West Dean Gardens

Nestled at the foot of the South Downs, West Dean Gardens is one of the greatest restored gardens open to the public today.

Visitors can explore a wide range of features on a gentle walk around the grounds. From surreal trees to the restored walled garden, West Dean Gardens proudly presents its rich creative and social heritage.

A stop in our Visit England-endorsed restaurant and on-site shop will complete every visit.

Yours to explore

Creatively inspired by its rich heritage and setting, West Dean is brimming with features to enjoy.

An impressive collection of working Victorian Glasshouses, a 300 foot pergola, a spring garden and the occasional surreal fibreglass tree offer year-round interest to garden visitors.

Explore the gardens

BBC Radio Four’s Gardener’s Question Time

Festival-goers and gardening fans are in for a very special treat at Chilli Fiesta on Friday 5 August.

BBC Radio Four's Gardener's Question Time will be recorded in front of a studio audience at the event in Friday 5 August. Tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served only at Chilli Fiesta between 4-5pm and on the day from the Chilli Hub. The panel of gardening experts who will answer the audiences chilli-related questions include Christine Walkden, Matt Wilson, Bob Flowerdew, Bunny Guinness and Peter Gibbs, Chair. The show will be broadcast on BBC Radio Four on Friday 12 August at 3pm and Sunday 14 August at 2pm.

Head Gardeners win Custodian Award

Head Gardeners, Jim Buckland and Sarah Wain, have been awarded Horticulture Week Custodian of the Year for 25 Years of Glorious Gardening at West Dean Gardens.

Said Kate Lowe, editor, and chair of the Horticulture Week Custodian Awards judging panel: "Our judging panel was deeply impressed with the commitment, dedication and skill of Sarah Wain and Jim Buckland and all that they have achieved at West Dean Gardens. They have developed their team and the landscape raising the prominence of the gardens in the process to great heights."

In 1991, in the wake of the Great Storm of 1987, Jim and Sarah team began the transformation of the derelict Grade II* Listed site into award-winning gardens. It has taken a lifetime of dedication, commitment and hard work to restore the many heritage features within the 19th Century landscape, which includes a 300-foot Edwardian Pergola and 13 Victorian glasshouses in a walled kitchen garden. Today West Dean is considered one of the finest historic gardens in the UK.

25 Years of Glorious Gardening

This year we are marking 25 years since our head gardeners Jim Buckland and Sarah Wain first began work transforming West Dean into the award-winning gardens and pleasure grounds you enjoy today. Since they first arrived in 1991, husband and wife team Jim and Sarah have revitalised the 19th century landscape and overseen tremendous changes which have brought the gardens international respect from both professional horticulturalists and the visiting public.

The jewel in the crown of their Walled Garden has always been the magnificent set of Victorian Glasshouses which remain in constant use to this day. Our nectarine and late vinery - glasshouse 25 - is in desperate need of renovation. We need to raise £40,000 to complete a full restoration to bring it back to life and preserve it for 25 years and beyond and we need your support. Your gift will help ensure that we can start work this summer in time to reopen the glasshouse at a special celebration event later in the year. Thank you, your gift really will make a difference. Donate now

About the gardens

View a map of the gardens, meet the gardening team and find out what’s new in the garden this month. Learn about the history of the gardens and how they became what they are today.

Jewellery for sale at West Dean Gardens Shop

Restaurant and Shop

Our Gardens Restaurant at West Dean has a Visit England Quality Food & Drink status (2015). Relax and enjoy home cooked food overlooking the South Downs. Browse the extensive plant and gift range in the shop and treat yourself to something special.

What's new at West Dean Gardens?

Come and see the wonderful colours of summer, the Pergola is looking particularly fabulous! Chilli Fiesta is fast approaching with less than three weeks to go until the doors open. The chilli displays in the glasshouses are looking fantastic thanks to the hard work of Sarah Wain, our chilli expert.

Garden Gallery

Pink Magnolia in West Dean Gardens
Snakeshead Fritillarys flowers in West Dean Gardens
Sunken Garden at West Dean Gardens
Pink Magnolia and Pergola, West Dean Gardens
West Dean Gardens in April
The kitchen gardens, West Dean Gardens
Chionodoxa flowers at West Dean Gardens
West Dean Gardens in April
Arboretum and river at West Dean Gardens
Daffodils at West Dean Gardens

Try a garden-themed creative short course

Let the gardens be your inspiration on a short course at West Dean College. Learn practical gardening skills or garden design from the experts. Get behind the camera lens and discover how to get the best images of the garden, or join an art course and interpret the landscape on canvas.

Find out more about gardening courses and lectures or the wide range of creative courses available here.

For shorter garden talks please visit our gardens events page.

Be the first to know

Get unmissable event details, gardens news, inspiring courses and gardening tips delivered straight to your inbox.

Support West Dean Gardens

West Dean Gardens is part of a registered charity and its upkeep and care are only possible with the support of generous donors, friends and legacy gifts.

If you share our passion for the gardens and gardening excellence,
please find out how you can help support their upkeep.