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 can enjoy the changing face of West Dean Gardens throughout the year during normal opening hours. (Please note that the gardens are closed from 23 December 2016 to 3 February 2017.)

Events - your chance to get behind-the-scenes. 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.

Entry to West Dean events - Garden Friends are provided with a complimentary event ticket that can be used on an event day of your choice. Entry fees will apply on all other event days. College Friends enjoy complimentary entry on all event days.


College Friends receive the following additional benefits:

Entry to West Dean events - College Friends are provided with complimentary entry to the Arts and Craft Festival (all 3 days) and Chilli Fiesta (all 3 days).

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.

Friend membership levels

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

Terms and conditions apply.

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 to you to give.

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

2017 Friend Events

Every year we organise a number of events that are your chance to get behind-the-scenes and enjoy West Dean all year round. Come along and discover more about the College and meet the people who look after West Dean house and the glorious gardens. We look forward to welcoming you.

Book online by clicking the links below or download the booking form and send it back to us. You can download a copy of the summer programme here.

Find out about other events at West Dean College.


Weds 21 June, 5.30pm, West Dean College - The Swan and The Elephant

A new lecture by Antony Penrose in collaboration with West Dean College Archives. United by a love of Surrealism and its commitment to peace, freedom and justice, Roland Penrose and Edward James made an unlikely collaboration. New material from our archive informs this story of their collaboration that lives on in the legacy of James at West Dean College and in Penrose's Elephant Trust.

Find out more or book your free place now.


Fri 30 June, 4-7pm, West Dean College - Preview of Critical Paths Art Show

West Dean Summer Show 2017 will showcase the work of twelve students graduating from the full-time Visual Arts programme. Exhibiting students will present work developed over a year of intensive study, providing visitors with the opportunity to view original pieces from a group of newly emerging artists. The show is open 1-7 July.

There is also the opportunity to see the show in London from 12-15 July.


25 & 26 Aug, from 6.30pm, West Dean Gardens Restaurant - Tasty Tapas

Choose a selection of your favourite tapas from our specially developed menu. Dine in the Gardens Restaurant or eat al fresco on the terrace.

£10 per person deposit required. Use this form to book your place.


Tues 5 September, 6.30pm, West Dean Gardens Restaurant - An evening tour of the garden with our Head Gardeners

Join us for an evening talk with Jim Buckland and Sarah Wain whilst they take you for an exclusive walk around the gardens.

£15 (includes canapes, appetizers and drinks). Use this form to book your place.


Thursday 14 December, 2.30pm, West Dean College - Carols by the Christmas Tree

Join us for our annual celebration in the Oak Hall with carols around the Christmas Tree led by a local choir. A festive afternoon by a roaring log fire, with mulled wine and mince pies to refresh you in the interval.

£10 - Open to all Friends

Book now


Thursday 14 December, 7pm, West Dean College - Carols by the Christmas Tree

Come sing with us this festive season at our annual Christmas carols. Join in with the choir as you sing in the Oak Hall by the Christmas Tree. During the interval you can enjoy mulled wine and mince pies.

£10 - Open to all Friends

Friend News

College Friends coffee morning

Join us on Friday 9 June 10-11am for your College Friends coffee morning. 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.

College Friends Walk and Draw - 22 June from 10.30-3.30pm

Join a guided walk and draw around the beautiful West Dean Gardens. On the walk you'll be introduced to observation techniques that bring a greater sense of awareness of the nature around you, and your own inner nature. Each exercise will ask you to record your response to the location and moment using all your senses through writing, drawing or a combination of the two. The cost is £10 and to book a place please email the Friends office or call on 01243 818256.

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 then contact David Warwick or call on 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