Great Picnic Locations in Canterbury

Kent is known as the Garden of England and so it is not surprising that there are some great picnic spots in Canterbury, which act as an oasis from the hustle and bustle of city life.


Westgate Gardens (CT1 2BQ)


Westgate gardens are a beautifully landscaped garden situated along the banks of the river Stour.

At the north end of the gardens is the historic gateway to the city which is one of the finest medieval gateways that survives in England. Built during the One Hundred Year’s War to defend Canterbury, it eventually became the city’s jail, and it stands majestically at the west end of the city. Today it contains a museum, some incredibly atmospheric escape rooms and a very popular restaurant/bar.




The gardens themselves are a tranquil part of the city, away from the main shopping area, and are full of horticultural interest with colourful bedding, shrubs and climbers. There are two memorials in the garden: the Burma Star Memorial, which remembers those who fell in the Burma campaign of 1941-45, and the Italy Star Memorial which was erected in memory of the 18,000 Commonwealth soldiers who lost their lives in the Italian campaign of 1943-45. Near the southern boundary of the park, you will find two parallel series of stones which mark the Roman road of Watling Street which was one of Britain’s longest arterial roads of the Roman period.



At the far end of the gardens, near a popular children’s playground called Toddler’s Cove (see below), you will find Tannery Field. A sculpture of a bull stands in the field made from old railway track which was originally used by workers to transport heavy trucks of waste from the tannery. The tannery, which closed down in 2002, produced leather for seating in the House of Lords, the interior trim of Rolls Royce cars and, allegedly, the famous chair from the TV quiz Mastermind.



Westgate Gardens are well worth a visit whilst you are in Canterbury and during the Summer months, visitors can enjoy a punt along the river Stour, which is a fabulous way to explore the city at leisure.



Toddler’s cove (CT2 8BG)


Toddler’s Cove is situated within Westgate Gardens and it is ideal for families looking for a child friendly area to enjoy. The Roman themed climbing frame and zipwire are the perfect location to wear out your little ones while you relax at the picnic tables and benches nearby. The park has its own toilet block and car park, and an ice cream van is often available in the warmer months for some yummy treats. Toddler’s Cove is also the starting point of the Great Stour Way cycle trail so can be included as a rest break for family cycle trips.


Dane John Gardens (CT1 2QX)


Dane John Gardens are a historic park set within the city walls, just a short walk from the bus station. The gardens contain a bandstand, fountain, well stocked refreshments kiosk and a huge South African memorial to commemorate those who died in the Boer war. Towering over the beautifully manicured lawns and colourful flowerbeds, is the Dane John Mound which formed an early defence of the city. Walk to the top of this mound via a circular pathway and you will be rewarded with stunning views of the city, with the cathedral visible in the distance.

Dane John gardens is a popular park all year round, but it is also home to a number of fantastic festivals such as Pride, and a wonderful music festival hosted by City Sound Project.


Grove Ferry Picnic site (CT3 4BP)


For an ideal picnic spot away from the city, but only 15 minutes’ drive from Canterbury, why not head to Grove Ferry picnic site. This park is situated next to the Great Stour river and the river is a haven of activity with boat tours and kayaks, canoes and paddleboards available for hire. Relax in the sun, watching the boats drift by, or perhaps hire one for yourself to add a little extra to your day. There is a play area for children, toilets and a superb pub called the Grove Ferry Inn if you fancy a little tipple. There are plenty of lovely walks nearby too, ranging from smaller circular walks to longer signposted trails such as the Stour Valley Walk or Saxon Shore Way. Stodmarsh National Nature Reserve is also very close if you want to look out for wildlife such as water voles and otters.



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