West Dean Gardens

West Dean Gardens, Chichester: Hours, Address, West Dean Gardens Reviews: 4.5/5

West Dean Gardens
10:30 AM - 5:00 PM
10:30 AM - 5:00 PM
10:30 AM - 5:00 PM
10:30 AM - 5:00 PM
10:30 AM - 5:00 PM
10:30 AM - 5:00 PM
10:30 AM - 5:00 PM
10:30 AM - 5:00 PM
West Dean Gardens is one of the greatest restored Gardens open to the public in England. Wander through the 300 foot long Edwardian pergola, visit the restored Victorian glasshouses, Walled Kitchen Gardens, Sunken Garden and orchards. Finish with a walk through the arboretum, Spring Garden and the peaceful parkland. Enjoy an inspirational day out visiting West Dean Gardens. A rare oasis of beauty and tranquillity in the heart of the South Downs, now open year round. To visit the Gardens pre-booking tickets online is essential.
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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737 reviews
Very good

2 contributions
Jul 2021 • Couples
This is well with a visit if looking for gardens to admire! We were able to spend several hours wandering around the grounds looking a large variety of flowers, plants, shrubs and trees. There was a huge kitchen garden with green houses and hot houses dripping in floral displays. Once finished there the restaurant was open and served an excellent lunch with gluten free options available, all Covid complient spacing and awareness. After lunch we wandered through the gardens and along the river course. At no time was the place over crowded, due to the size of the gardens you felt safe and fee to enjoy the ambience.
Written July 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Emsworth, UK1,231 contributions
Aug 2020
It is pleasant that some places are making the effort, despite the restrictions of the pandemic to reopen in a coronavirus safe atmosphere, by taking sensible precautions. We booked on line for a reasonable £10 each. A bit of queue at 3.00 going in mostly caused by plant buyers, but we were soon through. The greenhouses are not open but all the other gardens were such as the walled garden , the various lawns and the amazing 100 metre pergola. We have now seen these garden in winter at a reduced price, and as an adjunct to the cancelled CHILLI FESTIVAL. The sheer number of blooms on display was great for August as were the specimen trees and fruit trees. The trail and exhibits are well signposted and lots of social distancing notices and makings are here- well done. Extra loos of the decent walk in type and an extra cafe too [now three]. They are part of the Monday to Wednesday August ten pound HMG offer, so tea and cake cost £3.95. A good gift shop for youngsters and adults. My wife came away with some stocking fillers for the youngest grandchild. Bit of a delay at the exit if you use the shop as only 4 at a time [ rightly so] PERHAPS those not using the shop could be directed out more quickly but my only niggle of an enjoyable nearly two hours visit to these delightful gardens.
Written August 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Hampshire, UK47 contributions
May 2022 • Couples
Gardens have been tidied considerably in recent months and most areas looking lovely. I’m not sure about the rubble in the new dry garden, including old electric plugs, but I guess that’s a matter of taste. Good to see new types of gardening being introduced.

Sad to see covid measures from last year abandoned completely. Instead of entering through a spacious outdoor area, with a lovely choice of plants for sale, you are now back to entering through the poky and crowded shop. Plants are back in a side area, which most people didn’t seem to even visit. Plastic screens between staff and customers have been removed. Shame as many vulnerable people were reassured by these improvements and still need these measures.

It would be great to still have a separate entrance to the garden thus avoiding the large number of people shopping, browsing and visiting the toilets, which are also in the cramped shop area. Also would be good to have the entrance queue separate from the shop purchases queue as there are currently only two till points to do both jobs. Just causes queues and wastes time.
Written May 8, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

London, UK3 contributions
Jul 2021 • Family
We had previously gone to the cafe at West Dean Gardens and thought it might be a good place to take our young daughter for the morning. Unfortunately, our first mistake was not realising that it only opened at 10.30am (!) and so we spent 30 mins waiting for it to open. Once it did eventually open, we were then informed that, unlike our previous visit, that it was only possible to visit the cafe as a paying customer for the gardens, which we were not going to do to grab a coffee and slice of cake. Whilst I don’t agree with this approach, it is of course the Gardens’ right to take this approach, however the situation could have been improved by: (1) perhaps communicating this to your customers so they do not make the mistake of showing up, expecting to be able to have a coffee, and (2) training your staff so that they’re not so officious and rude towards this perfectly reasonable assumption. I shan’t be hurrying back here anytime soon!
Written July 13, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

2 contributions
Oct 2021 • Friends
The garden was beautiful. The staff were unhelpful and not very nice frankly. The waitress would not consider something slightly different than what was on menu even though they didn’t have what I had ordered on the menu.

