Folkestone is still a busy port with fishing and ferry traffic and is home to the Eurotunnel with frequent car train services to Calais. The establishment of a Creative Quarter and regular cultural festivals has done much to raise the profile of Folkestone in recent years and new restaurants have added to the diversity of visitors.
Kingsdown is located at the Northern end of the White Cliffs of Dover and a few miles from Walmer and Deal. There are wonderful walks following the White Cliffs County Trail and the Saxon Shore Line with splendid bird, insect and plant life to investigate. The Kingsdown Park occupies a cliff top position with leisure facilities including a swimming pool and tennis courts.
Martin is situated between the busy port of Dover and the quaint town of Deal. The castles at Dover, Deal and Walmer provide a fascinating insight into the constant need to defend our shores from invasion. There is a station at Martin Mill with trains to the cathedral City of Canterbury and connections to the seaside resort of Margate where the Turner Contemporary Gallery holds regular exhibitions.
Margate celebrates the artist, J M W Turner, who praised the skies over Thanet as “the loveliest in all Europe” and a Contemporary Art Gallery dedicated to his memory has opened to great acclaim. It has also exhibited the work of the controversial artist Tracey Emin who was born in Margate.
Dover has always been at the frontline of defending Britain from invasion and the splendid Castle has been garrisoned uninterruptedly for nine centuries guarding the English Channel. It was only decommissioned in 1958 since when English Heritage have opened to the public the secret underground tunnels from where the Dunkirk evacuation was organized and the Battle of Britain monitored.
Ramsgate grew from a fishing village to a busy harbour being the chief embarkation port in the Napoleonic Wars as well as for the evacuation of troops from Dunkirk in 1940. Augustus Pugin, the celebrated Victorian architect, built his own family home, The Grange, in Ramsgate and designed the interiors for the House of Lords in his library overlooking Pegwell Bay.
Deal’s pier, opened by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1957, is reputed to be the same length as the Titanic, it is much loved by fishermen and has a well-designed café at the end.
Herne Bay became a fashionable seaside resort in the 19th century and is now a popular destination for watersports enthusiasts with Clubs for sailing, rowing and yachting. Herne Bay is a charming Victorian seaside town with a wide promenade.
Upnor is a delightful riverside village with a splendid Elizabethan Castle built to defend the dockyard at Chatham.
The RHDR runs miniature steam trains from Hythe through Romney Marsh to Dungeness, a wild shingle headland with an imposing lighthouse, fishermen’s cottages and an RSPB sanctuary.