Overview

Visit West Dean Gardens (part of West Dean College of Arts and Conservation) in West Sussex and escape to a beautifully rejuvenated historic garden rich in creative and social heritage. Explore the extensive grounds on a gentle walk or venture further to the unique arboretum.

Features include the 13 restored Victorian Glasshouses housing orchids, fuchsias, figs, vines, melons and chillies. See the Walled Kitchen Garden of classic Victorian design, 100m-long Edwardian Pergola designed by Harold Peto, the naturalistic Spring Garden, the award-winning Sunken Garden and the orchards. The circular 2½ mile arboretum walk set in 50 acres of beautiful parkland offers stunning views of the South Downs and a route passing Edward James’ grave.
 

 


Today
Today’s opening hours

Open daily throughout the year (see website for Christmas period).

10.30am (9am weekends and Bank Holidays) to 4pm (5pm March to October), plus evenings, Thursdays to Saturdays, May to August.

Opening
Opening

2020

Open daily throughout the year (see website for Christmas period).

10.30am (9am weekends and Bank Holidays) to 4pm (5pm March to October), plus evenings, Thurdays to Saturdays, May to August.

Not free to visit on the following dates: 8th, 9th, 15th, 16th, 29th, 30th August.

Find Us
Find us

West Dean Gardens is nestled at the foot of the South Downs just 6 miles north of Chichester towards Midhurst. The entrance to the
Gardens is clearly signposted off the A286.

For those travelling by public transport, Chichester is the nearest rail station. .

Taxi

Dunnaways Taxis 01243 782403

Admission
Admission

Historic Houses members visit for free.

Ticket prices vary depending on the season. For more information, please see our website.

More admission details

Accessibility
Accessibility
  • Guide dogs welcome
  • Accessible toilets
  • Accessible parking
  • Access statement available
Group Visits
Group Visits

We welcome group bookings of 15+ people.

Please contact Celia Disckinson for more information.

01243 818210

gardens@westdean.org.uk

Please check the website for further information, admission times and details for our special events

Visit website

Weddings

Celebrate your wedding day in style at West Dean Gardens. Marquee wedding receptions for up to 200 guests are held on the picnic lawn or front lawn. The historic West Dean House makes an impressive backdrop and the features of the Gardens and beautiful surroundings create a perfect venue set in picturesque South Downs countryside.

The experienced wedding team, personal service and flexibility with suppliers means wedding receptions can be tailor-made, creative and truly reflect the couple celebrating. Couples will enjoy the exclusive nature of West Dean, making this romantic venue even more special.

 

Facilities

  • Suppliers list
  • Accessible parking
  • Bridal suite
  • Guest parking

Accommodation

Stay in this characterful period house, home to West Dean College of Arts and Conservation, in single, twin or double rooms. Bedrooms are mostly traditional in style with a smaller number of rooms decorated with a contemporary edge. Rooms are in the house or the Old Vicarage, a 19th century house just behind the College.

If you're feeling adventurous, you can take some time out to explore St Roche's Arboretum and its 50 acres with hidden glades and impressive views. Swim in our outdoor heated swimming pool (open May to Sept) or enjoy a game of tennis or croquet or bowls on the lawn, overlooking the South Downs.

Relax in this unique and creative environment, set in 6,400 acres of countryside, West Dean College offers you a retreat location with stunning views and the tranquil West Dean Gardens which you can explore during your stay.

 


Corporate Hire

Corporate events

West Dean House offers you a unique and creative venue to host a variety of events, from conferences or business meetings to private dinners or events. This 19th century flint mansion, near Chichester in West Sussex, boasts an intriguing artistic heritage and stunning State Rooms.

Facilities

  • Wifi
  • Plentiful parking
  • Dinner
  • Refreshments
  • Overnight accommodation
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Accessible toilets
  • Team building activities
  • Projector and screen
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch

Today
Today’s opening hours

Open daily throughout the year (see website for Christmas period).

10.30am (9am weekends and Bank Holidays) to 4pm (5pm March to October), plus evenings, Thursdays to Saturdays, May to August.

Opening
Opening

2020

Open daily throughout the year (see website for Christmas period).

10.30am (9am weekends and Bank Holidays) to 4pm (5pm March to October), plus evenings, Thurdays to Saturdays, May to August.

Not free to visit on the following dates: 8th, 9th, 15th, 16th, 29th, 30th August.

