If you’re one of the ever-growing community of sea swimmers who dip their toes in our winter waters, here’s the BEST way to warm up afterwards!
SCANDI ‘HYGGE’ HITS FOLKESTONE
Officially opened on December 3 2022, Folkestone Sea Sauna is based at Folkestone Rowing Club, and provides a totally modern Finnish style sauna with changing rooms. The permanent, electric community sauna is the first of its kind in the UK, and is open to all.
WHAT MAKES A FINNISH SAUNA SO SPECIAL?
A Finnish sauna uses dry heat, so there is no moisture or steam. The humidity is usually around 5-20 per cent, and the temperature around 80-100 degrees C. It’s a calming, relaxing experience which raises your heart rate, allows your blood vessels to dilate and increases blood flow to the skin.
After a skin-tingling swim in a cold sea, it’s the perfect way to warm up and chill out (forgive the pun!)
THE FOLKESTONE SEA SAUNA JOURNEY
Folkestone resident Peter Blach grew up in Denmark, and after falling in love with sea swimming and witnessing the Danish winter bathing revolution over the past decade, he dreamt of establishing a similar facility here.
“Back in 2018, I started a Facebook group to gauge interest and look at what we could do right here” Peter says. “It was clear from the outset that we could make a real success of this – so we began looking for locations. Folkestone Rowing Club actually had a disused shed which had housed a sauna in the 1980s – so we got to work on plans to refurbish and insulate the building and install the new facilities.
“We had amazing support from Kent County Council, SAGA, ward grants from Folkestone & Hythe District Council councillors, and almost 180 crowdfunders. As a not for profit community group, we’re so grateful to everyone who helped make our dream become a reality.”
BRING YOUR TOWEL!
Fancy giving it a go? Annual membership costs £95 (£85 for concessions), with a one-off registration fee of £25 – and there will be regular open days, free of charge, so you can try before you buy.
Plans are for the sauna to be open every day during the winter months (October-April), and it can also be hired for special events. Community groups and organisations who look after vulnerable people in the community will also be able to apply for free slots from 2023.
THE GRAND OPENING
Back to the ‘hygge’, which can best be described as a mood of cosiness, comfortable conviviality, wellness and contentment – all of which were in full flow at the launch party on December 3!
Well-known actress Sorcha Cusack (‘Inspector Morse’, ‘Father Brown’ and many more credits) was on hand to cut the ribbon, and guests enjoyed mulled wine, courtesy of Folkestone Rowing Club, and a warming vegan stew by Andre Braga Verissimo.
To find out more, visit www.folkestoneseasauna.com.