Artistic enclaves, stunning shores, unique histories and expansive, wilderness escapes make this corner of Kent well worth a visit.
In regenerated Folkestone quaint streets meet cutting-edge art. In the Creative Quarter 100 artistic enterprises fill the cobbled, historic heart of town, along with pastel-painted studio-galleries, quirky stores, cool bars and chic eateries. A short stroll away, the mile-long cliff-top promenade of The Leas offers sea views to France. Ride the historic Leas Lift down to the Lower Leas Coastal Park for a picnic or a BBQ, then get some sand between your toes on Folkestone's Sunny Sands beach. Restaurants abound; try Rocksalt for super-fresh fish and superb harbour views. Eurotunnel Le Shuttle brings France closer too; from Folkestone, Calais is just 35 minutes away.
The south Kent coast has long protected the realm. Hythe, New Romney, Sandwich, Dover and Hastings united in the 11th-century as the original Cinque Ports. Henry VIII built diminutive Sandgate Castle in 1539. A chain of sturdy Martello Towers, stretching from Folkestone to Sussex, went up during the Napoleonic wars, while the planes, hangars and artefacts of Folkestone's Kent Battle of Britain Museum speak eloquently of the aircrews that defended the skies.
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