Find Us
Find us

West Dean Gardens is nestled at the foot of the South Downs just 6 miles north of Chichester towards Midhurst. The entrance to the
Gardens is clearly signposted off the A286.

For those travelling by public transport, Chichester is the nearest rail station. .

Taxi

Dunnaways Taxis 01243 782403

Admission
Admission

Historic Houses members visit for free.

Ticket prices vary depending on the season. For more information, please see our website.

More admission details

Accessibility
Accessibility
  • Guide dogs welcome
  • Accessible toilets
  • Accessible parking
  • Access statement available
Group Visits
Group Visits

We welcome group bookings of 15+ people.

Please contact Celia Disckinson for more information.

01243 818210

gardens@westdean.org.uk

Other opening

Restaurant and Gift Shop

The West Dean Gardens Restaurant and Gift Shop overlooks the beautiful Lavant valley and West Dean park. The River Lavant runs alongside.

Built in the local brick and flint, the licensed restaurant is light and airy with a large garden terrace where visitors can enjoy some refreshments whilst admiring the views.

The adjoining shop is the perfect place to pick up a gift or a plant for your garden.

You can use the restaurant and shop without paying Gardens entry except on our busy event weekends when the shop and restaurant will only be open to event visitors.

The shop, restaurant and majority of the gardens are accessible to wheelchair users. Please contact us in advance to make the most of your visit.

Free parking for all visitors.

Get directions to West Dean Gardens

Gardener's Cottage

Formerly the residence of West Dean Gardens' head gardeners, Gardener's Cottage is now open to enjoy teas, coffees and light snacks. Relax inside and admire the original features or enjoy your refreshments outside in the impecccable garden and on the terrace.
Located next to the Gardens car park.
Currently closed for the Winter. Open Fridays-Sundays from 20 March 2020.

Gift Shop

The Gardens shop has an imaginative range of gifts including jewellery, stationery, housewares, gardening products and gifts for children at very reasonable prices. Seasonal stock is regularly updated, it's well worth a regular visit.

If you're looking for gift inspiration, make sure you visit. There's a great selection of present ideas for all ages and interests.


West Dean Gardens's history and features

There have been gardens on this site since 1622, when the original manor house was built by James Lewkenor. In 1804, when the current house was built, the gardens were enlarged and park was laid out, and the kitchen garden was moved to its present position and enclosed by walls.

Many of the existing mature beeches, limes, horse chestnuts, planes and cedars date from this period and the present layout owes much to their planting. In 1818, the garden was extended to the west and flint walls were added.

Frederick Bower, who acquired the Estate in 1871, continued to develop the gardens and opened them annually to the public. Twenty years later William James purchased the Estate and made many improvements to the garden, including rebuilding and extending the range of glasshouses in the walled kitchen garden, the construction of the magnificent pergola in the North Lawn, plus a considerable amount of planting and refurbishment, both in the grounds and the arboretum.

On his father's death in 1912, Edward James inherited the estate. Best known for his patronage of artists including Dalí, Magritte, Tchelitchew, Fini and Carrington, in 1964 he established the Edward James Foundation, a charitable educational trust. Edward died in 1984 and is buried in St. Roche's Arboretum.

The transformation of the gardens began after the storm of 1987. Since then, Gardens Manager Jim Buckland and Gardens Supervisor Sarah Wain have carried out a bold re-development programme designed to bring the nineteenth century gardens into the twenty-first century.

Visitors can come and see our 25 Years of Glorious Gardening photo exhibition, currently on display in the Mushroom Shed. Free entry with a ticket to the gardens (see current prices). Learn more about the West Dean Gardens photo exhibition.


Things to See

Upcoming events

10 - 13 Apr 2020

Easter at West Dean Gardens

Bring family and friends to West Dean Gardens near Chichester during the Easter holidays and follow one of our Easter themed trails for a chocolate prize upon completion of the trail.

Explore the Gardens and see the spring flowers, enjoy Easter themed food and refreshments at the Gardens Restaurant (breakfasts available from 9am at weekends and Bank Holidays), Gardeners Cottage and the Picnic Lawn. 

Child ticket £7.50
Adult ticket £10 (seasonal garden entry). 

Dogs on leads are welcome and there is free parking in the Gardens car park.  

For a full list of activites and more information please visit our website.