I’ve been lucky enough to live in two of Kent’s coolest seaside towns – Margate and Folkestone.
But which one is the best for a beach holiday in the UK?
From beaches toHere’s my verdict on which one is slightly better after living (and partying) in both.
Having lived in both towns in Kent, I have been to the popular and remote beaches in each.
Margate’s Main Sands has everything you want in a beach – but that also means the crowds.
Although a shingle beach, Folkestone’s main beach is a much more relaxed affair and is home to numerous shops and bars.
And when it comes to picking the best “local” beach, I’d say Folkestone wins there too.
Margate’s Palm Bay may have its own lido, but Folkestone’s Mermaid Beach feels like another land on the looseDay.
And there’s something Margate doesn’t have, which is the Lower Leas Coastal Park, a beautiful huge green space with a playground and benches.
Fgood And drink
Seafood is a must in both cases and fortunately it is not in short supply.
Margate’s most famous restaurants include Sargasso and Angela’s, which has a nearby sister restaurant, Dory’s.
But my favorite seafood restaurant is actually in Folkestone.
Rocksalt’s menu includes fresh oysters, crab and scallops, as well as great service and a second-floor bar.
If you can’t get in, there’s also Chummy’s where you can grab fresh fish from the counter to take away
And when it comes to variety, Folkestone reigns supreme thanks to Harbor Arms, which serves everything from Argentinian to Japanese, plus a huge TV screen for sports and films.
For bars, Margate has popular venues such as Daisy’s and Sete, each serving a curated selection of local wines and unique cocktails.
But Folkeston’s newest is the Pilot Beach Bar withCocktails and live DJs – right on the beach.
Things to do
Margate’s Dreamland has been making headlines and appearing in Hollywood blockbusters in recent monthsTV shows.
Folkestone is home to F51, the world’s first multi-level skate park, as well as the highest climbing area in the South East.
And when it comes to their old towns, I would say Folkestone simply beats Margate.
Both have independent bookstores, gift shops and vintage shops – but Folkestone just has a few extra places where you can pick up a few gifts while grabbing an ice cream.
Folkestone’s most famous hotel is the Grand Burstin – known for being one of the worst in Britain.
There are nicer options – Rocksalt has four dedicated rooms you can rent, and the new London Paris Hotel is expected to open its rooms later this year.
But Margate is clearly beating Folkestone, with a number of new openings in the last year.
These include the new Fort Road Hotel overlooking the harbor as well as the newest hotels Selina and Guesthouse this year.
Both coastal cities are easy to reach from London.
However, Folkestone has just overtaken Margate as the easiest solution.
The quickest way to Margate is from Kings Cross station and takes 90 minutes.
However, Folkestone Central is much faster – the Kings Cross train journey takes just 54 minutes.
It’s also an ideal base for a short day trip across the waters – with trains to Calais in just 35 minutes.
Of course I love both coastal cities.
However, if I had to choose, I would choose Folkestone every time.
It has everything you could want – easy access, pretty beaches and good food – and still feels like you’re with the locals.
And Margate’s popularity comes at a price, literally: expect to pay London prices in some of the new bars and restaurants.
And with plenty to explore in Folkestone – with next year’s Folkestone Triennial arts festival and the restoration of the 138-year-old funicular – there’s no better time to do it.