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Life at West Dean

The College is surrounded by award-winning gardens and is an integral part of the local community on a 6,400 acre estate.


West Dean – The Edward James Foundation is well known for its commitment to excellence in the field of education through its short course and full-time programmes. The Foundation is equally well known for the exceptional beauty and interest and high standards of presentation of the 100 acres of gardens, grounds and arboretum surrounding the College that make up the West Dean Gardens. Positioned within the South Downs National Park the gardens have a head start in the beauty stakes enjoying a magnificent ‘borrowed landscape’ of the surrounding Lavant Valley and the rolling Downs beyond.

In the extensive grounds, rustic summerhouses, rare trees and shrubs, ornamental borders and a naturalistically-planted pond contrast with the ordered rows of vegetables and over 200 varieties of carefully trained fruit trees in the walled garden.

The grounds provide an opportunity for artistic inspiration and quiet contemplation. The 2 ½ mile circular walk through the 49-acre St Roche’s arboretum offers breathtaking views of the estate, the College and its parkland setting.

Talks, Concerts and Exhibitions are programmed throughout the year.

There is a small outdoor swimming pool (May to October) and students have access to tennis courts and a croquet lawn.


Situated 65 miles south of London in West Sussex with convenient rail and road links, the College’s close proximity to Gatwick airport, cross-channel ports and the Channel Tunnel, means that European cities are just a few hours away. There are local bus services and the nearest train station is 6 miles away in Chichester.

Chichester has a vibrant Cultural and Sporting scene. Go to www.visitchichester.org for more information.


The culture at West Dean is international with approximately half of our students coming from overseas and from many different countries. The College and its important archive and decorative art collection are housed in an exceptional early 19th century flint country house, an extraordinary range of artefacts, providing primary source material for project work. Retaining the important State Rooms for meetings and student seminars, parts of the house have been specially converted into purpose-built studios and workshops.The College promotes diversity and inter-disciplinary, encouraging all members to take an interest in the work of their peers.

For the duration of your programme, subject to availability, you will have the opportunity to live in purpose-built or converted residential accommodation on campus at West Dean.

There is a bar to relax in, the adjacent 120 seater restaurant with courtyard terrace serving quality, diverse, seasonal made-on-the-premises hot, cold and vegetarian dishes. Both the College Library and Oak Hall have wireless internet access. There is also a Computer Suite and an Art Shop.

Students are drawn to the long opening hours of the workshops seven days a week; the interaction with other disciplines; the ability to save money by lack of distraction due to the country location over a city setting and the benefit from being surrounded by creative people.

How to Find Us

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West Dean College and Gardens are situated in South East England, six miles north of the historic city of Chichester and 12 miles from the south coast.

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