Explore our parks and gardens

Walk in Jane Austen's footsteps, picnic on the edge of the Kent Downs National Landscape, stroll in gardens with views of the White Cliffs, explore rediscovered castle pleasure grounds and a seaside garden where a Tudor castle once stood.

Kearsney Parks

Restored in recent years, Kearnsey Abbey and Russell Gardens are on the outskirts of Dover are open all year round. Kearsney Abbey is laid out as informal parkland and is a beautiful space to enjoy a walk or relax watching wildlife on the lake. There's a popular cafe where you can buy drinks, ice cream, snacks and meals, and public toilets with a Changing Places facility.

Over the road is Grade II-listed Russell Gardens, designed by the renowned Edwardian landscape architect Thomas H Mawson and presented in a more formal style. Here you'll find a fabulous wooden children's play area. The parks have been awarded The Green Flag Award® in three consecutive years, meeting the quality standard every year since the completion in 2021 of a £3.1m ‘Parks for People’ project with the National Lottery Heritage and Community Funds.

Walmer Castle Gardens

Walmer Castle Gardens near Deal, covers more than eight acres of award-winning gardens and includes the Queen Mother’s Garden, a contemporary garden design created in honour of HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’s 95th birthday. Explore the mature trees of the woodland walk, read a book on the Oval Lawn, stroll along the Broadwalk to take in the herbaceous borders, colourful planting and cloud hedge and visit the rediscovered pleasure grounds begun by William Pitt the Younger in 1802.

A collection of planted pots in front of a Victorian cold frame with the castle in the background.
Walmer Castle Gardens include a beautiful working kitchen garden with seasonal displays.

Goodnestone Park Gardens

Considered to be one of the best gardens in the South East, Goodnestone Park Gardens is one of only three in Kent to be featured in the Good Gardens Guide. Jane Austen loved to stay here and it’s not hard to see why. Enjoy the woodland, walled garden, arboretum, parterre and terraces and more surrounded by beautiful countryside. Described as 'the very heart of rural England', it’s a must-see for any garden-lover.

The Pines Garden

This sustainable garden at St Margaret’s Bay enjoys a fantastic location tucked into the South Foreland Valley behind the White Cliffs. It covers six acres of organically-managed gardens with unusual mature trees and shrubs, a cascade with adjoining lake and grass labyrinth. The kitchen gardens also supply the tearoom and a statue of Sir Winston Churchill (by the acclaimed sculptor Oscar Nemon) looks out towards the Dover Patrol Memorial on the clifftop at the other side of the beach.

Sandown Castle Community Garden

This lovingly planted, award-winning tiered garden stands on the site of the former historic Sandown Castle in Deal, built by Henry VIII. Originally constructed in 1949, Sandown Castle Community Garden has been restored by a group of community volunteers who began their project in 2015 and who tend the garden to this day.

Find out more about these special places at the bottom of the page.

People strolling through a public park with a bandstand and castle in the background.
Pencester Gardens in Dover - home to annual events such as the Dover Multicultural Festival and open-air theatre in the summer months.

Council maintained parks

You'll also find public parks in Dover, Deal and Sandwich, perfect for a stroll in a green space to recharge the batteries and keep cool in the summer. 

Pencester Gardens, Dover - located in the centre of town, the open lawn abuts the River Dour, a rare chalk stream. The bandstand (constructed by Dover Town Council in 2000) regularly hosts entertainment in the summer months. The park also has a children's play area and skate park.

Connaught Park, Dover - a lovely park set on the hillside below Dover Castle with excellent views across the town. Dating back to Victorian times, the park has tennis courts, a children's play area and public toilets. 

Marke Wood Park, Walmer - a popular park with an attractive garden area, tennis and football facilities, a children's play area and public toilets. You can play tennis for FREE for an hour at 10am every Saturday here. Open to all, no matter your age, background or ability, all tennis equipment is provided. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Walmer Green, Walmer - the large grassed area on the seafront at Walmer is home to the Royal Marines memorial bandstand and is used each Sunday throughout the summer for free concerts. The area is transformed in the last two weeks of July each year when it is used as the site for the annual funfair as part of the Deal and Walmer Regatta festivities.

Victoria Park, Deal - a large open grassed area home to Tides Leisure Centre and Deal Indoor Tennis Centre. There is a children's play area, skate park, multi-use games area (suitable for football and basketball), Padel courts, tennis courts and public toilets.

The Quay, Sandwich - the area along the banks of the River Stour in Sandwich is a lovely place for a riverside stroll. Home to Sandwich Medieval Centre and the P22 Patrol Boat, there are public toilets and plenty of places to eat and drink nearby.

Find out more about public parks on Dover District Council's website

Find out more

  • Kearsney Parks

    For a wonderful day out, visit, explore and experience the serene beauty of Kearsney Parks – Kearsney Abbey, Russell Gardens and Bushy Ruff.

    Aerial view showing the cafe at Kearsney Abbey
  • Walmer Castle and Gardens

    Built in 1540 as part of Henry VIII’s chain of coastal defences, centuries of domestic refinements have transformed Walmer from a fortress to an elegant stately home with beautiful gardens.

    Walmer Castle viewed from the Queen Mother's Garden, with a lake, portico and topiary
  • Goodnestone Park Gardens

    Peaceful and romantic gardens with connections to Jane Austen, described by various writers as 'the very heart of rural England', 'one of the loveliest gardens in Kent' and 'a haven of beautiful tranquillity'.

    Goodnestone Manor visible in the background with colourful flowers and topiary in the foreground
  • The Pines Gardens

    A six-acre organic garden nestled into a valley behind the white cliffs at St Margaret's Bay, Kent.

    A slate and chalk sign saying dogs are welcome with greenery behind.