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Folkestone Harbour Arm

By 12 August 2015 Lifestyle, Travel

For fifteen years an increasingly dilapidated concrete arm has jutted out into the English Channel from Folkestone harbour. Once upon a time it was a railway station and passenger port with the steam trains stopping beside the steam ships departing for the continent. In 1891 it was possible to travel from London to Paris (via Folkestone and Boulogne) in just 7 hours 30 minutes.

During the First World War, Folkestone harbour was known as the ‘Gateway to the Trenches’ as millions of troops headed for the front line. With the last ferry leaving in September 2000 and the harbour branch line officially closed in 2014, Folkestone harbour is now waiting for development.

Folkestone Harbour Station

Old link-span at Folkestone harbour

The refurbishment of the harbour arm, a £3.5 million project, is presenting Folkestone with a pleasure pier for residents and locals to enjoy. The Folkestone harbour arm consists of a lit walkway that goes all the way to the lighthouse at the end, pop up cafes to delight foodies and live entertainment.

Lighthouse at the end of Folkestone harbour arm

The harbour arm lets you get a whole new perspective on Folkestone. My husband and I visited on the first day it opened and the weather was stunning.

Folkestone Harbour Arm Panorama

Folkestone cliffs viewed from Folkestone harbour arm

View from top level of harbour arm towards Folkestone harbour

Folkestone’s harbour arm will be open Friday evenings, Saturdays and Sundays all summer. Check out their Facebook page for the latest news.

Nearest station: Folkestone Central 1 mile – 54 minutes from London St Pancras International. Book online with Southeastern before 24th August to save 25% on off-peak tickets.

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Walk from Walmer to Kingsdown, Kent

By 22 June 2014 Life, Lifestyle, Outdoors
Walking from Walmer to Kingsdown

As today was such a lovely day I was determined to get out of the house. So we left the washing up on the side and the bathrooms dirty and got in the car.

I wanted hubby to see Kingsdown because it’s so pretty. I’d never been there until we walked through it on one of our Yorkshire Three Peaks preparation walks. We parked up in Walmer near the bandstand. The Gurkha band were playing and the green was packed with people sitting and enjoying the music.

We grabbed some chips from the chippie and started walking towards the sea. All along the front there’s a level path for pedestrians and a cycle path. There were loads of families out on bikes, which was lovely to see. As you start to leave Walmer the grass disappears and the wild flowers take over.

Walmer is a quiet seaside town 6 miles north of Dover. You’d think nothing much happens here but a quick look on Wikipedia reveals that Caesar’s legions landed upon Walmer beach in 55BC and the castle was built on Henry VIII’s orders when he feared a backlash from Rome after his falling out with the Pope. The castle is in the south of the town and still standing; it’s now owned by English Heritage and open to visitors. You can see the castle from the coastal path.

Hubby at Walmer

Between Walmer and Kingsdown

Purple flower on the beach

Rachel Birchley

Beach huts at Kingsdown

Boats and huts Kingsdown

Hut on the beach at Kingsdown

Could never be mistaken for franks

You know you’re arriving in Kingsdown as the houses pop up along the beachfront road. There’s a real mishmash of buildings from cute little bungalows to modernist edifices. Whatever the house looks like, it’s sure to be worth a fortune due to location alone. Right on the beach, at the end of the main road from the village is the pub, The Zetland Arms, named after a lugger that ran aground up the coast at the end of the 19th century.

Passing the pub, we went straight onto the beach where hubby skimmed stones. I can’t do that, I obviously don’t have the technique. My stones just splosh straight into the water. After a few minutes of sitting on the beach we set back on the path towards Walmer, stopping at the pub for a quick drink before we left. Hubby was disappointed that we had to walk back the same way we’d come but I didn’t know how else to get back so that was what we did.
The walk back to the car was much quicker, probably because I didn’t keep stopping to take photographs!

The distance from Walmer bandstand to Kingsdown is 2 miles. It’s a really easy walk along a beautiful stretch of coastline. The path forms part of the Saxon Shore Way, a long distance (160 miles) footpath that winds its way along the coast from Hastings in East Sussex to Gravesend on the Thames estuary.

How was your weekend? Did you make the most of the gorgeous weather?

Rachel x

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