Folkestone – no Flintstones here
Folkestone is a town entirely populated with mischievous cartoon characters who manage to co-exist with dinosaurs. Sorry-that’s Bedrock, which is home to The Flintstones, and does not really exist. Folkestone is actually a famous port town on the south coast of England, which is situated in a valley between two cliffs near the South Downs on the edge of Kent. Like much of Kent, it is steeped in Roman History and boasts a famous Roman villa which was excavated in the early 20th century. Until the mid-19th century it hosted a fishing community who played a significant role in the commerce and trade of the area, and in recent years The Folkestone Harbour Company has helped to rejuvenate the area with a new marina, shops, houses and a university campus area. However in similar keeping to other parts of Kent the road network here can be a complete nightmare courtesy of the M20, the M25 and Eurotunnel.
Anything to see? Not really
Folkestone has several landmarks aside from the harbour, including the Martello tower which was constructed in 1806 to provide defence from a feared French invasion masterminded by Napoleon in the early 19th century. The area is also celebrated for its natural beauty including Brockhill Country Park which has foot paths that link with the Royal Military Canal in Hythe, and the East Cliff and Warren Country Park which becomes a destination for migrating birds during spring and summer months. If you’re an arts and theatre enthusiast the region has plenty offer, including an annual Chamber Music Festival each May and a theatre group, memorably titled, the Folkestone and Hythe Operatic and Dramatic Society who showcase productions at the Tower Theatre. If you want to learn more about the history of the area, the Folkestone Museum has been recently converted into a resource of local history, the Folkestone People’s History centre. At the other end of the arts spectrum, the region also hosts a popular comic convention each year, known simply as Planet Folkestone.
Folkestone has an excellent range of shops retail options for shoppers of all tastes. If you’re a music fan, it will be hard to resist the allure of, Vintage and Vinyl, crammed to the roof with thousands of vintage records and more. The Shell Shop is stocked with hundreds of coloured sea shells and other nick-nacks that can brighten up your home, whilst Old English Pine in the nearby village of Sandgate offers an elegant range of stylish bespoke furniture that will be difficult to resist. If you’re after high street brands, the Bouverie Place Shopping Centre provides a range of well-known names including, Primark, Next, Sports Direct, Spec Savers and New Look.
Housing – Affordable?
In recent years, Folkestone has developed a reputation as a very attractive place to live with an excellent stock of affordable housing. It’s possible to pick up a large detached property for less than £400,000, and a one bedroom flat for around £90,000. There’s also a wealth of property available to rent in the region with three bedroom flats and houses available from around £600 pcm. Schools in the area have consistently high Ofsted ratings and include, Castle Hill Community, Stella Maris Catholic and Cheriton Schools.
Folkestone offers a wide range of sporting options. Many years ago they had a high flying non-league football team who drew against the mighty Tamworth FC at the end of a promotion chasing season, consigning the club to another year in the Southern League (I well remember the journey there and back from the Midlands) but these days consists of Folkestone Invicta FC competing in the Eastern section of the Kent Amateur League. There is also the Folkestone Rugby club founded in 1974, the Folkestone Cricket Club which competes in the first division of the Kent Cricket League, a hockey club, a bowls club and a running association. If you’re a keen walker, the town is perfectly positioned on the edge of the South Downs with pathways that link up to the surrounding, rustic scenery of this part of Kent, including Rye, Camber Sands, Hastings and Dover.
Legal Scene in Folkestone
There are 157 solicitors firms and legal employers within 25 miles of Folkestone, but only 13 actually in the town (this includes the council, Eurotunnel and Saga). The firms are the usual mix of high street law (definition is of personal legal services – eg conveyancing, wills & probate, family law, civil litigation plus smaller value business services). Larger commercial practices are not evident in this area -you would need to head up the motorway towards London for these. Commuting into London is a possibility – it is 1 hour to St Pancras on a fast train, but the cost of doing this is somewhat prohibitive for anyone not earning a salary within the City bubble! However Folkestone is fairly well situated for Maidstone, Canterbury and Ashford to give you more work possibilities.