West Dean Arts and Craft Festival

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Live arts and craft at the UK's most unique arts destination.

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation has inspired generations of artists, makers, designers and writers through the legacy of founder, artist and Surrealist patron Edward James, 'the greatest patron of art of the early 20th century' (BBC Arts Online).

Buy high quality crafts and prints, watch demonstrations and get hands-on in creative workshops and drop-in sessions. Discover West Dean House and view installations from current students and emerging artists alongside the impressive collection of surrealist furniture and paintings.

What's on?

  • Live demonstrations
  • Buy quality arts and craft
  • A rare opportunity to explore inside historic West Dean House and view material from the Collection
  • Art installations
  • Hands-on workshops
  • Drop-in hands-on Craft Hut Trail round the Gardens
  • Gardens entry included and tours of Garden sculptures
  • Visit the West Dean Craft Shop (normally only open to students)


Try your hand at a new skill and make something to treasure under the guidance of one of our expert tutors.

All workshops are 1.5 hours long and all materials are included in the workshop price. Choose from painting, pottery, printmaking and many more, and discover a new passion.

View the hands-on workshops timetable

View the children's workshops timetable


Chat to a variety of skilled craftspeople about their work and techniques and buy their handmade creations. Watch and enjoy demonstrations in tapestry weaving, blacksmithing, glass design, paper cutting, machine embroidery and more.

Exhibitors and Demonstrators Gallery

Browse and buy quality arts and crafts from over 50 handpicked makers and designers. You will find one-off artworks and homeware items to furnish your living space, individual jewellery and clothing to suit your style and plenty of unique gift ideas.

View the exhibitors and demonstrators gallery

If you are interested in exhibiting or demonstrating, please contact events@westdean.org.uk

House Opening

Follow a self-guided route through the Edwardian house and take in the historic state rooms, only open to visitors once a year. Discover the secrets of the Edward James Archive and Collection, including surrealist furniture and paintings by Pavel Tchelitchew and Leonor Fini. Younger visitors will enjoy spotting the lobsters hidden throughout the house.

Alongside the collection view installations from college students; 'Vestiges' a sculpture by MFA student Chérie Lubbock, engages with the preservation of the legacy of founder Edward James through the creation of the Edward James Archive. Installations also include 'Faust Stoff' a textile piece by Graduate Diploma Visual Arts student Maud Boothby inspired by a motif of a clenched fist first used by Edward James as the emblem for his publishing imprint The James Press, and 'A Conversation in Steel' a performance piece by MFA student Askild Winkelmann inspired by West Dean's links with dance and performance in the 1900s - 1930s.

Please note: Last entry to the house is 4.30pm. West Dean House is a historic house with several changes in floor level. For visitors with restricted mobility only the ground floor is accessible for wheelchair users; this includes the historic state rooms and workshops. Please contact us for more information.

The Craft Hut trail

Drop in to the huts and follies throughout the gardens and try out a range of crafts from jewellery making to book making and felt making to monoprinting. Choose to watch or join-in before going to find the next one. Plus visit the Emergency Poet, the world's only mobile poetic first aid service, to be prescribed with a playful poem, verse or lyric.

How to get here

West Dean College is located on the A286 just 6 miles north of Chichester and 60 miles south of London.

By car: Please use postcode PO18 0RX and follow the signs to the event car park, parking is free.

By train: The nearest train station is Chichester, with direct services from London Victoria. Connecting buses (Stagecoach number 60) are available from the bus station next to the train station. Alternatively, there is a taxi rank outside. It is just a 10-15 minute journey from the station.

More details on how to find us