I'VE BEEN lucky enough to live in two of Kent's coolest seaside towns – Margate and Folkestone.

But which is the best one to visit for a UK beach break?

From beaches to hotels, here is my verdict on which one is a bit better, having lived (and partied) at both.

The beaches

Having lived in both Kent towns, I've been to each one's popular and off-the-beaten-track beaches.

Margate's Main Sands has everything you'd want out of a beach – but that also includes huge crowds.

Folkestone's main beach, while pebble, is a much more laid-back affair, with more shops and bars dotting along it.

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And when it comes to picking the best 'local' beach, I'd say Folkestone wins there too.

Margate's Palm Bay does have its own lido, but Folkestone's Mermaid Beach feels like another country on a clear summer day.

And it has something Margate doesn't have, which is the Lower Leas Coastal Park, a gorgeous huge green space with a playpark and benches.

Food and drink

Seafood is a must at both, and thankfully they aren't in short supply.

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Margate's most famous restaurants include Sargasso, as well as Angela's which has a nearby sister restaurant Dory's.

But my favourite seafood restaurant is actually in Folkestone.

Rocksalt's menu includes fresh oysters, crab and scallops, along with amazing service and a second-floor bar.

If you can't get in, there is also Chummy's which lets you pick fresh fish from the counter to take away

And when it comes to variety, Folkestone wins hands down thanks to Harbour Arms, which has everything from Argentinian to Japanese alongside a huge TV screen for sports and films.

For bars, Margate has popular venues including Daisy's and Sete, each serving a curated menu of local wines and unique cocktails.

But Folkeston's newest is Pilot Beach Bar, with frozen cocktails and live DJs – and it's right on the beach.

Things to do

Margate's Dreamland has hit the headlines in recent months, featuring in Hollywood blockbusters and Sky TV shows.

Folkestone is home to F51, the first multistory skatepark in the world, as well as the tallest climbing venue in the southeast.

And when it comes to their Old Towns, I'd say Folkestone just beats Margate.

They both have independent bookstores, gift shops and vintage stores – but Folkestone just has a few extra places where you can pick up some gifts while getting an ice cream.

Staying there

Folkestone's most famous hotel is the Grand Burstin – known for being one of the worst in the UK.

There are nicer options – Rocksalt has four of their own rooms you can rent, and the new London Paris Hotel is set to open its rooms later this year.

But Margate beats Folkestone hands down, with a number of new openings in the past year.

This includes the new Fort Road Hotel overlooking the harbour, as well as the newest Selina and Guesthouse hotels this year.

Getting there

Both seaside towns are easy to get to from London.

However, Folkestone has just pipped Margate in being the easiest.

The fastest route to Margate is from Kings Cross station, taking 90 minutes.

However, Folkestone Central is much faster – with the Kings Cross train taking just 54 minutes.

Not only that, but it's a great base for a quick day trip across the waters – with trains to Calais in just 35 minutes.


I love both seaside towns, of course.

However, if I had to pick, I'd go for Folkestone every time.

It has everything you'd want – easy to get to, pretty beaches and great food – while still feeling like you are joining the locals.

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And Margate's popularity has come with a literal price, where you can expect to pay London prices at some of the new bars and restaurants.

And with lots to be excited about in Folkestone – with next year's Folkestone Triennial art festival, and the restoration of the 138-year-old funicular lift – there's no better time to go.

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