Camping has quickly become one of my favourite ways to explore this year. Since we’ve invested in a tent, we’ve spent a Bank Holiday weekend camping in the New Forest and have just returned from a camping trip to Folkestone. What made us choose Folkestone of all places? Well, we wanted to be close to the sea. The train tickets from London were fairly reasonable. Plus it was an easy journey from the city with all our camping gear. We had a lovely break away from London, enjoyed the fresh sea air and came back feeling refreshed and keen to head off camping again soon. So, if you’ve ever fancied camping in Folkestone or are just curious about our experience read on. I discuss where we stayed, what we got up to and what there is to see when camping in Folkestone.
How to Get to Folkestone
From Central London to Folkestone Central you can take a train from a number of stations, including Charing Cross, Waterloo East, Cannon Street and London Bridge. Stratford International also has trains running to Folkestone Central fairly frequently too. Journey trains vary from about 45 minutes to 2 hours, depending on where you pick up a train and also if you catch a high-speed train or not.
Where we Stayed in Folkestone
We stayed in the Folkestone Camping and Caravan Club (our first experience at one of their sites) and we really enjoyed our stay. It’s a fairly small campsite with a range of pitch types making it perfect for those with a tent or a campervan. It does get busy during the summer months, so do book ahead of time. We did phone on the day we wanted to arrive and they were fully booked. But as we were backpackers (no vehicle and just a tent) they were really flexible in finding us a spot on the site.
We paid £40 for two nights as non-members. This was for a grass pitch with no electricity hook-up, which we thought was perfectly reasonable. The site has two clean bathroom blocks and dishwashing facilities, with hot water readily available, as well as a small shop and it’s pet-friendly too. The campsite was only a two-minute walk to the beach, ideal for those who fancy taking a dip or watching the sunset of an evening.
What to do in Folkestone
Folkestone town wasn’t the main draw of staying in Folkestone. It wasn’t the draw at all. It was the beach, the sea views and the chalky cliffs that swung our decision (as well as the proximity of the station to our campsite). If you want to visit Folkestone town head straight to the Creative Quarter’s Old High Street. It’s got a great vibe, a massive selection of cafes and restaurants and a few good independent shops and art galleries. If you want vintage shopping go to Bounce Vintage. For tea, coffee or cake there’s the wonderful Steep Street Coffee House (with hundreds of books adorning the walls) and for veggie, breakfasts head next door to Marley’s.
On to the actual reason we went to Folkestone. Living in London leaves us craving fresh air, the seaside and stunning views. Which is exactly what we got in Folkestone. We were up and walking by six and in our three hours walking along the beach and the base of the cliffs we saw about five other people. Pure bliss. You can walk along the beach or you may choose to take the Four Seasons Nature Trail which gives you a birds-eye view over the sand and sea below. And if you catch it on a clear, sunny day, you’ll spot France in the distance too! This area of Folkestone is a perfect spot for keen runners or cyclists, as well as bird-watchers and swimmers. Although for the latter, be warned, the water is pretty chilly and the beach very rocky, so watch your step when heading into the swell.
Until next time.