On The Waterfront Walking Tour

On The Waterfront Walking Tour 2018-04-11T08:04:45+00:00

From Saturday 12th May until Tuesday 18th September and costs just £10

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Folkestone’s waterfront is where it all started. For centuries it was a relatively obscure fishing village, with a penchant for smuggling too, but in the mid nineteenth century the railways brought prosperity and the opening of the lucrative and highly popular cross-channel ferry industry.

Now, fishing is undertaken on a much smaller scale, with only eight trawlers regularly operating from the quaint harbour. And the trains no longer trundle across the bridge into the harbour station, offloading holidaymakers to catch the ferries to Boulogne, Ostend and beyond.

But the resort on the rise again. Public artworks and new restaurants have been installed. The long derelict Harbour Arm has been opened up again to provide food, drink and entertainment on its breezy walkway. Even the lighthouse at the end of the pier is now a champagne bar.

If you take the few short steps behind the lighthouse you are rewarded with views not only of the seafront towards Hythe and Sandgate to the west, but also towards the harbour, East Cliff, Warren and even Dover. And, on a clear day, you can see the outline of the French coast.

Much of the area around the harbour, Harbour Arm and railway station has been renovated and modernised in recent years as part of a much more ambitious redevelopment of the seafront. Plans for residential and leisure construction are currently the subject of scrutiny by both the local authority and community.

This tour will explore both the history and modern possibilities of the waterfront area. I will explain the history of Folkestone as a fashionable and popular holiday destination, fostered by the coming of the railways and the cross-channel ferries, the importance of the fishing industry and the town’s critical role in the Great War.

I will also cover the rise of Folkestone over the past decade as a cultural destination of international repute, identifying a number of the public artworks, originally created for one of the four Triennials held in the town since 2008, that appear on the walk.

We will begin at the intersection at the bottom of the Old High Street and Tontine Street, Ground Zero for the Creative Quarter. We will cross to the traditional fishing harbour and Sunny Sands, where sits Folkestone’s answer to Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid statue, before returning via the Harbour Arm where the tour will finish.

Please note that you may find the harbour at low or high tide, or even somewhere in between. Like King Canute, I am not equipped to hold back, or even summon in, the sea, so we will have to take the prevailing tide conditions as we find them.

This is a relatively easy walk, though the ground is uneven along The Stade and, as we will be walking round the harbour and Harbour Arm, we will obviously be in close proximity to water. But I don’t want anyone to get too close to it! Conditions might, on occasion, be slippery underfoot.

You might find the seagulls take a shine to you too if you’re openly carrying any food!

Went on Folkestone waterfront tour today. Had a lovely few hours, so much to see. We talked all around and I got to put my hand on the bottom of an iron man! Great value and nice to meet someone with so much good to say about Folkestone.

Angela McHutchon, 7th September 2017.

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