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Travel Stories and Guides by Table Magazine

A collection of travel stories and guides by Table Magazine and contributors from around the world.

City Walk | Folkestone

The Kentish seaside town of Folkestone is bustling with artist’s studios, independent shops and an ever expanding food community centred around the harbour. With some beautiful architecture, exciting creative projects and stunning sea views Folkestone has plenty to offer. It is small enough to walk around in a few hours and it’s only a short train ride from central London.

Stop 1 | The Pullman and the Bayle

If you are arriving by train, hop off at Folkestone Central and make your way to an area just off the high street called the Bayle. I love this little pocket of town; tucked away from the hustle and bustle it almost feels like a village. Its small streets are lined with pretty cottages, pastel coloured terraces and Georgian townhouses. One of my favourite pubs this end of town is called The Pullman. They have a small brunch menu which is served from 10am every morning (the vegetarian breakfast normally sets me up for the day) and the relaxed atmosphere makes it a welcoming first stop.

Stop 2 | The Creative Quarter

Wander down the cobbled streets to the Old High Street in the town’s Creative Quarter. On your way you will pass County Fayre; this little deli is a foodie’s treasure trove. Full of local produce from the Garden of England, it’s a great place to pick up gifts such as local ale and Kentish cheese or better still treat yourself to homemade ice-cream and local strawberries.
There are always new independent shops appearing along the Old High Street. Some of my favourites are the children’s shop Moo like a Monkey which sells eco friendly kids clothes and toys and the beautifully curated homeware store Cote de Folk, selling everything from jute bags to glassware and ceramics. Kitty McCall is another favourite; a local designer living and working in Folkestone producing colourful, vibrant prints.

Stop 3 | Steep Street Coffee

While you are taking a stroll down the cobbled Old High Street pop into Steep Street Coffee House. Their home-made cakes are delicious, I would recommend sitting by the window and watching the world go by or finding a quiet little corner and immersing yourself in one of their many books. If you don’t have time to stop you could pop next door to their shop and pick up a bag of the house blend ground coffee to take home with you.

Stop 4 | The Harbour

The harbour sits at the bottom of the Old High Street; where fishmongers, cottages and fish and chip shops jostle for space on cobbled streets. There are some wonderful places to enjoy seafood here; Rocksalt is local chef Mark Sargent’s restaurant and is the perfect choice for a special occasion. The sundrenched terraces provide a wonderful setting over the harbour and the food is all locally sourced. The nearby Harbour Inn, which opened this Summer, is a pub and restaurant making the most of its proximity to the harbour serving up fresh, local seafood.

Stop 5 | Sunny Sands and the Warren

Sunny Sands beach is just beyond the harbour. During the summer months this small sandy beach is packed with day trippers and families soaking up the sun. If the crowds prove too much you can take the steps up towards East Cliff and follow the footpath past the Martello Tower to the Warren. This quiet beach is a little harder to access but it is definitely worth the effort. Here the sea views stretch out towards the White Cliffs of Dover and the rugged, sandy, rocky beaches are ideal for beach combing and rock pooling.

Stop 6 | The Harbour Arm

Open from April through to October the Harbour Arm is a must visit. This long promenade stretching out to sea is accessible from the harbour via an old disused railway line. After an extensive regeneration project the Harbour Arm is now an extremely popular venue on sunny weekends with people enjoying food, drink, live music and views of France. Pop Ups housed in disused railway carriages, seaside shacks and old shipping containers dotted along the length of the arm serve everything from Indian street food to gelato and locally brewed ale. There is even a champagne bar housed in an old lighthouse (always check the website before you go as the opening hours are seasonal).

There is so much opportunity in this town for new projects and exciting enterprises. One such example is Custom Folkestone. Described as an ingredient and labour exchange initiative this community interest company will be serving up locally sourced food alongside a menu of food-focused artistic projects. They will be opening the doors of their converted shipping container at the Harbour Station later this month.

If you ever find yourself in this little pocket of Kent then take the time to explore, there is always so much to discover.

Words & Photography by Clementine May