Published On: Sun, Mar 3rd, 2024

The ‘funky’ UK town dubbed a ‘younger, fresher and cheaper version of Brighton’ | Travel News | Travel


The London commuter town of Folkestone in Kent, often described as a “younger, fresher and cheaper version of Brighton“, has been dubbed “funky” – and one of the region’s cheapest places to buy a new home. Once a declining seaside resort, it’s now an up-and-coming area thanks to some well-targeted regeneration. The Sunday Times even named it one of the best places to live in the UK last year.

Folkestone is not just a great place to live, but also an ideal spot for commuters. It’s close enough to London for a daily commute – a train to Kings Cross takes just 55 minutes. Plus, it’s well connected overseas with a train to Calais on the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle taking only 35 minutes. On a clear day, you can even see France on the horizon.

This means you could spend one weekend in the English capital sampling craft beer and the next in France sampling artisanal wine – the choice is yours.

And for art lovers, Folkestone is a dream come true.

Folkestone is a town that never lets you get bored, with its artsy seafront filled with amazing installations, top-class street food stalls and pubs. It’s not just about how easy it is to leave the town, but more about what keeps you there.

A metal man sculpture by Anthony Gormley stands below the harbour arm, gazing out over the bay as the tide ebbs and flows. A bronze mermaid by Cornelia Parker sits on the rocks above the sandy beach, adding another artistic touch to the seafront.

This beautiful nude sculpture was modelled on a real-life resident of Folkestone, who still lives in the town today. She won a competition during the town’s triennial celebrations, and the statue was made from a cast of her body.

Tracey Emin has also left her mark on the town with several installations of lost children’s clothes, shoes and toys. These tiny and inconspicuous sculptures make for a fun Easter egg hunt when exploring the town. Another popular attraction is a set of six cartoon bungalows scattered around the town – including one floating in the picturesque, boat-filled harbour.

The old Victorian train station near the waterfront has been transformed into a walkable area with art installations on the old tracks. These little details make Folkestone feel like a special town that is loved and cared for by its community.

Beyond the unique and quirky art installations, there is plenty of fun to be had in the town. The F51 is the world’s first multi-storey skatepark. The Quarterhouse is a fantastic cultural hub there which holds comedy, gigs, films, and even Ted Talks in the modern state-of-the-art venue.

Local business is the vibrant beating heart of the town, best seen in the winding, narrow Old High Street. The colourful shopfronts and local artwork on show are so reminiscent of the famous Brighton Laines with just as much to offer. Each one has a distinct personality with brilliant eateries and cafes lining the gaps between bright boutique shops.

One that particularly stands out is Steep Street Cafe which will have you sipping on a warm cup of coffee and cake surrounded by a beautiful collection of second-hand books arranged on library shelves. Fortunately for book lovers, you can actually buy them as well.

The town is perfectly set up for family life with a set of high-achieving schools and beautiful English coastal countryside on the magnificent white chalky downs. But let’s look at home much house might set you back if you do decide to make the big move.

If you’re used to the high prices in London, you’ll be happy to know that it’s not the same in Folkestone. According to Rightmove, the average house price in Folkestone last year was £311,721. Most of the houses sold were terraced properties, which went for an average price of £292,478. Flats were sold for around £206,772, while semi-detached houses fetched £373,315.

The prices in Folkestone over the past year were similar to those of the previous year and were three percent higher than the 2021 peak of £301,485.

However, there is a downside to living in Folkestone. The town has a relatively high crime rate, making it the third most dangerous medium-sized town in Kent according to CrimeRate. In 2022, the overall crime rate in Folkestone was 124 crimes per 1,000 people, which is 41 percent higher than the Kent rate of 88 per 1,000.

Across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, Folkestone ranks as the 28th most dangerous medium-sized town and the 407th most dangerous location out of all towns, cities, and villages. But when compared to London, it’s much safer than most areas.



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