The charming coastal village of Sandgate may be small, but it has a lot of personality. From its rich history and fabulous stretch of beach to the beautiful houses and unique nature of its bars and restaurants, this is not a place you want to miss.
But it’s fair to say that you could easily do just that and end up missing out. Sandgate is just along Folkestone on the coast road to Hythe.
Its main street is full of independent shops selling gifts, furniture and antiques, as well as many quality cafes, restaurants and pubs. The long beach has views across the English Channel and is popular with dog walkers, cyclists and joggers – but despite its popularity it still manages to maintain a very relaxed atmosphere.
Read more: Does Sandgate Beach deserve to claim the title of Kent‘s best beach? Vote in our poll
“The hilly seafront is home to a variety of independently run artisan shops,” said John Page, branch manager of Miles and Barr in Folkestone. “The quirky nature of the area means no two houses are the same.”
And he’s right. Wherever you look, there is another colorful building or a house with a unique look. The beautiful properties all come in different colors, shapes and sizes.
Along the waterfront you will find the famous Boat House cafe overlooking the beach. There has never been a single bad review on Tripadvisor and you would be hard pressed to find a nicer place for breakfast or lunch.
Then there is The Ship Inn, which is a traditional pub with a restaurant and first floor sun terrace with spectacular canal views. The cozy atmosphere of the pub also makes it the perfect refuge in bad weather.
The village has a rich history dating back to Henry VIII. You can take guided walking tours where you will discover some of the fascinating buildings and learn about the lives and achievements of its most famous people.
It is also home to five Martello towers, one of which is Sandgate Castle.
It doesn’t take long before a walk along the High Street reveals a very unique blue building with a blue plaque dedicated to the birthplace of Hattie Jacques, the much-loved English comedienne known for her role in the classic Carry On films.
When it comes to dining, you really are spoiled for choice, whether it’s a small bite, pub grub or an upscale evening meal, there’s something for everyone.
The much-loved Sandgate Vaults is housed in a former bank building and described as a “modern restaurant with a contemporary menu”. There are all-time favorites such as The Little Fish Shop which has been pleasing customers for decades, and cafes on the High Street such as Loaf and Orchard Lane Coffee House.
“A wonderful place to be all year round”
Orchard Lane has been open for over five years and is run by husband and wife team Jon and Joanna Lane. Jon said: “We focus on serving specialty coffee from the best coffee roasters in the UK.
“We also offer a selection of 100% plant-based cakes and pastries made by the in-house team, as well as the famous Kanelbullar (Swedish buns) from Swedish baker Malin in the nearby town of Deal. We have lived in Sandgate for over 10 years and wanted to share our passion for good coffee and friendly service with the local community.
“The village is a wonderful place to live all year round, the locals are great, really friendly people and we love sharing the street with other independent businesses. There is a definite sense of community here at Sandgate and we We’re thrilled to be a part of this.”
“We feel very safe”
We also spoke to local business owner Toni Millen, owner of lifestyle and vintage clothing store Workshop Number 29 on Sandgate High Street. She said: “I love the human part of being a shopkeeper, remembering people’s names and buying things that I know some of my customers will like.
“It’s like that in Sandgate, everyone knows each other and takes care of each other. It’s very safe, I know my children can go to Orchard Lane, the cafe across the road and they know my children by name.”
Most business owners and locals we spoke to commented that Sandgate’s sense of community seems to be diminishing in other towns and cities. When asked what he enjoyed most about living in Sandgate, one resident simply pointed to the sea and replied “that.”
Sandgate’s popularity is on the rise and it is probably the wealthiest village in the Folkestone area. House prices for the village have averaged around £353,528 over the past year, according to Rightmove.
The property site says the majority of sales in Sandgate over the past year have been apartments, selling for an average price of £298,019. Semi-detached properties sold for an average of £390,391, semi-detached properties for £380,769.
Although not cheap, it is also the most beautiful place in the Folkestone area. It certainly holds its own in the rankings compared to similar areas in the UK and there are no signs of it changing.
John Page added: “Sandgate is a beautiful coastal village in the Folkestone and Hythe area. With a wide range of excellent schools at primary and secondary level, the village has become hugely popular with families.
“With Folkestone station nearby, where the journey time to London is just under an hour, Sandgate is also attractive for those also looking to get around.”
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