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Published January 1st 2020
Riverside Park in Canterbury
Westgate Gardens park can be found alongside the Great Stour river just footsteps away from the shops of Canterbury. The flower beds are fully stocked with plants that change with the season, so there's always something different to see.
Westgate Gardens by The Great Stour River with the iconic Westgate in the background
The gardens start just across the road from the iconic Westgate of Canterbury. This Medieval gate is one of the largest in the UK and it stands at the end of the High Street, welcoming visitors into the city.
Before entering the park, look down at the river from the bridge immediately beside Westgate. Lying just under the water is a piece of art named Alluvia by Jason de Caires Taylor. The two female figures can only just be seen within the reeds and they look like they are swimming. There's an information plaque on the park's fence describing the art.
Alluvia art figures under the water as seen from the Westgate Bridge
At this end of Westgate Gardens, the area is narrow but it opens up further along the path. There are a number of benches where you can sit and eat your lunch and watch the world go by. A couple of ancient arches and pieces of the Medieval wall make ideal backdrops for photographs.
The river in the gardens is shallow and crossed by a couple of old footbridges at regular intervals. Boats are punted along the river here, and it's a favourite spot for ducks.
This park is often busy, especially when the weather is pleasant. Keep following the river, however, and you leave the formal gardens and pass under the main ring road and into another parking area just outside the city. This area is less formal and leads to Toddlers Cove where there is a children's play area and an outdoor paddling pool. You can go for a long, circular walk in this part, and there is a carpark.