Friends of West Dean

West Dean College and Gardens is a special place with so much to discover. Every penny raised thanks to your Friend membership supports the upkeep and development of West Dean College and Gardens for present and future students and visitors.

If you share our love for the arts and conservation or have a passion for the gardens then become a Friend of West Dean and be part of our story.

You can view the Terms and Conditions for College Friend membership and Garden Friend membership

Complete your application form and become a Friend.

Become a Friend of West Dean College and Gardens

Friends go behind-the-scenes at West Dean and discover more.

The two levels of membership (College and Garden) enable you to enjoy the parts of West Dean that interest you most.

The following benefits are included in your Friend membership:

Complimentary entry - all Friends enjoy the changing face of West Dean Gardens throughout the year during normal opening hours, every day except 23-26 December and 1 January.

Events - your chance to discover more about the College and meet the people who look after West Dean House and the glorious Gardens that you enjoy year round.  An additional charge may apply and certain events are restricted to College Friends only.

Regular Newsletters - packed full of information to help you make the most of your membership, keep informed and right up to date with all the latest news and events.

Relax and have a brew! - After a long walk around the gardens, perhaps it's time for a cream tea? You can enjoy a 10% discount in the Gardens Restaurant (excluding alcohol and special menus/events) - just show your Friend membership card at the till.


College Friends receive the following additional benefits:

Make use of the College Craft Shop, Dining Room and Steward's Bar - Connect with like-minded Friends and become part of our artistic community. Stock-up with supplies from the craft shop, have a drink in the bar or dine with us in the College Dining Room. Advance booking is essential.

Monthly Coffee Morning - Join us on the second Friday of each month from 10.30am for a cup of coffee and to meet other College Friends. We will also be joined by a guest speaker every other month - a great opportunity for you to hear from the people who work hard to protect the historic house, its collection and grounds. There's no need to book, just show your College Friend membership card and sign-in at the College reception. We look forward to seeing you.

Friend membership levels

Select your package Garden Friend College Friend
Individual £36 £68
Individual + guest* £66 £124
Joint (2 people)** £66 £124

*Guest must be accompanied by the card-holding Friend.

**Two named individuals can enter together or separately.

There is no charge for children to enter the gardens except on some event days.


Choose the level and type of Friend membership that suits you. Download an application form.

Terms and conditions apply.

It has felt like a privilege to have joined the Friends scheme. The monthly coffee mornings have been a wonderful opening to the living history of the Edward James Foundation. The warm encouragement to participate with ideas of our own gives a sense that this is not simply coffee & chat! I look forward to attending more of the special evenings arranged at the College.

VIVIENNE GIACOBINO-SIMON, College Friend

Gift membership

Give a Gift of Friend Membership

West Dean College or Garden Friend membership for an individual or a couple, is the perfect gift for a friend or loved one to enjoy all year round. We can send the membership pack directly to the person of your choice or return it to you to give them directly.

Download your application form and return the completed form with your preferred options.

'West Dean College makes a significant contribution to the education of the artists, writers and conservators of the future and to ensuring that their important work is valued and understood.'

Francine Norris, Director of Education, West Dean College

Friends Events

Thank you for being a Friend of West Dean. We appreciate your support very much. Through your membership you support the development of our education programmes which continue to nurture, develop and inspire artists, makers and conservators and you help us to maintain and preserve our beautiful gardens.

Forthcoming Friend-only events

We are planning a series of Friends-only exclusive events for 2020.  The first date for this year will be:

Rose Pruning Workshop on Wednesday 12 February 2020.   We will meet in the Gardens Restaurant at 10.30am for hot drinks and cakes, followed by the workshop at the Pergola from 11.15am to 12.15pm.  

Anne Kelly, the pruning Queen at West Dean, will talk to us about all types of rose pruning and demonstrate how to prune shrub and rambling roses on the Pergola.  The Pergola is planted with roses, honeysuckle, clematis, wisteria and other shrubs, which Anne very carefully prunes and ties. During the growing season, new growth is tied in weekly. In the winter all the plants are detached, pruned and retied, that is two climbers per column, 62 columns, roughly a month’s work, so she’s got a lot of pruning experience and expertise!   There will be the opportunity for pruning questions and answers too.

Tickets are £15 including refreshments.   

THIS EVENT IS NOW SOLD OUT

We will announce the other events and dates for 2020 in late January

Book here

Friend News

College Friends Coffee Morning

Join us on the second Friday of each month from 10.30am for a cup of coffee and to meet other College Friends. We will also be joined by a guest speaker every other month - a great opportunity for you to hear from the people who work hard to protect the historic house, its collection and grounds. There's no need to book, just show your College Friend membership card and sign-in at the College reception. We look forward to seeing you.

Friends of  West Dean Writers' Circle

Are you a writer? Would you like to share ideas with others who have work in progress? Then why not join this informal group of College Friends? They meet once a month to discuss ideas, critique writing and share tips and inspiration.

If you're a College Friend and would like more information on the Writers' Circle contact David Warwick or call 01243 778026.

Contact the Friends Team

The Friends office is open Monday to Friday 9.00am - 5.00pm.

You can contact us via email or telephone us on 01243 818256 and we shall be happy to help.

Help preserve our future

West Dean is 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.

Find out how you can help support us