The Dover district has a fine collection of country houses and estates, many of them open to the public. On the outskirts of Dover the Kearsney Parks are the district's most popular public parks. They include Russell Gardens a Grade II Listed park owned by Dover District Council. It was originally designed for a private residence by Thomas Mawson, the leading Edwardian landscape architect. Many of Mawson’s trademark features can be seen to this day including a magnificent canal pond, boathouse and pergola bridges. Just across the road from Russell Gardens, Kearsney Abbey is a popular family picnic spot, with its open parkland, heritage features, and a Grade II Listed cafe.
Another famous team of Edwardian designers were behind the creation of The Salutation, a Grade I Listed manor house in Sandwich. Designed by the renowned architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens, the Secret Gardens were designed by Gertrude Jekyll. They were restored and open to the public in 2007. Another Grade I listed manor house is Goodnestone Park, built in 1704 and surrounded by 14 acres of parkland and formal gardens. The author, Jane Austen, was a regular visitor to Goodnestone Park when her brother lived on the estate.
Travelling east along the White Cliffs from Dover you arrive at the village of St Margaret’s. Here too there are strong connections with famous authors, with both Noel Coward and Ian Fleming among former residents. The Pines Garden at St Margaret’s is a sustainbale and organically managed 6-acre site with a sensory garden, lake, grass labyrinth and organic kitchen gardens. The gardens are also home to the Pines Calyx, and award winning conference, wedding and events venue, and the St Margaret’s Museum.