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 F51
Photograph: F51

The world’s first multistorey skatepark has opened in the UK

F51 in Folkestone has become an unlikely mecca for skateboarders, BMXers and rock climbers

Sophie Dickinson
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Sophie Dickinson
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This giant, aluminium-clad spaceship has just landed in the south of England. Peering at it, you probably wouldn’t guess it was packed full of swooping timber ramps, undulating concrete and unwieldy street furniture. But this three-floor building is the world’s first multi-storey skatepark – perfect for TikTok hobbyists and Tony Hawk wannabes alike.

The designers of F51 in Folkestone, Kent, were initially asked to build a car park, hence its towering frame. But when the local skate park had to relocate, the building seemed like a cool (if slightly unusual) fit. Now, it houses all the bowls, pipes, ramps and wallrides a skater could desire. There’s also a 15-metre-high climbing wall, comprising more than 30 graded routes for both beginners and pros.

F51 skate park
Photograph: F51
F51 skate park
Photograph: F51
F51 skate park
Photograph: F51

Skaters are the ones who are seriously spoiled for choice, though. The ‘flow park’ at the top of the building is a wonderland of undulating mounds. Head down a level and you’ll find a recreation of the most gnarly bits of urban environments: steps, rails, ledges and more. The ground floor is all swooping bowls and imposing pillars, meant to mimic the empty Californian swimming pools that incubated the first skating boom. 

All this floats above a boxing gym and community space, run by local charity The Sports Trust. Their initiatives include giving under-16s registered at nearby schools membership for £1 a month, plus taster sessions for people curious about skateboarding, climbing or boxing. Our advice? Grab your wheels and get down to Folkestone.

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