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The Lower Leas Coastal Park

The area used for The Lower Leas Coastal Park was formed from a product of a landslip over 200 years ago, it is now a much-loved seaside destination.

Lower Leas 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.

Green Flag Awards Website

Visiting the park

Access to the park is from Lower Sandgate Road, Folkestone. Follow the signs for 'Pleasure beach' (towards the harbour). There is a pay and display car park.

Coaches are to access the park from the harbour end rather than Sandgate as it is unsuitable for large vehicles.

Lower Leas direction image
Lower Leas direction image

This symbol that appears on brown signs around the town directs visitors to the park.

Visited before? Take our survey!

Activities and points of interest

The park features:

  • a 350-seat amphitheatre
  • the south east's largest free adventure playground
  • a labyrinth and other public art installations
  • BBQ and 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.

Park zones

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 and special metal facilities have been installed in areas where BBQs are allowed.

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. BBQs aren't allowed in the fun zone and 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.

Regeneration

The park deteriorated over the years but in 1999, following successful funding applications, we began an extensive regeneration scheme.

Further information

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

pdf icon Lower Leas Coastal Park leaflet [2Mb]