Franciscan Gardens, Canterbury

Home to the first Franciscan settlement in England

Discover the history of the gardens and how we’re using the past to inform our future.

Hidden in the center of historic Canterbury, the beautiful Franciscan Gardens is a heritage site that is home to the first Franciscan settlement in England which was established in 1224.

If you need to escape the busy high street of Canterbury, we offer a haven of peace, where you can walk in the footsteps of the first Franciscans in England. Explore the nature and wildlife of the monastic lands whilst taking in the 800 years of history.

Discover

The history

Explore

The gardens

In 1538, the Franciscans were forced to surrender their lands due to their refusal to accept Henry VIII’s reformation of religion. Between 1538 and the late nineteenth century the lands on which the friary stood, now known as the Greyfriars Estate, passed through a succession of private owners.

2024 Prices

ADULTS (aged 18+): £4.00

CHILDREN (aged 5 -17): FREE

max. 4 children per family. Offer not included with group bookings.
Children under 17 must be accompanied by an adult

CHILDREN (under 5): FREE

FAMILY (1 adult & up to 4 children): £5.00

ESSENTIAL CARER OR COMPanION: FREE

(when accompanying a disabled visitor)

Franciscan Gardens Loyalty Card

visit 3 times and get your 4th visit free

Opening Hours

JANUARY & FEBRUARY: CLOSED for regular maintenance

MARCH – August: 10AM – 5PM

SEPTEMBER – October: 10AM – 4PM

November – DECEMBER: 10AM – 3PM

Last entry to the gardens is 1 hour before closing time
Days and hours may change, especially during Winter months.
Please check our social media and this website for updates.

kn59
kn59
23 September 2023
Verified
Haven of peace in the City Centre. Discovered this absolute gem opposite the Old Weavers House on St Peters Street. Go through the well stocked gift shop and enter a haven of peace and beauty within the city. Also included in the price is the ancient Greyfriars Chapel and views of Eastbridge Hospital(dating from 1190) spanning the river Great Stour which serves to transport you back to another time. Well worth the admission of just a fiver. While there take time to sit and take in the atmosphere.
Peter E
Peter E
10 September 2023
Verified
An oasis in the city This is a natural and spiritual oasis from the bustle of the crowds in the High Street. An oasis for the soul. The remains of a Franciscan Friary and its garden that cross the Stour, clear enough to see fish, calm enough to hide and meditate in the garden or explore the chapel. Plenty of signs to say what they are doing and why. If you need to escape the rat race of the usual tourists sites of Canterbury, head here. A ticket gives you access for the opening hours.
Tim T
Tim T
14 August 2023
Verified
Franciscan Gardens Visiting Canterbury and really enjoyed the visit to the Franciscan Gardens. The place is so tranquil compared the number of people in the high street and Cathedral. I would really recommend it if you are visiting Canterbury
Michele P
Michele P
13 August 2023
Verified
A little bit of Heaven! It is easy to miss the entrance to this garden, which is surprisingly situated on St Peter’s high street amongst all the shops and restaurants. We received a very warm welcome from Sally and Megan, who also kindly helped us identify some plants that we loved. This garden is a little piece of heaven hidden amongst the busy city, and was much larger than expected with kitchen gardens, an orchard and wild flower meadows. There are good views of the canals of Canterbury, and you can also visit the charming chapel. You are welcome to return with your ticket and enjoy a picnic lunch in the garden. We were given a lovely gift of lavender from the garden and I am planning to make a lavender bag to remember the garden by. If you love gardens, do not miss this little gem.
John Baxter W
John Baxter W
11 July 2023
Verified
Peace in the centre of a busy city A lovely serene location alongside the River Stour. Plenty of seating and shade amongst hundreds of colourful blooms.
sheepygold
sheepygold
27 June 2023
Verified
Worth a visit but they are passed their best The entrance to these gardens is very small and it doesn't give you an idea of how substantial they are. They are set out along a river which is very picturesque. We spent the best part of an hour wandering around. They are a bit beyond their best unfortunately but they are charming and still worth a visit.
jeanniedDover_Kent
jeanniedDover_Kent
22 June 2023
Verified
An Oasis of Calm The gardens are set back just off the main street and the entrance is through a shop right next to another Franciscan site - Eastbridge Hospital. Amidst the hustle and bustle of Canterbury there is this remarkable oasis of calm with a lovely peaceful atmosphere. Staff in the shop are friendly and helpful. The garden itself is timeless - you can walk round and there are some seats if you just want to soak up the atmosphere as I did. The gardens are laid out as they would have been centuries ago which, in my opinion, adds charm.to an already delightful experience. The riverside walk is beautul and there is also a lovely wldflower meadow and a small area where the monks grew their herbs used for cooking and medication. Entering the little chapel is just like going back in time and a local Franciscan still conducts a weekly service on Wednesdays to which all are welcome. If you are visiting Canterbury don't miss out -make sure you have time to come here. .
Lambiguity
Lambiguity
18 June 2023
Verified
An oasis This is a delight retreat from the hustle and bustle of Canterbury. We missed the entrance the first time - it's through a shop so persist if you also miss it. It isn't big but it is beautiful and serene. The ticket lasts all day so you can pop out and come back ie with a picnic lunch perhaps.
Carole L
Carole L
7 June 2023
Verified
Peace personified! A wonderful retreat in the middle of the city, at a very reasonable price of £5 pp. It was really lovely to wonder around the grounds of such ancient history, especially in the Franciscan chapel. Herbs, shrubs and wild flowers are very thoughtfully planted in some very peaceful gardens beside the river and it was all an extremely welcome contrast to the busyness of elsewhere.
Cwp S
Cwp S
5 May 2023
Verified
Do more than just the Cathedral Many visitors go to Canterbury just for the cathedral, but if you were to take your time to explore, you will be pleasantly surprised. Tucked in the middle of the busy pedestrian High Street (next to the river Great Stour), you will find a pleasant Franciscan garden. It is a lovely place to unwind and for some reflection. The Greyfriars Chapel is beautifully maintained and a must.

This week in
the garden

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Bee
Eastbridge Hospital logo

The Franciscan Gardens along with the Greyfriars Chapel are part of the Eastbridge Hospital. Originally created to provide for pilgrims visiting the tomb of St Thomas Becket, for over 800 years the Eastbridge has given shelter and help to pilgrims, soldiers, local societies and schoolchildren.

We invite you to explore our ancient buildings, learn about our history and the part we play in our community today.