Nestled in the Alkham Valley, just 2.5 miles from Dover, are the popular Kearsney Parks - Kearsney Abbey and Russell Gardens.
Once part of grand country house estates, they now are beautiful open spaces for the public to enjoy. The River Dour flows through the parks, and the ornamental lakes are ideal for swans, moorhens, ducks and other wildlife. It's a wonderfully safe place for children to play - with dedicated children's play areas. Often along the banks you'll see artists at work, and model boat enthusiasts catching the breeze.
It's also known locally as the perfect place for dogs and their owners.
Kearsney Parks were restored in 2020 with a £3m investment from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and National Lottery Community Fund. Renovated and revamped to offer a wonderful and well-resourced outdoor space for everyone, improvements include refurbishments to the café, an enhanced children’s play area and a Changing Places facility.
The history of the site can be traced back to the Norman Conquest. The name is a little misleading - you won't find a religious building, instead you will find the remains of a former country house and estate. Sections of the walls, arches, gate piers and bridges are Grade ll listed. The manor house was demolished in 1951 but the billiards room remains. This has been converted into a café offering ice creams, drinks and tasty lunches. The decorative ceiling, wooden panels and stained glass are well-worth seeing.
Russell Garden is Grade ll listed in the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. There is a magnificent 170m long canal pond and Palladian-style pergola bridges and boathouse pavilion. There are also tennis courts and a children's play area.
The parks are easy to get to and offer free parking. There are public toilets at Kearsney Abbey.