Folkestone Harbour Link

Historically Folkestone had a thriving fishing industry and port. It was home to the first rail/sea/rail international service to Europe and became a popular holiday destination for the elite. However, bombing during the world wars, competition with Dover Channel Ferries and the success of the Channel Tunnel led to a decline in Folkestone’s prosperity. The harbour area became redundant and derelict and many historical structures fell into disrepair and disuse.

The primary purpose of the Folkestone Harbour Link project was to sensitively regenerate and transform some of Folkestone’s historical harbour assets (Harbour Viaduct, Swing Bridge and Station) into high quality, usable public realm, forging a pedestrian link between the town and the existing Harbour Arm. The scheme has reinvigorated this neglected part of town and revived its distinctive character.

In 2004, Sir Roger De Haan set up the Folkestone Harbour Seafront Development Corporation. With a multi-million-pound investment, a seafront masterplan was developed for Folkestone which included the wider regeneration of a vibrant sea-front quarter and restored use of the harbour area through a provision of a mix of leisure and residential uses.

Macfarlane + Associates were responsible for the landscape consultancy for the Harbour Link and Harbour Station including both hard and soft landscaping. Macfarlane + Associates provided landscape consultancy for the detailed listed planning application, the tender package and the administrative/post contract services. Our role as landscape architects was vital in respectfully transforming the redundant harbour assets into high quality, usable public realm.

Buro Happold were responsible for the engineering that went into the restoration of the historic listed Viaduct and Swing Bridge.

Acme were responsible for the architecture associated with the Harbour Station refurbishment.

The scheme has been informed by comprehensive historical research and guidance from Historic England, to result in a sensitive modern interpretation of the historic assets.

The project has considerately transformed Folkestone’s declining listed Harbour Viaduct, Swing Bridge and Station into a pedestrian and cycling green link that connects the Harbour Square and town beyond to the South Quay of the existing harbour. It respects and enhances the heritage value of the existing assets, while creating a high quality, memorable destination for the public. It is unprecedented: a linear public realm on a listed viaduct and swing bridge standing metres above the harbour water. The listed structure has been kept intact while new pedestrian and cycle friendly surfaces have been created, and salt, wind, and drought tolerant planting added, in addition to bespoke street furniture that echoes the site’s past. The landscape design is sympathetic to the historic structures, including careful choice of hard and soft materials. It forms a green corridor from the Harbour Arm through the Station, Swing bridge and onto the Viaduct. Strolling along the Viaduct and across the bridge, it is still possible to see the old rails embedded in the concrete surface. The constant run of trains that once animated Folkestone Harbour is now recreated by steady streams of people crossing from the Fountain Square, Creative Quarter and The Old High Street to enjoy the restored Harbour Arm.

The Folkestone Harbour Link scheme has been a vital component in regenerating this area and breathing new life into the Folkestone Seafront. With continued regeneration and imminent planned future development, Folkstone is being reinvigorated with identity and purpose, with a drive to create a strong community and a successful future for the generations.


  • Project Name

    Folkestone Harbour Link

  • Location

    Folkestone, Kent

  • Category

    Heritage, culture, art

  • Landscape Architect

    Macfarlane + Associates Ltd

  • Client

    Folkestone Harbour Company

  • Brief

    - Regenerate the Folkestone Harbour link as part of the wider seafront regeneration - Specifically, regenerate and transform Folkestone’s redundant railway Harbour Viaduct, Swing Bridge and Station into a public destination space and pedestrian and cycle link that connects the Harbour Square and town beyond to the South Quay of the existing harbour. - To be done in a way that is respectful and enhances the heritage value of the existing assets. - Provide landscape design consultancy for the Harbour Link (including the Viaduct/Swing Bridge) and Station to Harbour Arm areas of the scheme . This included a detailed listed planning application, a tender package and administrative/post contract services.

  • Awards

    Finalist, Landscape Institute Awards 2019


  • Project Team

    Client: Folkestone Harbour Company Landscape Architects : Macfarlane + Associates Engineers: Buro Happold Architects (Station refurb only) : ACME Quantity Surveyors: Deacon and Jones Planning Consultants - Savills

  • Local planning authority or government body

    Folkestone & Hythe District Council

  • Year Completed


  • Project Size

    0.88 ha

  • Contract Value

    Overall Station refurb £4,500,000, Overall viaduct works £450,000 (excludes major repair works)

  • Macfarlane + Associates Ltd

    Registered Practice - (6 - 10 Employees)
  • Approximate Map Location


    Folkestone, Kent

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