Press Release: West Dean House Annual Opening

West Dean House, the former home of Edward James, supporter of the Surrealists and founder of West Dean College, is throwing open its doors to visitors on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 May 2015. The Grade II* Listed house is open to the public only once a year. New for this year, the Clerk of Works, Robin Sheehan, will talk about the rich history of the building exterior. Visitors can follow the house route map which will take them into the magnificent State Rooms to see some of the famous Surrealist art works and objects collected by Edward James throughout his lifetime.

"The house is only open once a year so it is a rather special weekend where people can experience the unique atmosphere at West Dean," says Sam Moore, Public Events Manager.

A series of talks over the weekend include; Clocks, the Beating Heart of Houses by Matthew Read, Clocks Conservator and West Dean College tutor and a talk by artist Rose Robson, whose unconventional approach to taxidermy has gained significant notice since graduating in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins. There will also be displays of Rose's work, and work by West Dean Visual Arts students.

Entrance to the House includes access to the gardens which feature the award-winning Sunken Garden, the Edwardian Pergola, Kitchen and Walled Gardens, Arboretum and Spring, Wild and Woodland Garden. The West Dean Vintage Tea Tent will be offering light refreshments. Annual House Opening: Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 May, Opening Times: 10am to 5pm (last ticket 4pm).

Early Bird prices

£8.25 Adult (gate price of £9 Adult). Children go FREE.

Book online at:

Please note: West Dean House has limited access for peopple with mobility requirements.


Notes to editors

  • West Dean College is part of The Edward James Foundation which also comprises West Dean Gardens, West Dean Estate and the West Dean Tapestry Studio. Charity No. 1126084.
  • Rose Robson teaches Taxidermy for beginners (12 - 14 June) at West Dean College. Visit
  • The award winning Gardens are open from 1 February - 20 December with special event days throughout the year; Annual House Opening (9 & 10 May), Design and Craft Fair (19 - 21 June), 20th Anniversary Chilli Fiesta (7 - 9 August), Half Term Halloween activities (26 - 31 October) and Father Christmas visits (12 & 13 and 19 & 20 December).
  • All photography is free to use for editorial purposes.
  • Any journalist interested in visiting the Gardens, attending a course or an event for news or review purposes or filming at West Dean should contact the Media Relations Team.
  • West Dean College is situated on the A286, six miles north of Chichester and within easy access of Portsmouth, Guildford, Brighton and London.

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West Dean Grade II Listed House
West Dean Grade II Listed House
West Dean House State Dining Room circa 1900
West Dean House State Dining Room circa 1900
West Dean House State Dining Room
West Dean House State Dining Room

Media contact information

For media accreditation or high-resolution digital images, please contact:

Irene Caswell, Senior Media Relations Officer +44 (0)1243 818301


West Dean College and Gardens, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 OQZ

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West Dean College and Gardens are part of a registered charity and relies on the support of generous donors, friends, legacies to help us deliver world-class education in conservation and the creative arts and maintain our award-winning gardens.

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