Friends

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.

View the Terms and Conditions for Garden Friend membership or College Friend membership.

Complete your application form to become a Friend.

Become a Friend of West Dean College and Gardens

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

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

The following benefits are included in both Garden and College Friend membership:

Complimentary entry - all Friends can enjoy the changing face of West Dean Gardens throughout the year during normal opening hours. (Please note the gardens close from 23 December 2017 to 1 February 2018.)

Events - your chance to get behind-the-scenes. Discover more about the College and Gardens and meet the people who look after West Dean house and the glorious gardens. 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 the latest news and events.

Entry to West Dean events - Garden Friends receive 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 can also:

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 through our monthly coffee morning. 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 of Friend membership that suits you. Download and complete an application form.

Terms and conditions apply.


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 it completed with your preferred options.

2017/18 Events

Each year we organise a few events that are your chance to get behind-the-scenes and enjoy West Dean all year round. Come along, discover more 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. Download the current programme here.

Find out about other garden talks and events.


Tuesday 26 September, 5.30-7pm, West Dean College - Talk by author Iain Sinclair

Join us for an evening talk with author Iain Sinclair. Renowned as a chronicler of uncharted and often unloved parts of the UK, Sinclair evokes a rich, hidden history that is enlivened by his own memories of the urban landscape.

His works include Downriver; Radon Daughters and Lights Out for the Territory; London Orbital, London Overground and The Last London.

Book your place for this free talk.


Tuesday 31 October, 5.30-7pm, West Dean College - Talk by author Bethan Roberts

Join author Bethan Roberts as she discusses her experiences as a writer. Her first novel The Pools won a Jerwood/Arvon Young Writers' award and her latest novel Mother Island is the recipient of a Jerwood Fiction Uncovered prize.

Find out more and book a place at this free talk.


Sunday 3 December, 3pm and 4.30pm - Japanese Tea Ceremony

The traditional tea ceremony was introduced to Japan from China during the 16th century and even in today's hi-tech environment continues to be part of everyday life. Come and watch or participate in this ancient, graceful ceremony led by Tea Master Chizuko Kimura.

Free to watch. £10 to participate. Find out more and book here.


Tuesday 5 December, 5.30-7pm, West Dean College - Author talk with Isabel Ashdown

Isabel Ashdown is a novelist and creative writing tutor. Her debut Glasshopper won the Mail on Sunday Novel Competition and was listed among the best books of the year. She has a Masters in Creative Writing, is a member of the Society of Authors and is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow based at the University of Chichester. Her latest novel, Little Sister, a psychological thriller, is published in July 2017.

Find out more and book a place at this free talk.


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

Book now


Saturday 13 January 2018, 8pm, West Dean College - Music From America and More

An evening with Oliver Nelson (Violin) and Roy Stratford (Piano) held in the magnificent surroundings of the Old Library, one of the State Rooms in West Dean House with its opulent Edwardian décor, book-lined walls and a splendid early 18th-century tapestry panel. Drinks can be purchased in the Steward's Bar before and after the recital.

Tickets £10 - Book now

Friend News

Garden Friends event access

Remember that you can use your complimentary event ticket on an event day of your choice within the period of your 12 month membership. This can be used for our Arts & Craft Festival (June 2018) or Chilli Fiesta (10-12 August 2018).

You will find your complimentary ticket in your membership/renewal pack. Remember to bring it with you with your membership card to gain entry into the event of your choice.

'West Dean Gardens are so special because they are where horticultural skills are honed, traditions preserved and plants of all types grown and tested.'

TOBY BUCKLAND, Gardener and TV presenter.

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.

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.