We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“Christmas wonderland”
Review of West Dean Gardens

West Dean Gardens
Ranked #8 of 64 things to do in Chichester
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: 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 and inspirational day out visiting West Dean Gardens. A rare oasis of beauty and tranquillity in the heart of the South Downs.
Level Contributor
24 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Christmas wonderland”
Reviewed 17 February 2014

Have taken a long time to write this review but feel now is the time. We are regular visitors to West Dean and because of this we became "friends" which gives us entry when we want somewhere to go.
We had taken the grandchildren to the winter wonderland in its 1st year, christmas 2012 and had a really enjoyable day so decided to attend the 2nd one in December 2013 but shouldn't have bothered.
Very very poor, not a lot for the small ones like the 1st year when they had skating rink and lots of things for children but this year it was poorly managed and poorly organised.
When you buy the tickets in March/April expecting something on a par or better than the 1st one we were very disappointed. Little ones aged 7 and 3 were excited to be seeing father christmas again were kept waiting in a small anti room for over 45 mins only to be confronted by a father christmas sitting on a chair in a room that was hardly decorated for the time of year and spent no more than 90 seconds in his company, even the 7 year old commented that it was "not very good granddad" speaks for itself.
It was a shame as West dean usually put on a very good event but this one failed miserably.
Wether we go again remains to be seen!

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Chris T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
WestDean, Public Relations Manager at West Dean Gardens, responded to this review, 22 May 2014
We are very sorry that you were so disappointed with the Christmastime event. We have reviewed our events following feedback and this year we are concentrating on our summer events - although Father Christmas will be visiting West Dean Gardens over the festive period. The next event is the Design and Craft Fair from 20 - 22 June, followed by the Chilli Fiesta 8 - 10 August, the House Open 6 - 7 September, Grow! Cook! Eat! on 4 - 5 October and Halloween activities in the October half-term. I do hope you will visit again and find some great events that all the family will enjoy.
Best wishes from all of us at West Dean.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review

431 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    275
    109
    22
    13
    12
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Havant, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
38 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“What a discovery”
Reviewed 13 February 2014

Driving leisurely one afternoon after lunch from our favourite Inn in Swanmore, we found this place. ..Superb homemade scones and generous portions of clotted cream and jam...lovely tea while looking at the view outside of the hill where you can see sheep, plus you can buy some nice novelties and jams made from West Dean campus itself. Certainly worth a visit

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
Thank Sakuraneneng
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chichester, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
57 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Brilliant walled garden”
Reviewed 22 December 2013

I first visited in 1996 and couldn't believe the walled garden had only been restored a couple of years before. It's a fantastic showcase for practical yet decorative vegetable growing, and the trained fruit trees in the orchard are decorative and very productive. If you go to the Chilli Fiesta or visit July or August, do look at the specacular borders with hot flower colours.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
Thank Diana M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
WestDean, Public Relations Manager at West Dean Gardens, responded to this review, 6 January 2014
Thanks for your feedback - we're delighted that you enjoyed our beautiful gardens.
The Gardens close annually during January but we look forward to welcoming back visitors from 1 February 2014.
Happy New Year!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
United Kingdom
Level Contributor
130 reviews
55 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
“Rip-off Christmas event”
Reviewed 21 December 2013

What a rip-off! They had the cheek to charge £10 for a few craft stalls of low quality/high price and a few lights threaded thro the trees at the entrance. There was no atmosphere in the house despite the feeble attempt at making it feel like an Edwardian Christmas with mulled wine in plastic beakers. The restaurant serves lousy tea and coffee. We have to ask for extra teabags in the pot each time we visit. When oh when will they raise the quality of their products. We've been 'friends' for the past 10 years but this is the worst. We complained about the Grow Cook Eat but the staff really don't want feed back even though they say they welcome it. This may well be the last time we'll join as 'friends' unless events and the restaurant improves considerably. Loyalty can only stretch so far.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank LuccaSiena
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
WestDean, Public Relations Manager at West Dean Gardens, responded to this review, 6 January 2014
We are very sorry that you were so disappointed with the Christmastime event. The entrance fee covered a variety of activities, including a visit to Father Christmas (if pre-booked), unlimited rides on a vintage carousel, Christmas demonstrations, carol singing and entry into the House.

As a ‘Friend of West Dean’ you should have had free entry to the event, which you don’t mention. I am sorry that you are considering not renewing your Friends membership this year, as we believe that at current prices, it represents great value for money. For £29 for an individual membership, members benefit from free entry to the Gardens year-round (except January when they are closed), and free entry to major garden events such as the Chili Fiesta. In 2013, there were 4 such events which were free to members (around £10 otherwise).

I am also sorry that you feel we are not interested in your comments. We treat all feedback seriously and use it to plan future activities. We are grateful for your loyalty to West Dean and hope that in future you will have more enjoyable visits here.
Best wishes for the new year from all at West Dean.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ferring, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Christmastime at West Dean”
Reviewed 18 December 2013

Ambience is not a few cursory lights duct-taped to a random tree or nailed to a shanty town of craft stalls.

Nor is it induced by stacking cars at the furthest point from the hall leaving you to walk through a mudbath to get there and the maximum distance in the pouring rain to escape it.

Contemptuous.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank Marcus_Aurelius_III
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
WestDean, Public Relations Manager at West Dean Gardens, responded to this review, 6 January 2014
We are very sorry that you were so disappointed about your visit to West Dean's Christmastime event. We will take on board your feedback as we develop future events.
Best wishes for the new year from all at West Dean.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed West Dean Gardens also viewed

 
Chichester, West Sussex
Bosham, Chichester
 

Been to West Dean Gardens? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing