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 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 Gardens 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 the latest news and events.

Entry to West Dean events - Garden Friends will be provided 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.

In addition, 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. 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 Events for Friends

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 garden talks and events.


Tues 21 March, 7.30pm, West Dean College - Literary Salon with Stephen May & Martine McDonagh

Hear Stephen May and Martine McDonagh in discussion on the topic of 'The Family is a Loaded Gun' in literature.

For more information and to book.


Weds 22 March, 5.30pm, West Dean College - 'The Silver Swan' a conservation project by Matthew Read

Tutor on our Conservation of Clocks programme, Matthew brings to life the fascinating history of the Bowes Museum's Silver Swan. First built in 1773 the mechanical swan is the only one of its kind in the world.

Find out more. This talk is now full.


Tues 11 April - Bring a friend for free day

Share your passion for West Dean and for this day only, you can bring in a guest free of charge. Enjoy a walk through the Spring bulbs. Then why not treat yourself to a warming drink or soup in the Gardens Restaurant?


Tues 18 April, 7.30pm, West Dean College - Literary Salon with Joanna Moorhead

In 2006, Joanna travelled to Mexico in search of her father's cousin Leonora Carrington. Hear how this trip inspired her latest book.

For more information and to book.


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). Use this form to book your place.


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

Book now

Friend News

Friends garden walk - 1st Thursday of the month

Would you like to join one of our regular Friend walks? If so, then meet Jenny Stewart (volunteer and Garden Friend) in the Gardens Restaurant at 10.30am for a coffee and then head off for a walk at 11am. These walks are informal and a chance for you to take a walk around the gardens with a group of garden enthusiasts and Friends.

'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.