Since March 8th, people in England have been allowed to meet socially with one other person outside, and from next week (March 29th) the ‘rule of six’ will be put back in place for outdoor meetings, so here’s a list of the best spots in Canterbury to do just that.
1. Westgate Gardens
This list isn’t ranked, but if it was, this place would definitely be at the top. This beautiful area has loads of open space, perfect for a dog walk or a ball game. You can lay out a picnic blanket and have lunch al fresco, though there are benches spaced out across the gardens if you don’t fancy sitting on the floor.
The river runs through one side of the gardens. You can throw bread to the many ducks and occasional pair of swans that swim along the river, and you could even use a small boat/kayak/canoe/*insert other form of water transport*, if that’s your thing.
#Throwback to when Westgate Gardens looked blooming marvellous in the sun (only a couple of weeks ago!). Roll on sunnier days – who’s with us?? 🙌
📸 © @charlotteemilyevans 😍 pic.twitter.com/RyX5smZrEw
— Visit Canterbury (@VisitCanterbury) March 18, 2021
2. Toddlers’ Cove
This park is just under the bridge from Westgate Gardens, and it’s the ideal spot to let the kids run around. With a football pitch and play area (not pictured closely to protect children’s privacy), it’s great to take young members of the family who’ve been cooped up in lockdown, or catch up with fellow parents for a while without boring the little ones.
— Inspiring Kent (@InspiringKent) September 21, 2018
Toddlers’ Cove’s only downfall is the lack of benches – it’s a huge space, but there’s not much sitting room unless you’re good with being on the ground.
Rating: 10/10 with kids, 6/10 without
3. Greyfriars Gardens
This is a true hidden treasure – it’s quite hard to find but, when you do find it, you’ll never forget where it is. It’s a sweet little park with a few benches and just enough grass to play games or have a picnic without encroaching on others who’ve found this spot.
There’s not a lot to say about this one because it’s so small, but there’s nothing bad to say about it at all – less is more with this place. It being so hidden away makes it seem extra special, and you’ll definitely want to share it with someone special too.
4. Solly’s Orchard
Like Greyfriars Gardens, this next spot is little but lovely. Right next to the Marlowe Theatre, this park is perfect for relaxing in the fresh air before catching a live show, which will hopefully be possible again at the end of May. Despite its size, this place is a favourite for outdoor dates and meet-ups with friends, and before the pandemic it was very rare to see it almost empty.
5. Abbots Mill Garden
Abbots Mill Garden is yet another sweet spot in the city. It’s very public but fenced off at the same time, which makes it easy to find but no less special. It’s split into sections by a bridge across the river, which makes its structure a lot more dynamic than a standard park. It has a few benches but is mainly used just for a nice stroll rather than somewhere to stop for a while, so you’ll rarely be stuck for a place to sit if you wanted to.
6. Dane John Gardens
It wouldn’t be a Canterbury park review without Dane John! A favourite for hundreds of locals, Dane John Gardens is lined with benches so it’s perfect to sit and catch up with a friend in.
One side is connected to the city wall so has a high bank, great for sledging down in the winter and for rolling down in the summer if the mood strikes. It will be a great spot to relax in after a day of shopping too, once stores reopen in mid-April (hopefully).
Looking for inspiration for your daily local exercise? Canterbury’s Dane John Gardens is a historic park set within the city’s walls and has a Roman burial mound from the first century AD! 😲
— Visit Canterbury (@VisitCanterbury) November 6, 2020
The bandstand is an iconic landmark in the city, and the Roman burial mound at the far end has a great view of the whole gardens, as well as some of the city. Also, this space regularly plays host to Canterbury Pride, which will hopefully be able to take place once again in June after missing a year in 2020.
If you haven’t been to any of these parks, make the most of not being allowed to socialise indoors and get out there! These are some beautiful places which should definitely be taken advantage of if you live in the city.