The item I took to the till in the shop was £15 not the £10 on the label .

You still have to pre book to get in despite most gardens having lifted restrictions
Written October 15, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Stefanie B
Chichester, UK4 contributions
Oct 2021
I have been trying to become a member for a while. I am not sure why they are not taking memberships, surely they would like the money. I went for lunch with two friends. I ordered a sausage roll with chutney. The sausage roll was like a cannonball! Dry and overcooked. I did not send it back because my friend was paying and it is always somewhat embarrassing. The waitresses were extremely busy and ‘frazzled’. I understand that the soup was very good. However, where is the home grown produce? The vegetable gardens seemed to be crammed full of produce that nobody was picking or selling. The Apple store had boxes of apples that looked decidedly dusty. We visited the shop and bought some reduced Halloween items which were good value. All In all the whole experience felt dreary and lacklustre, what a shame, I have always loved taking friends to this venue.
Written October 11, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Fran H
Runcorn, UK6 contributions
Nov 2021 • Solo
The gardens are stunning and its very clear that the Gardening Team there work hard to keep the estate looking beautiful. There's some beautiful sculpture to be found and enjoyable walking routes that have been planned out well.

The customer service in both shop and cafe are very much lacking the same standard. It is not clear where you check in your tickets, there is one computer that does all transactions that means you're stood in a small shop with groups of people. The cafe has not got an effective takeaway/ eat in system and are losing custom because of it. Also the staff talk to you as if you are an inconvenience.
Written November 14, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Hilary G
West Sussex75 contributions
Jul 2021
Yesterday (6/7) my father-in-law passed away. Today (7/7) is my husband's birthday. As a distraction we visited West Dean Gardens, but had been there barely 15 minutes (approximately 11.45) when a simple and polite enquiry to a member of staff, (an older man emptying grass cuttings in the walled garden) was met with staggering rudeness and outright lies.
Both of us were stunned and very upset by this man's inexplicable attitude and rudeness, and what was already a difficult day was utterly ruined.
I must add that the lady working in the cafe to whom we spoke and who was witness to our distress, was very kind - offering us free coffee and cake, and also the gardens themselves are lovely. A great pity that such a rude man is employed in a situation where he is likely to have to interact with paying customers.
Written July 7, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

john s
Ashtead61 contributions
May 2021
The tranquil atmosphere was the biggest plus point for this place.We arrived on bus 60 from Chichester .We asked the driver if this was correct stop for West Dean Gardens .It was not ! We had to walk a long way to the correct stop.When we arrived we loved the peace and calm of the gardens.The sheep just bleated at us and got on with the most important task of the day eating grass.Liked the way that wild flowers and grasses were allowed to bloom.Was originally going to go and do the 2 mile walk up in the downs but after having a nice avocado and bacon salad did not feel like rushing for anything so we just went around looking at the river Lavant ,spring pond ,West Dean house and other things we liked first time around.Found staff very friendly and chatty they seemed [pleased to see us unlike the bus driver.The salad was a little bit dearer than my local pub lunch but it was bigger and tasted twice as good.
Written May 31, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
We're so pleased that you enjoyed your visit and hope that you'll visit again soon. Thank you for your feedback about the bus-stop and we'll see if there is a way of making the correct one clearer to visitors.
Written June 23, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Chichester, UK16 contributions
Aug 2020
Have visited many time before and it's always enjoyable. However, because of most of the staff at West Dean being furloughed during the early stages of lockdown, some areas were 'left to nature'. Personally, I loved it. The area was buzzing with bees and butterflies that are enjoying the wild flowers.

An easy booking system and one way system on site meant there was every opportunity to socially distance. A one way system operates around the walled garden. In the larger grounds you are free roam.

A welcome addition was a coffee hut opposite the college. Now the scaffolding has come down (mostly) from the college, the building looked majestic.

To summarise, the gardens were a bit wilder than normal but I loved it, Secure online bookng system, well organised one way system. I felt it was Covid Secure. Absolutely no problem social distancing.
Written August 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about West Dean Gardens

West Dean Gardens is open:
  • Sun - Sat 10:30 AM - 5:00 PM