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 programme here.

Find out about other events at West Dean College.


Fri 28 April, 7pm, West Dean Gardens Restaurant - Whisky Tasting with Rosemary Moon

Come and enjoy a wee dram and learn about whiskies and whisky tasting. You'll get the chance to sample five whiskies alongside some seasonal foods that are perfect accompaniments.

£25 per person

Find out more or book now.


Tues 9 May, 6.30pm, West Dean Gardens Restaurant - An evening tour with our Head Gardeners

Join us for an 'after hours' walk around the gardens with Jim Buckland and Sarah Wain, whilst they share their hands-on experience.

£15 (includes canapes, appetizers and drinks). Book your place using this form.


Weds 10 May, 5.30pm, West Dean College - Artist's Talk by Becky Beasley

Hear how British artist Becky Beasley explores relationships between photography and objects, the body and interiority.

Find out more or book your free place now.


Weds 24 May, 5.30pm, West Dean College - Artist's Talk by Lothar Götz

Hear how Götz engages with architectural spaces to create his characteristic art defined by abstract geometric forms, colour fields, and an intense use of line.

Find out more or book your free place now.


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

International Tapestry Exhibition - Heallreaf 2

Visit West Dean between 10-22 April and view an international exhibition of contemporary woven tapestry from 32 artists. Each tapestry has been carefully selected to represent the work of weavers from all over the world. Join us for this rare opportunity to view the very best of this modern artform. Find out more.

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