Become a Friend of West Dean

West Dean College and Gardens is a special place with so much to discover.  Enjoy unlimited visits, get exclusive access to events and discounts, and support our work to inspire learning in arts and conservation.  Be part of the story!

Make the most of West Dean with unlimited visits for you and your loved ones. Become a member today or buy the perfect gift for someone special.

With acres of extraordinary pleasure grounds to explore and a changing vista throughout the seasons, there is so much at West Dean to inspire and entertain you all year round.

What’s more, by becoming a Friend, you’ll be supporting our mission to inspire learning in the arts and conservation for everyone.

Membership Benefits

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

There are two levels of membership - College and Garden - which enable you to enjoy the parts of West Dean that interest you most.

Click to see what's included

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.

Choose the membership that suits you

Select your package

Garden Friend

College Friend




Individual + guest*






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

**Two named individuals can enter together or separately.

There is no charge for children under 16 to enter the gardens except on some event days.


West Dean College or Garden Friend membership also makes the perfect gift for friends or loved ones to enjoy all year round. We can send the membership pack directly to your gift recipient or return it to you to give them directly. When you purchase gift membership online, please enter the recipient's details on the first page and complete your own details on the second page.

It has felt like a privilege to have become a Friend. 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.



We've suspended event bookings for now.  If you have booked a place on a Friend-only event which has to be cancelled due to coronavirus, you will be able to convert this to a donation in support of the Gardens or receive a full refund.  We will contact you individually.

To enhance your Friend membership, we are pleased to offer a programme of exclusive Friends-only events in 2020, giving you the opportunity to enjoy private access to the Gardens and College, to meet like-minded Friends and members of the Fundraising and Gardens Teams.

Friends with an individual membership may buy one ticket for each event, those with individual and joint memberships may buy two tickets for each event.



See the full list of Friend-only events here

Dawn Chorus Walk to the Arboretum
Friday 24 April, 5.00-6.30am, Gardens, Arboretum and College



Foxgloves Display Private View
Friday 5 June/Friday 19 June, 6.00-9.30pm (approximate finishing time)
Gardens and Gardens Restaurant
For the first time this year, there will be a spectacular display of over 2,000 foxgloves in the flower bed below the Pergola.  West Dean's Head Gardener, Tom Brown, will talk about choosing and growing the foxgloves, point out the unusal species and give tips on successful growing. There will be a glass of wine in the Gardens when you arrive, then the private view will be followed by a two-course set dinner with a glass of wine, in the Gardens Restaurant. The menu will be:

A choice of:

Fresh herb and lemon baked chicken
Roast salmon with rye and horseradish crumble and kale salsa verde
Vegetarian Wellington
All served with a selection of summer roast vegetables and potatoes
Crème Brûleé
Eton Mess
A glass of wine and coffee/tea

We will not know until nearer the time when the foxgloves will be at their best. Please hold the two dates and we will confirm the exact date for the event later on. When you book we will ask you for your menu choices in advance.

Tickets £30


Friends' Garden Party
Sunday 19 July, 6.00-8.00pm

Pimms, soft drinks and a hearty picnic by the Pergola, with music for a summer's evening from the Winterbourne Singers. In the great British spirit, we'll go ahead whatever the weather, so dress accordingly!

Tickets £30


West Dean Gardeners' Question Time
Friday 11 September, 6.00-8.00pm, in the Old Library and Oak Hall, West Dean College
West Dean's own version of the popular Radio Programme. On our panel will be West Dean Head Gardener, Tom Brown; Martin Duncan, Head Gardener, Arundel Castle; Benjamin Pope, Head Gardener, Trotton Place Private Estate, with Annie Guilfoyle, Creative Landscape, garden design consultancy and West Dean College Tutor, as the compère.

When you book your tickets, you will be invited to send us your gardening question. We will let you know if your question has been selected for the evening. Question Time will be followed by drinks and a buffet of small bowl food and mini desserts in the Oak Hall, with the opportunity to meet the panellists.

Tickets £25

Christmas Carols at West Dean
Thursday 10 December, two performances 2.30pm and 7.00pm
Old Library and Oak Hall, West Dean College
Look out for information about all our Christmas activities at West Dean later in the year.  Bookings for the Friend Carols and other events will open nearer the time.

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.

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