Our gardener is available to give guided tours (booking essential) around the spacious gardens and there is even the opportunity to take a piece of your experience home with you from our small plant nursery where you are able to purchase plants grown within the Castle gardens including a variety of other gifts.
Recently the gardens have undergone a stunning transformation over an eighteen month period of restoration and redesign, supported by the National Lottery’s ‘Parks for People Fund’ and Canterbury City Council.
In the gardens you will come across a large variety of unique plants which have been grown here since the gardens were first laid out in the 1780’s, some plants came from trips abroad by the owners of the house, you will see stunning mature oak trees lining the Gate House drive, the Rose Garden is planted with roses and other climbers all with beautiful scents filling the air as you wander under the grand pagoda listening to the restored central fountain. On the lower terrace you will find borders filled with many varieties of plants, seating is provided throughout to allow you to rest and take in the stunning views and fresh sea air. Just a short walk from the main Castle is the Castle Tea Gardens, with lush herbaceous borders and terraced lawns, once again with stunning views out to sea across the Thames Estuary to the Isle of Sheppey and beyond to the Essex coastline.
If you have children who like adventure then take a visit to Dollar Dan’s Tankerton Cove, a play area for children up to the age of 8. You will follow the adventure taken by Dan through the poem on display, hunt for the treasure chest, climb the pirate ship and enjoy a new way of playing; the use of natural materials, surfaces of different textures, water, sand and level changes. Parental supervision is advisable for younger children.
Plants within the Castle Tea Gardens
The award winning Castle Tea Garden has a wide variety of native trees and hedgerow plants in a relatively small space. Located on the North Kent coast overlooking the Swale Estuary it can be a very exposed to the elements during the winter months but peaceful, tranquil, rich in colour and smells, used by all ages of the community during all months of the year but especially beautiful in the summer period. There are the more formal flower beds on the east side of the gardens, terraced sweeping borders containing perennials, annuals and herbaceous planting. The west side of the gardens contain a large grassed area edged with natural planting including trees and large shrubs.
The gardens attract a variety of birds with nests being built in the trees and ivy rich borders. There are wood piles and old rotting tree stumps which attract beetles and other insects in large numbers. Each border is edged with rocks, ideal homes for a variety of insects and animals. We also plant a wide variety of high nectar yielding plants to attract other insects into the gardens, in 2009 the Tea Gardens became home to hundreds of ‘Painted Lady’ butterflies, blown in on warm southerly winds from Europe. You will also see cheeky grey squirrels running around looking for food!