About Us & History

The Sunken Garden was laid out in a 1600s Italian Baroque style. A tiered pathway borders the lower garden area, which contains flower beds and sheltered seating.

With a coastal location, its chalky alkaline soil has both advantages and disadvantages for plants. While good drainage is an advantage, in long hot breezy Thanet summers, its soil dries out very quickly. Plants here in the garden have been selected to thrive in this unique coastal region. They must withstand regular northeasterly, salt-laden winds and the maritime microclimate.

Seaside Planting at the Sunken Garden

Established in 2018 the Sunken Garden Society is a volunteer community group formed to assist the local council in the management and revival of this historic garden. The society run regular taskdays and events to promote the garden. See our noticeboard for upcoming events, news and how to support us.

History Info


“Margate’s optimistic Mayor” Percy Osborne was the driving force behind the creation of the Sunken Garden; they were laid out by Sidney Legg, Parks Superintendent and completed in 1932. At this time of great economic depression 13 unemployed men worked on excavating, the garden removing over 20,000 cubic yards of chalk. How many buckets would that take ?


Limestone walls and sunken grass pools are key to the design with spectacular summer planting admired by all.


Wartime meant change for the garden; an Air Raid shelter existed. Original iron railings were removed for the war effort


Heyday of the garden with summer beding plants and manicured lawns. Londoners visited by paddlesteamer.


The garden stood out as an horticultural asset of Thanet. By the 1990s it had
fallen into disrepair and neglect.

The Sunken Garden Society aims to revive the garden for future generations, encouraging families to enjoy them as them as they have been for nearly 100 years.