Kingsnorth Gardens

Kingsnorth Gardens is an ornamental town park, a picturesque garden harking back to the 1920s within easy reach of Folkestone town centre


The gardens were opened in 1928 and are a mix of oriental, Italian and English garden styles. The gardens have a number of significant features including:

  • specimen trees including Acers with unique shrimp-pink spring foliage
  • ornamental ponds with fountains, water lilies, fish, frogs and newts
  • statues, including an oriental lantern, Sir Jeffrey Hudson and Pan
  • seasonal bedding displays
  • a rockery

The central feature is a magnificent weeping ash tree with seating beneath it. 

Accessing the gardens

There are four entrances:

  • near the college on Kingsnorth Gardens
  • Castle Hill Avenue
  • Shorncliffe Road
  • Cheriton Road

The nearest public toilets are a short walk away at Radnor Park on Cheriton Road.

Friends of Kingsnorth Gardens

We’ve set up a small volunteering group for those who enjoy gardening, being outdoors and meeting new people.

Friends of Kingsnorth Gardens will meet every Tuesday from 9.30am to 11.30am to help plant, weed, sweep and more in the much-loved park.

Fear not – this is not a substitute for the excellent work our grounds maintenance team does. It is a community project which has proven successful in other areas with reports of enhanced well-being by keeping active and enjoying the fresh air.

Come along if you’re interested in getting involved.

The history of the gardens

Origins of the site

The name 'Kingsnorth Gardens' can be attributed to John Kingsnorth (once a tenant farmer at Ingles Farm) excavated the former site of Kingsnorth Gardens to produce material for bricks for local building projects.

The kilns were near the railway arch that spans Cheriton Road.

Later, the site became allotments but then became a landfill site. 

Regeneration as possible site for a town hall

People started to complain to the town council, which began to think of ways of developing the area, perhaps as a site for a town hall.

The town hall idea proved too costly, so the idea of an ornamental garden started to emerge.

Development of the gardens

The Parks Committee received instructions to proceed with the creation of a garden.  Work was planned by Mr G E Roden, parks superintendent at the time.

The work began in 1926 with a workforce of unemployed men and a budget of £3,500.

The design was typical of the time, a blend of garden styles from Oriental to Italianate, suffused with English eccentricity.  The upper garden was to consist of a shelter and terrace overlooking the rose garden.

Pergolas were erected for the climbing roses, providing shaded walks where the sight and scent of the roses could be appreciated at eye level. Over 2000 roses were planted. The central garden consisted of lawns and formal ponds - two large and two small, the large two complete with fountains, waterlilies and goldfish. 

The centrepiece was the stunning weeping ash tree, which was transplanted from its' original location in Sandgate Road.

The lower garden was largely laid to lawn with a combination of formal flowerbeds and the stunning acers (Acer pseudoplatanus 'Brilliantissimum') with their unique shrimp-pink spring foliage.

There are various stone features, including an oriental lantern and statues of Sir Jeffrey Hudson and Pan located in the gardens.

The perimeter of the site was strengthened with planting of more ornamental trees and shrubs and herbaceous borders laid out around the outer path network. 500 groups of 12 plants formed the herbaceous borders, taller plants at the rear of the border and lower plants towards the front. 

The rockery which used to show cased alpines is now displaying low growing perennials and shrubs.

Due to disease and poor soil, the rose garden has been removed and there are exciting plans to re-design the area in a more modern, sustainable manner.

Today the shelter has been removed with only pergolas remaining. Local college students are working hard on recreating this area with an oriental theme in mind. It will once again become an area to sit, view, reflect and enjoy.

Kingsnorth Gardens Management Plan 2021-2025 (PDF, 944KB)

The statue of Sir Jeffery Hudson 

Short in stature, sure, but no less small in the tall tale he’s got to tell.

Though his presence raises a look of amused interest, his history is no April Fool’s. Living a challenging but colourful life given his height, Sir Jeff spent much of his time during the 1600s enduring japes at royal court and a bout of sword duelling and later enduring an unknown amount of time bound in slavery.

His story so impactful, it may have gone on to influence the works of George R. R. Martin and his creation of the medieval-inspired, fantasy series, ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’. Sir Jeffery’s links to Folkestone may be unclear, however his statue – which was found in a council-purchased garden in 1923 and later placed in Kingsnorth Gardens in 1928 – has been there (with a few breaks) at the gardens ever since.

As he continues to keep watch over the idyllic space and passers-by, why not give him a nod on your next visit through?