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Open Open from 10.30am (9am weekends & Bank Hols); daily; 2 Feb–24 Dec (excluding 24 Dec–2 Feb).

WEST DEAN GARDENS

Partner Garden
Free access for RHS members at selected times

West Dean
Nr Chichester
PO18 0RX

6 miles north of Chichester on A286.

36.4ha (90 acres)

Tel
01243 818210

Visit website

Admission

Summer: £8.75 (£9.70 Gift Aid); Groups £7. Winter: £5.50 (£6.10 Gift Aid); Groups £4. Please see website for more information.


RHS members

Free access applies Feb–Apr and Sept–Dec.

Facilities

  • Baby changing facilities
  • Café
  • Disabled access
  • Disabled facilities
  • Dogs welcome
  • Gift shop
  • Group rates
  • Parking
  • Picnics allowed
  • Plants for sale
  • Toilets

Features

  • Arboretum
  • Autumn colour
  • Award winner
  • Bog garden
  • Champion trees
  • Colour themed borders
  • Cottage planting
  • Glasshouse (open to public)
  • Gravel garden
  • Herbaceous border
  • Pond or lake
  • Prairie/naturalistic planting
  • Rock garden
  • Sculpture
  • Water garden
  • Wildflower meadow
  • Wildlife planting and features
  • Winter garden
  • Woodland

About the garden

Owned by
Edward James Foundation Ltd

Laid out in the 1890s and 1900s, West Dean has now been extensively restored. Harold Peto's 100m pergola and the sunken garden which terminates its eastern end have both been completely rebuilt and replanted to create a vision of Edwardian opulence. Much of the damage to the 50 acre (20ha) St Roche's arboretum caused by the 1987 storm has been made good. The great range of glasshouses in the walled garden has been repaired and the garden itself planted as a working kitchen garden that is now the crowning glory of West Dean.

A huge variety of plants - from peaches to peppers, cucumbers to coleus, aubergines to orchids - grows in the 16 glasshouses and frames. Out of doors are orderly rows of cabbage, carrots, lettuce and beetroot, alongside herbaceous borders in rich reds, oranges and yellows. No space is wasted: the kitchen garden has over one mile of walls covered in trained fruit trees - more than 200 different apples, pears and plums. No private garden has so many beautifully grown fruit and vegetables. Anna Pavord once wrote in The Independent: 'I have never been in a kitchen garden so rich, so profuse, so well ordered, so tempting'.

Beyond the walled garden (2 acres in size) are 35 acres (14ha) of ornamental gardens, the St Roche's arboretum (now really coming into its own, with broad paths and splendid trees) and 240 acres (97ha) of landscaped park - all linked by a 2.5 mile walk. Herbaceous borders and annual bedding schemes have been reinstated and more than 400,000 bulbs planted. In the spring garden are an 1820s rustic thatched summerhouse with a moss- and heather-lined interior and a floor of knapped flints and horses' molars.

In the wild garden are new woodland and herbaceous plantings, a pond and wetland area. A garden at the peak of perfection.

Plants of special interest

  • Agapanthus
  • Alliums
  • Alpines
  • Asters
  • Autumn bulbs
  • Begonias
  • Bluebells
  • Cacti & succulents
  • Camellias
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Clematis
  • Conifers
  • Cut flowers
  • Cyclamen
  • Daffodils
  • Dahlias
  • Delphiniums
  • Ferns
  • Fruit blossom
  • Fruit bushes/trees
  • Fuchsias
  • Grasses
  • Heathers
  • Hellebores
  • Hemerocallis
  • Herbs
  • Hostas
  • Irises
  • Laburnum
  • Lavender
  • Lilies
  • Magnolias
  • Maple
  • Orchids
  • Primulas
  • Rhododendrons/azaleas
  • Roses
  • Shade-loving plants
  • Snowdrops
  • Spring bulbs
  • Sweet peas
  • Topiary
  • Vegetables
  • Waterlilies
  • Wildflowers
  • Wisteria