The Lower Leas Coastal Park is a linear park between Folkestone and Sandgate which has been developed into an award-winning park for recreation and enjoyment of the coast
Wildlife such as migrating birds and insects thrive in the area and the park contains an under cliff area with a unique microclimate attracting wildlife rarely found in the UK.
Events take place throughout the summer including concerts, children's workshops and drama.
The Coastal Park has won the Green Flag Award (given to quality green spaces) every year since 2007 when it first applied for the award.
Visiting the park
Access to the park is from Lower Sandgate Road, Folkestone. Follow the signs for 'Pleasure beach' (towards the harbour).
You can park at The Coastal Park car park, however during peak times, holidays or weekends you may need to use alternative car parks. :
- Lower Sandgate Road West - CT20 1PS
- Harbour Side (10 spaces only) - CT20 1QN
- Bottom of Tram Road - CT20 1QN
Please note that the Lower Leas Coastal car park is closed between 8pm - 8am daily. Please make sure you leave the site on time. After 8pm there is a £100 release fee. Contact 01303 221888 to make your payment.
Coaches are to access the park from the harbour end rather than Sandgate as it is unsuitable for large vehicles.
Activities and points of interest
Please note: Barbecues are no longer permitted in the Lower Leas Coastal Park - and all pods have been removed. Please use the beach if you wish to have a BBQ.
The park features:
- a 350-seat amphitheatre
- the south east's largest free adventure playground
- a labyrinth and other public art installations
- picnic areas
- a national cycle route
- a cafe
The park is also near:
- a bandstand
- The Leas Cliff entertainment venue
For safety, lighting and CCTV have been installed and wardens patrol the park during busy periods.
The park is split into 3 broad recreational zones:
- the wild zone
- the fun zone
- the formal zone
The wild zone
This zone runs from the western entrance to the toll house and is informally managed for recreation and wildlife.
Picnic furniture is provided.
The fun zone
The area in the centre of the park has the south east's largest play area. There's a large main play structure with tube slides, towers, net tunnels and aerial slides and 5 smaller themed areas.
The Bounty shipwreck, climbing walls, a toddler's construction area, sand diggers, a harbour with rocking boats and a unit suitable for children of all abilities complete the fun zone.
Also in this zone is the warden's hut, amphitheatre, toilet block, Zig Zag path and storytelling area. Free events take place at the amphitheatre every summer.
Owners are asked to keep dogs on leads.
The formal zone
This zone opened in 2006 and is designed to keep the spirit of the original park. It contrasts the wild zone with formal planting and emphasises the horticultural excellence the park has been known for historically.
Cycling through the park
National Cycle Route 2 runs along the Lower Sandgate Road.
Cyclists are asked to dismount through the play area during busy periods.
A short history of the Lower Leas Coastal Park
The park was created in 1784
A huge landslip produced a new strip of land between the beach and the new cliff line. The land was farmed and cows were led down the cliff face to graze on pastures. The area was owned by Lord Radnor and during the 1870s new paths were built leading from the Leas into the park.
Adding to the park
Other recreational features were added including:
- Victoria pier
- the Switchback roller coaster-style ride
- the Leas Shelter
- the Leas bandstand
The Switchback ride was severely damaged by a storm in 1909 and was dismantled. The Leas Shelter became the present day Leas Cliff Hall and the Leas bandstand has been completely refurbished.
The park deteriorated over the years but in 1999, following successful funding applications, we began an extensive regeneration scheme.
Further information on the history and natural heritage can be found on panels in the park or in the Lower Leas Coastal Park leaflet.
You can get a copy of the leaflet from any of the following locations, or by downloading it below:
- the Warden's Hut
- the Mermaid Cafe
- the Civic Centre
- Folkestone Town Centre Management
- Folkestone Town Council
- Folkestone Tourist Information