Folkestone is a town in the county of Kent. It has a population of over 45,000 people. Folkestone is an important ferry port within the UK and is also a popular seaside destination. Folkestone is located where the southern edge of the North Downs meets the sea.
Folkestone was just a small fishing harbour in the 19th Century. In 1809 Thomas Telford constructed a pier and a harbour within the town. This new development grew trade within the town; however it wasn't until the introduction of the railway in 1843 that allowed Folkestone to prosper from its connections to the rest of the UK.
Folkestone's economy relies on its prominence as a visitor attraction within the UK. It is a popular tourist destination and seaside town, which provides many jobs in the service, retail and tourism industries. Folkestone is also the home of the Channel Tunnel, which provides a large amount of employment within the town.
Whilst fishing was once at the forefront of Folkestone's economy, this has now begun to decline. There are many employment opportunities with insurance firms in the area, and Folkestone is home to the headquarters of insurance firm Saga. Other businesses which have headquarters within the town include Church and Dwight, a US company famous for brands including Arm and Hammer toothpaste, and the largest independently owned soft drinks manufacturer in the UK, Silver Spring Mineral Water Company Ltd.
The cliffs above the beach at Folkestone, which are known as The Leas, are a popular attraction within the town. A visitor centre now stands at the old Martello Tower on the cliff above Copt Point; it was built in 1806 as a defence against Napoleon. The famous Folkestone White Horse is carved on Cheriton Hill, just above the Channel Tunnel terminal.