HOW long the pretty town, or summer city, of Folkestone on the southeastern shore of Kent, has been a favourite English watering-place, I am not ready to say; but I think probably a great while.
Very likely the ancient Britons did not resort to it much; but there are the remains of Roman fortifications on the downs behind the town, known as Cæsar’s camp, and though Cæsar is now said not to have known of camping there, other Roman soldiers there must have been, who could have come down from the place to the sea for a dip as often as they got liberty.
It is also imaginable that an occasional Saxon or Dane, after a hard day’s marauding along the coast, may have wished to wash up in the waters of the Channel; but they could hardly have inaugurated the sort of season which for five or six weeks of the later summer finds the Folkestone beaches thronged with visitors, and the surf full of them.
We ourselves formed no part of the season, having come for the air in the later spring when the air is said to be tonic enough without the water. It is my belief that at no time of the year can you come amiss to Folkestone; but still it is better to own at the outset that you will not find it very gay there if you come at the end of April.
An excerpt from ‘Certain delightful English towns, with glimpses of the pleasant country between’, by William Dean Howells, Harper & Brothers, 1906