The elegant buildings, which form the terrace of hotels including the Langhorne Garden and the other neighbouring avenues, were built in the 1870s, mainly as holiday homes for wealthy Londoners. The coming of the railways to Folkestone and the advent of the cross Channel steamers meant a boom time for the town as the smog and other effects of the industrial revolution forced city dwellers to seek the better airs of the coast, especially during the Summer months.
At the turn of the last century Folkestone was one of the major seaside resorts of the Victorian era, boasting four cliff lifts and three bandstands. Like Brighton the town was also a favourite of Royalty with the town's two premier hotels - the Grand and the Metropole - hosting many an elegant function. The Langhorne (called The Norfolk Hotel until 1981) occupies three houses in Langhorne Gardens, numbers 10, 11 and 12. Whether all three houses were used as a hotel in the early years is still being researched and there is some evidence to say that at least one of the houses was a doctor's surgery at this time. Certainly the Norfolk Hotel received its first liquor licence at some stage between about 1872 and 1895 - records for the intervening years were destroyed - so the hospitality trade can be traced back for at least 100 years.
The Norfolk was bought by the Fell family in 1981 and renamed the Langhorne Garden. This brought the number of hotels with which the family had been connected with to four - and one pub. In the years leading up to World War Two Robert Broadbent - Ian and Mark's grandfather - bought the Oxford Hotel in Lincoln and ran this very successfully until his death in 1961. Having helped with the running of the Oxford during the period from 1953 until 1961, Doug and Audrey Fell then returned to Folkestone to take over the running of St.Germain Private Hotel, a small hotel in Earls Avenue. From this the family moved to the larger White House Hotel in Clifton Gardens (now part of the Clifton Hotel) where they carried on in business for twelve years before health problems for Doug forced a move to a quieter life in the country and the challenge of running the Anchor Pub at Stowting. After three years the lure of town life (the football club and afternoon bridge sessions?) meant a return to Folkestone and the purchasing of the Norfolk Hotel which had been closed for at least two years.
This marked the beginning of an expansion and development process which improved the hotel. The 29 bedrooms all now have en-suite facilities and all the expected amenities, making the Langhorne Garden one of the best-respected family run hotels in the town.