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Art around Folkestone. Pablo Bronstein 'Beach Hut in the style of Nicholas Hawksmoor'
Stuart Wilson Art around Folkestone. Pablo Bronstein 'Beach Hut in the style of Nicholas Hawksmoor'

South East hidden gems: exploring and doing

Discover the unique markets, fascinating galleries, curious museums and mysterious places that make the South East so special

By Time Out in association with Southeastern

Fabulous seaside days out are within easy reach of London when you travel by train. While you’re there, discover the unique markets, great galleries and quirky museums while you’re there…

This summer, Southeastern is offering special fares to these beautiful, unique destinations, with advance purchase Off-Peak day return train tickets to key destinations from £10 to Kent and from £15 to East Sussex.


There are so many hidden gems waiting for you around Kent and East Sussex, on a trip out of London this summer. Below are just a few to get your next adventure started.

Inspired? Discover and share your #SEhiddengems.

junk deluxe
junk deluxe

Shop for the unique

From markets to indie boutiques to salvage yards, the South East is full of treasures for days spent browsing and buying. Hastings Old Town reveals its hidden charms on a pleasant weekend stroll, with cultural, arts and shopping events through the year. And for vintage and reclaimed gems, Margate and Ramsgate can’t be beat. Junk Deluxe in Margate is a treat for anyone interested in affordable modern design, collected, restored and sold in a ‘re-invented junk shop’ run by Benjamin Scott and Hayley Stevens. For the antique and the unusual, Scott’s Furniture Mart is legendary among Margate locals in the know.

Hastings Old Town:

Junk Deluxe:

Scott's Furniture Mart:

Get there by train with Southeastern to Hastings, Margate and Ramsgate

Folkestone Lighthouse
Folkestone Lighthouse

Wander Folkestone’s public art

Less than an hour from London, but on the Kent coast where you can see France just across the water, Folkestone is a busy town with a thriving art scene. Head downtown to the Creative Quarter and you’ll find artists’ studios, workshops, galleries and shops, supported by a passionate Creative Foundation. Around the town and on the seafront are public artworks big and small, including Tracey Emin’s ‘Baby Things’ – tiny sculptures of items of baby clothes, seemingly dropped and lost in unexpected places.

Get there by train with Southeastern to Folkestone Central

shell grotto
shell grotto
© Visit Kent

Explore the secrets of the Shell Grotto

Unlike the sleek Turner Contemporary and the hipster-vintage nostalgia of the renovated Dreamland fairground, one of Margate’s attractions has been unwilling to give away its secrets for years. The mysterious Shell Grotto is found below an unremarkable backstreet shop, but despite a plethora of theories, no one knows if it’s a Roman temple sacred to the mystical warriors of Mythras, a Templar shrine or a Victorian folly. Explore the tunnel complex with its intricate and perplexing shell mosaics and come up with a theory of your own.

Get there by train with Southeastern to Margate


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