About the Franciscan Gardens

About us

The Franciscan Gardens story first began in the 13th century as the site of the Franciscan settlement in England. The friary featured a large garden, which provided the friars with space for contemplation and plants which could be used for healing and ministry.

The latest chapter started in 2000, when the Trustees of the Eastbridge Hospital, a small Almshouse charity in Canterbury, were offered an overgrown and derelict site beside the Great Stour River. Working with Sarah Morgan, a local award winning Landscape Designer, plans were created to restore and reinterpret the original garden creating a place of peace in the centre of Canterbury.

Now open for the first time as a heritage site welcoming visitors, income generated will allow for further development of the gardens as well as important conservation work such as the repair of the currently unusable Victorian vinery and fragile 16th century wall. As a small charity, we are in the process of developing a fundraising strategy which will help secure the future of this special site and enable it to be used and enjoyed by both visitors and the local community.

Our Vision

Our long-term vision for the site focuses on our key priorities of:

  • Conserving this important scheduled ancient monument
  • Caring for nature and wildlife
  • Offering space for relaxation and to benefit mental health
  • Becoming an integral part of the local community through engagement

If you are a local charity or service provider who might be interested in working with us, please contact Joshua Rhodes, Visitor Attraction Manager: joshua.rhodes@franciscangardens.org.uk