Step Down To The Harbour This Spring

Step Short Mole Cafe volunteers Folkestone Harbour Arm 2016

Our trusty volunteers are busy preparing for the 2017 opening of the Mole Cafe and Visitor Centre at Folkestone Harbour.

Folkestone Harbour Arm reopens on Friday 31 March, with the Mole Cafe welcoming its first visitors of the season on Saturday 1 April.

Located on the old railway pier, the First World War cafe (or Harbour Canteen as it was also known) will serve up tea, coffee and cake between 10am and 4.30pm every weekend and bank holiday until the end of October.

Step Short volunteers in period dress recreate the canteen, which was the last stop for British servicemen and nurses before they sailed across the Channel to the Western Front during WW1.

More than 40,000 men and women enjoyed free refreshments and signed their names in visitors’ books provided by the Folkestone women who established the cafe. Today visitors can still sign a guest book.

In 2014 Step Short digitised the Mole Cafe visitor books to make this unique piece of local history available to an international audience. View or search the Harbour Canteen visitor books now!

Our Visitor Centre at the bottom of Tontine Street reopens on Wednesday 12 April at 9am. Here visitors can read about life in Folkestone during WW1; view wartime artefacts and memorabilia; and become supporters of Step Short for just £10 a year. Check with our volunteers for specific opening times throughout the season.

Historic Mole Cafe Opens For Summer 2016

Step Short Mole Cafe volunteers Folkestone Harbour Arm 2016

The Mole Cafe has reopened for the 2016 summer season, welcoming visitors to Folkestone’s revamped Harbour Arm with lashings of tea and cake every weekend.

Volunteers in First World War period dress man the eatery, housed in its original location on the old railway pier. It first opened to the public last summer when the first stage of the Harbour Arm restoration was completed, both proving a runaway success.

This year the Harbour Arm is open for food, drink and entertainment from Friday to Sunday every week and on weekdays during school holidays. The cafe starts serving from 10.00am and closes around 4.30pm at the weekends.

Established by local women in World War I, the Mole Cafe (also known as the Harbour Canteen) was the last stop for servicemen and nurses from across the British Empire, and their final taste of Blighty, before sailing across the Channel to the front line.

Of the millions who passed through the port during the Great War, more than 40,000 men and women tucked into the free refreshments and signed their names in poignant visitors’ books.

The Mole Cafe books are now available to view and search online on the Step Short website.