Festival

Chilli Fiesta

Early bird rate (20% discount)

Join the party at the UK's biggest chilli festival. Dance to live Latin music, watch cookery and gardening demonstrations and taste delicious chilli foods 'til your tongue sizzles. Make the most of the family-friendly festival atmosphere and camp onsite with great facilities.

Included in The Telegraph's top 20 UK food festivals for 2018

"Live Latin bands and dance demos, plus gardening workshops and a vintage fair mean there's plenty of fun even if your tastes are more korma than Demon Red."

Book today

What's on?

  • Live music including DJs and Latin bands
  • Latin dance demonstrations and workshops with professional dancers
  • Over 140 shopping stalls selling chilli gifts, plants seeds and produce
  • Five different bars to find refreshments
  • Vintage funfair
  • Workshops, music and dance
  • Children's activities
  • Camping
  • Explore the gardens
  • Outdoor cinema with six different films showing during the weekend
  • Fireworks (Saturday night)

Live music and dance

Live music

Music on the front lawn stage plays from 11am until 9pm Friday, from 10.30am to 9.30pm Saturday and from 11am until 7.30pm on Sunday. Music continues in the Los Amigos Bar until 10.30pm Saturday and 9pm Sunday.

Music for 2018 includes The Fontanas, The Wayfarers, Alessandro, and Son Yambu on the Friday. Enjoy Latin jazz with the Manana Collective, plus Laura Nixon, Kalison and The Jive Aces on the Saturday. On the Sunday hear Viva Santana, Alex Clifton, and Dawn Gracie. We also welcome back Chilli Fiesta favourites Big Noise Samba Band who will be playing each day.

VIEW THE LIVE MUSIC AND DANCE PROGRAMME

Dance

Dance acts incude Strictly Come Dancing's Katya and Neil Jones, who will be performing on Sunday 12 August. Pro-Latin dancers, Ksenia and James will be performing on Friday and Saturday. Learn some new moves in our dance workshops with Nasira Belly Dance on all three days.

VIEW THE NORTH LAWN WORKSHOPS AND MUSIC PROGRAMME

Cookery demonstrations

See top chefs demonstrating their culinary expertise with creative chilli based recipes. Giles Thompson, chef/owner from The Earl of March will be hosting a fantastic line-up in the Cookery Theatre including Jack Stein, Jackie Kearney, Tim Anderson, Jean de Rien (the Singing Chef), Anthony O'Shaughnessy and Sweta Choudhury from Masterchef 2018 and West Dean College's very own Head Chef, Dan Frowen. Using ingredients from all over the world and ideas you can easily recreate at home, they're guaranteed to make your mouth water.

VIEW COOKERY THEATRE PROGRAMME

Gardening talks and tours

Hear from a variety of experts with gardening talks and demonstrations in the Gardening Theatre. Mark Diacono will be hosting the Gardening Theatre this year and will be joined by writer and journalist Lia Leendertz, Joy Michaud, Edible Ornaments and Sarah Wain, West Dean Gardens Supervisor and resident chilli expert. Don't miss out on the rare opportunity of a guided tour of the Walled Gardens and discussion about growing your own chillies. See the 150 chillies on display in the Glasshouses and browse the plant sale at the Gardens Shop for chilli plants to take home and grow (and eat!) for yourself.

VIEW THE GARDENING THEATRE PROGRAMME

Shopping, Eating and Drinking

Browse over 140 stalls, offering a variety of quirky gifts as well as chilli foods, chilli plants, seeds and produce. The West Dean Gardens gift shop is also open each day.

All shopping stalls close at 6pm each day, but a range food and drink stalls stay open into the evening while the entertainment continues.

Sample spicy and exotic food from a selection of food stalls to keep you going throughout the day. There will be plenty of options for those less keen on the hot stuff and local ice cream if you need a little help cooling down! Hot and cold drinks include speciality coffees, tea, hot chocolate, fresh fruit smoothies and more.

The Gardens Restaurant

Choose from a variety of freshly prepared meals, snacks and cakes and sit either indoors or outside on the terrace. Open until 6pm daily.

Bars

Enjoy a selection of beers, ales and wines, as well as soft drinks at one of our onsite bars located close to the main stage. Bars this year include:

  • Champagne bar
  • Cocktail bar
  • Potting shed (head here for gins and matching tonics)
  • Los Amigos
  • Craft cider and ales

Chilli Plant Sales

We will have a variety of chilli plants from Loco to Demon Red on sale at the Gardens Shop, and look out for the chilli plant sale carts.

Children's activities

There's plenty to keep children entertained at Chilli Fiesta including:

  • NEW for 2018: Juggling and circus skills with Dan the Hat workshop
  • NEW for 2018: Drop-in art centre
  • Outdoor cinema with popular family films each day
  • Vintage funfair inc. smaller childrens' rides e.g mini Austin cars and chair-o-planes
  • Face painting
  • Punch and Judy shows

Camping

Wake up in the beautiful grounds of West Dean and make a weekend or a mini break of it. Full camping facilities are available throughout the Chilli Fiesta weekend (including great showers and toilets and 24 hour shop). A limited number of pitches are available so early booking is essential, tickets are available for the full weekend (three nights) or for one night (Saturday). This year we have acoustic campsite entertainment.

"We came last year and enjoyed it so much, we said let's do it properly and camp next year."

"A weekend away with lots of chillies and dancing, lots of fun!"

Pick your camping zone (on the day you arrive):

  • Jalapeno - most popular general camping area, close to the event arena helping to enhance the festival atmosphere of the weekend.
  • Pimento - quiet camping area away from the main arena ideal for a good night's sleep.
  • Bell - family friendly close to the toilets and showers, ideal for the earlier to bed but up bright and early.

In order to responsibly preserve our beautiful parkland, we have now reduced the capacity of caravan and campervan pitches and are therefore unable to offer these to the public for this year's Chilli Fiesta.

Chilli Fiesta and Camping FAQs

Chilli Fiesta FAQs

Here are a few of our top tips and FAQs:

Q. Is it possible to pay on the gate?
A. It is possible to pay on the gate for day tickets but campers need to buy tickets in advance.

Q. Do I get tickets sent to me?
A. No, Chilli Fiesta tickets are now issued electronically and will be emailed to you. Print off the email confirmation which should show a reference number and bring it with you on the day.

Q. Can I just show you the e-ticket on my phone?
A. Yes. Please ensure your booking reference number is on show.

Q. What age range is a child ticket?
A. Children age 4 and under enjoy free entry, 5 -15 requires a child ticket. Children are to be accompanied by a paying adult. 16+ require an adult ticket.

Q. What camping facilities are there at Chilli Fiesta?
A. The campsite is complete with showers, flushing toilets, drinking water and a small shop for basic amenities. Showers will operate 24hrs a day. The campsite crew will be on site throughout.

Q. Can I get to the Chilli Fiesta by Bus?
A. By bus: the number 60 bus runs from Midhurst to Chichester bus station (opposite Chichester railway station) every half hour Monday - Saturday. On Sundays buses are every hour. For an up-to-date timetable visit the Stagecoach website. You can find our location on Google maps.

Read the full list of FAQs here

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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.