Monday, 20 June 2011

FOLKESTONE

Folkestone is one of the jumping off points for crossings to France, and when the first passenger ship left here for Boulogne in 1843 the crossing took four hours, meaning that taking into account the train connections on either side of the channel, the journey from London to Paris could be done in 12 hours. What a contrast from today, with the advent of Le Shuttle meaning that the crossing now takes 35 minutes.

As well as a channel crossing point, Folkestone is a typical seaside resort, with a pier, amusements, and a water-powered cliff lift whisking passengers up from the foreshore to the West Cliff, where they are greeted with the sight of lawns, flower beds, a bandstand and a promenade almost a mile long. The old part of town climbs uphill from the harbour, with a narrow, cobbled High Street. Folkestone has a number of literary connections. Charles Dickens spent a summer here in 1855 during which he wrote Little Dorrit. A few years later, in 1900, H G Wells and his wife moved to the town, where they lived in The Spade House overlooking Sandgate Bay. Probably the most famous book he wrote while here was The History of Mr Polly. During his time in the town he entertained a number of literary friends including Henry James and Rudyard Kipling.

For events in Folkestone see here.

Map of the area.

'Tangmere on the old Folkestone Harbour Swing Bridge' photo (c) 2008, Smudge 9000 - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

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