Tuesdays from 8th May until the 11th September and costs just £10
This walking tour provides a great introduction to Folkestone as well as offering stupendous coastal views.
A little over a century ago, the Leas was the place to be seen along the south coast. Royal Ascot, Henley and the Boat Race might have carried more snob appeal, but Folkestone on the south east coast of Kent lured the rich and famous with its fine hotels, stunning sea views and benign climate, was the fashionable coastal resort of choice (sorry Brighton). Indeed, The Leas were described by the prestigious Ward-Lock guidebook as “the finest marine promenade in the world”, and it is hard to argue with that even today (but then I’m biased!).
The Metropole, Grand and Burlington hotels contended for the custom of the smart and wealthy set, the bandstands by day and theatres by night entertained them, and the Leas Lift transported them to and from the seafront below. Great literary figures like Dickens, H.G. Wells and John Ruskin either lived in or visited the town on many occasions.
But there is so much more to The Leas than a pleasant stroll amid the flower beds. The brilliant white “seaside” architecture (and the occasional modern monstrosity it has to be confessed), its crucial role in the Great War and its recent transformation into an open air art gallery, are all prevalent in the mile long promenade.
This tour consists of a gentle stroll from the aforementioned great hotels to the Step Short Arch, the War Memorials and the Road of Remembrance, all of which commemorate the crucial role played by Folkestone in two world wars.
Along the way, we will stop at a number of the public artworks that adorn The Leas, legacy from the four Folkestone Triennials that have been held since 2008.