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“Opportunistic money spinner, with thought or infrastructure”
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.
United Kingdom
Level Contributor
22 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Opportunistic money spinner, with thought or infrastructure”
Reviewed 15 December 2013

Christmas fair today was poor. £10 per head, for limited attractions. There were 4 of us.

Car parking was dreadful, only in a muddy field. As more cars arrived the mud got worse. No footpaths to the grounds, people had to trek through the mud (elderly and disabled too) and back again before leaving.

Market was limited; food stalls seemed to be hotdogs and crepes plus the usual sweets/candy floss.

Horse and carriage rides seemed popular, though cost extra.

Biggest attraction was the house, though it felt like they didn't want people inside it. We asked for the loo, and were pointed to the outside and queued for portacabin loo. Attempting to re-enter, a staff steward simply asked 'yes?' upon opening the door and then told us we had to go back out and walk around to the front. As it was raining, we pleaded to be let back in - he let us in but wasn't happy, muttering "we're trying to have a system here".

After being told off, and finding that we weren't able to visit upstairs we headed for the restaurant at the other side of the grounds. This was packed with people, and though it was open 12-2pm, they'd run out of most food by 12:30pm. Rather than choosing from the menu, it was a case of having what was available. Lasagne and veg was actually pretty good to be fair, but my wife wasn't impressed with a cold jacket potatoe.

We then then left, via the field of mud. We felt dissappointed, and expected much better from West Dean. We'd pre-booked online as their website looked as if it were to be a magical Christmas event. They seem to have fallen for the old 'make people pay in advance' routine and then being unable to deliver.

Sorry West Dean - Christmas fail!

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank elliewoofbag
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, 18 December 2013
Thank you for your feedback. I am sorry that you were disappointed by your visit to our recent Christmastime event. Unfortunately the weather was against us on Sunday and we did have some problems with our event parking, which is in a field. Once we realised it was very difficult to park, we diverted cars to different tarmacked areas, but I apologise that this hadn't happened when you arrived.
We are also particularly sorry about your experience in the House. The House is only open to the public once or twice each year and therefore our facilities are rather limited, as they serve the students who visit West Dean College to study arts, crafts and conservation. Temporary loos were used for visitors at the weekend, which were outside. Given the terrible weather, our steward at the door should have been a little more relaxed about allowing you to come in the 'exit' door. I'm sorry that didn't happen.
As a whole we tried to offer a range of attractions at the event, including carol singing, a vintage carousel, Christmas demonstrations and visits to Father Christmas. I'm sorry if you felt the price did not represent value for money. We will take on board your comments as we develop future events.
Thank you for your feedback and a very Merry Christmas from all at West Dean.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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England
Level Contributor
27 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Disappointing christmas fair”
Reviewed 14 December 2013

Tickets cost us £10 per head and we thought it was going to be as good value for money as the chilli fest is every yr at west dean.
We were given free ticket for a cup of mulled wine as we arrived, but were surprised that people were actually leaving with it had only been open a couple of hours.
Small amount of Xmas stalls with nothing unusual to buy or different, not a lot of food stalls and generally very disappointing.
Stayed just over one hour and left, went to Chichester and they have a very good Xmas market that was free to walk round.
Will return to the chilli fest next yr but will give this a miss from now on, no christmas at all!!

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank Lottie61
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, 18 December 2013
Thank you for your feedback about our Christmastime event at the weekend and I'm sorry that the event did not live up to your expectations. The event was much smaller than our annual Chilli Fiesta and some people have been disappointed by the number of stalls selling gifts and food. We will take on board all the feedback and aim to address these issues for future events.
Thank you again for taking the time to let us know your thoughts. Best wishes for a very Merry Christmas from all of us at West Dean.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chichester, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
58 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Beautiful gardens”
Reviewed 25 November 2013 via mobile

Forgotten how lovely this place was. Beautiful grounds and gardens. Lovely pergola and interesting greenhouses.
Restaurant serving good food and some nice things in the shop including seasonal fruit etc. Restaurant & shop a little bit on the expensive side but very high standards and a good range of quality goods to buy.
The 'Friends' card is good value and you can deduct your days entry from the membership. I like the fact that you only have to name one person on the card and you can take any one other with you including the events.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank CurlyWurlyL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chichester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
73 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Look out for events”
Reviewed 25 November 2013

I visit here from time to time and always find something new. The gardens are full of inspiration,, and the festivals that take place several times a year are well worth a visit. Warning: Don't try to sneakily sample a chilli in the glasshouses, like the man in front of me did the last time I was there. He seriously underestimated its effects!

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank FridaCrayola
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Southampton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
21 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“An facsinating day out for anyone interested in gardening.”
Reviewed 25 November 2013

Very relaxed atmosphere and friendly staff.

The walled garden and the glasshouses are amazing, especially the chillies. Loads of varieties of all kinds of fruit and vegetables.

Would definitely go back.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank saintsfan76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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