flowers which bloom throughout the year. The fun zone is situated in the centre of the park and is home to the largest free adventure play area in the south east, including the zig-zag path and the ever popular Amphitheatre.
Located on the Old High Street in the Creative Quarter, Steep Street CoffeeHouse is the perfect place for any stop off. Inspired by Parisian book cafes, the walls of this unique coffee house are lined with books meaning that it is easy to while away your time in here, particularly when served with speciality coffee and home-made cake.
The Bayle retains a village-like atmosphere and is the setting for the 13th Century church of St Mary and St Eanswythe. This very church has been used regularly as a venue to hold the Sacconi Chamber Musical Festival. The Old High Street is an ancient route connecting The Bayle with The Harbour and Stade which is now at the heart of Folkestone’s Creative Quarter. On this historical walk you may stumble upon one of Tracey Emin’s public artworks titled ‘Baby Things’, one of many tiny sculptures spread across the town.
The Leas is effectively Folkestone’s promenade, although due to the coastline it sits some way above sea level with lavish gardens and a bandstand where events take place during the summer. The Leas Cliff Hall is an entertainment and function venue that hosts a varied programme of touring shows including concerts, comedy, music and more.
Folkestone Artworks is a permanent public art collection of 27 outstanding works which are now on permanent display in public spaces around the town. Originally commissioned by the Creative Foundation for the Folkestone Triennial, these artworks now help to define Folkestone by giving it character and importance. Nowhere else in Britain can an art collection of this calibre be found on the streets of a town.
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