Five reasons I think Folkestone is a great place to live
PUBLISHED: 12:56 14 August 2015
Say what you want about it, the town has a lot going for it.
When I tell people how much I love Folkestone, I tend to get a few sceptical looks.
At a first glance, it might not seem all that great. The high street is.. okay, better than some, worse than others. Some parts of it are a little grubby, the same as in most towns. And there are some areas I would probably avoid on a Saturday night if I’m being truthful.
But it’s honestly the best place that I have lived so far.
I’m sure it probably helps that I despised the place I lived before moving here, so by comparison it scrubs up incredibly well.
After moving here from the city, I felt like I was okay financially for the first time in an extremely long time. A two bedroom flat was the same price as a bedroom in someone else’s house, bills and council tax weren’t all that bad and suddenly I had a disposable income again- yay!
But aside from that, I think the town has a huge amount going for it and I don’t think I’m entirely alone in thinking so.
Here are five of my favourite things about it:
1. Roger De Haan
I genuinely think that if every town had its own Roger De Haan, everything would be fine. We have a lot to thank the billionaire businessman for, he pretty much reversed Folkestone’s decline.
It’s thanks to him that we have the Creative Quarter, which involved buying run down properties in the area, renovating them and then leasing them to people in creative industries at an affordable price. He also set up the Creative Foundation, which runs cultural and artistic events in the area.
This has brought us the Folkestone Triennial, where artists are invited to use the town as their canvas and create unique art pieces and the Folkestone book festival, where writers discuss their work.
This has succeeded in putting the town firmly on the map and bringing in art lovers from all over the country- with Banksy even paying a visit and leaving behind his piece Art Buff to tie in with the Triennial.
De Haan has generally helped to make Folkestone a really great place to live and work, with a lot of fun and interesting events to put on the calendar as a result.
2. The sea
I often forget exactly how lucky I am to live near the sea, and tend to take this for granted a little bit. It’s pretty amazing that it’s right on my door step and I can see it whenever I want to. There are a nice mixture of sandy and pebbly beaches, and when you walk along the Leas you get the most incredible view of the sea. In good weather it’s the best atmosphere, and it’s an environment that ends up being fun for people of all ages.
Folkestone might be a small town, but there’s a lot to do there if you’re looking for events to go to.
The Quarterhouse and the Leas Cliff Hall provide a constant source of entertainment, there are a lot of plays, talks and bands hosted at those venues all the time.
The Gallows, back when Frank Carter was their lead singer, put on a great show at The Quarterhouse a few years ago.
The Leas Cliff Hall has had some really great acts perform over the years, with some pretty big names taking to the stage and bringing a huge number of fans with them. The Vaccines are going to be performing there this year- the only Kent venue on their tour.
They are both nice venues and really good places to go at the weekend.
4. Silver Screen cinema
Yes there are only two screens, yes the stuffing is coming out of some of the seats, but I love this cinema! It’s so traditional and sweet.
There are black and white pictures of film stars on the walls and a red velvet curtain and seats, sometimes a person with a torch even shows you to your seat. It offers something authentic and different, which I personally think is a pretty refreshing change.
5. Food and drink
I’m a big fan of coffee, and wherever you are in Folkestone you are not too far away from someone that can make a decent cup of it.
The Creative Quarter is particularly good for this, full of a lot of quirky places to go and meet people and have lunch and get a caffeine fix.
A lot of these places have a really relaxed atmosphere- you walk in the door and someone in jeans and a hat will greet you with ‘what YOU saying?’- but what the hell, it makes a change from the usual chains that most high streets are full of.
There are a lot of great places to eat in the day time and evening, which offer something a little bit different, and some really fun bars. The Harp and Chambers are personal favourites of mine, they are both great for live music and both have a relaxed atmosphere.