Dane John Gardens | Things to do | Visit Canterbury

Dane John Gardens | Things to do

Dane John Gardens

Dane John Gardens


Dane John Gardens is a historic park set within the city's walls. The name 'Dane John' comes from the Norman word ‘Donjon’ meaning a fortified mound. But the gardens' origins go back even further to the first century AD when it was a Roman cemetery and burial mound. The remains of which you can still see today.

In the 11th century, under the orders of William the Conqueror, it was converted into a motte-and-bailey castle (medieval fort) to form part of the city's Norman defences and remained mostly untouched for more than 700 years. Sometime between 1790 and 1803 the gardens weregifted to the city by Alderman Simmons and fine houses were built. 

During the Second World War, ammunition stores were dug into the city wall embankment in the gardens and the Victorian bandstand was sold for scrap metal.

Today it's the perfect escape from the bustling city. Take a stroll along city walls, wander down the 200 year old avenue of lime trees and climb to the top of the mound for excellent views over the city and the surrounding countryside from the top of the mound.

Within the gardens is a safe play area for children, a replica Victorian bandstand – a venue for traditional concerts throughout the summer – and 'The Font' a sculptural fountain which provides the focus for the shaded walk along the avenue of lime trees.

What you need to know

Watling Street, Canterbury, CT1 2QX