Welcoming you back to West Dean Gardens

A message from Head Gardener, Tom, following the announcement that we will be re-opening the Gardens to the public from 26 June; and operating Friends-only days 22-25 June.

"It’s lovely to think that people will be returning to West Dean Gardens to enjoy the open green space and the tranquillity and atmosphere of our much loved garden. Since lockdown, due to safety reasons, we have had one member of staff in the Gardens each day with the purpose of maintaining and preserving our valuable Glasshouse Collections. This translates to potting on plants, watering (in very warm conditions!) and managing pests and diseases to ensure that we have a group of plants that will be ready for displays in the future.

March, April, May and June are critical months in a garden and the very difficult decision was taken to donate all of our annual seedlings and cuttings to charity and cancel our 2020 summer displays in the light of the pandemic. As you wander around the Walled Gardens, you will see our collections are planted, ready for us to take cuttings in the summer for our 2021 displays. We are establishing our new, perennial crops in the Kitchen Garden such as asparagus, soft fruit and herbs but otherwise we’ve had to be minimal in these areas due to a lack of manpower at a critical time.

As members of the Garden Team return, it is our priority to regain a level of maintenance in the garden. We are cutting the long grass and tackling weeds, and it will be the start of an ongoing process over the coming months. Please bear with us as we work hard to return the Gardens to their full glory.

With best wishes and thanks,
Tom and the Garden Team"

Ahead of your visit: what you need to know

  • From 26 June we are open 7 days a week, 10.30am – 5pm (we are open to Friends Only 22-25 June).
  • Tickets are available to book online and pre-booking is essential. 
  • If you are a Gardens/College Friend, you must still pre-book your arrival time.
  • We are offering free entry to NHS workers with a valid form of ID + 1 adult. You must still pre-book your visit online and show your ID on arrival.
  • To adhere to government guidelines and social distancing rules, we are limiting the number of visitors each day.
  • Toilet facilities will be available and a stringent cleaning regime is in place.
  • The restaurant won’t be open yet, but Gardener's Cottage is available for light takeaways and kiosk outlets will be situated in the gardens.
  • When you arrive at the main Gardens entrance, our staff will direct you to a space.
  • To allow for social distancing, entrance to the Gardens will not be through the shop. Staff will direct you where to go when you arrive. 

Please read our FAQs for more information.

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