The Edwardian Pergola at West Dean Gardens

Press Release: West Dean Gardens to re-open to the public on June 26

Award-winning West Dean Gardens, near Chichester in West Sussex has announced that it will re-open to the public on Friday, June 26, 2020. Entry is by timed tickets available to book online, and pre-booking is essential. Visitors can expect to step into Summer in the gardens with the new foxglove display, beautiful stretches of wild meadow and vibrant rhododendron up in the arboretum and enjoy the variety of tranquil spaces West Dean gardens is so well known for.

The Gardens will be open seven days a week from 10.30am to 5pm. Garden/ College Friends Only Days take place between June 22 to 25, and places need to be pre-booked with a chosen arrival time.

As announced recently, West Dean Gardens is also offering free entry to NHS workers + one adult. This also needs to be pre-booked online and ID shown on arrival.

Alexander Barron, Chief Executive, West Dean College of Arts and Conservation commented: “At this time, when outdoor space is important for people’s wellbeing, we are delighted to be able to welcome you back and we know from the daily comments on social media, the Gardens have been truly missed!  Visitor health and safety is our priority so things will be a little different, with social distancing and protective measures in place. We are limiting the number of visitors each day and entrance to the Gardens will not be through the shop. Staff will direct you where to go when you arrive.”

He carries on to say; “We have implemented one way systems where required and there will be clear signage to give additional guidance. Some areas may be restricted at times due to staff working in those areas and we would ask that you respect any roped off areas or signage advising on this.”

Tom Brown, Head Gardener has been keeping in touch with garden enthusiasts during the past few months via films on social media. He said: “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.”

He continues: “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.”

TICKET PRICES: Entry is £10 and Free Entry for Children under 16. Last entry is 30 minutes before closing time. 

FAQs: 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. More details can be found here:

Editor's Notes:

  • West Dean Gardens is part of the Edward James Foundation, a charitable trust, also comprising West Dean College of Arts and Conservation, West Dean Estate and the West Dean Tapestry Studio. Charity No. 1126084.

More information is available on or through social media:

For further information or high-resolution digital images, please contact Rachel Aked:
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 07790 732448