Located a few miles north of historic Chichester, just over an hour and a half from London and close to the South Coast and the famous Goodwood Estate, West Dean College of Arts and Conservation provides an oasis of calm and creativity.
West Dean House is home to the College in a beautifully flint-faced mansion; once home to the College’s founder, Edward James, poet and patron of surrealism. Immerse yourself in an atmosphere that fuses a rich arts heritage, with artwork from Edward James' contemporaries - such as the Salvador Dali Lobster Phone - on display.
The College offers over 800 short courses, from beginner to advanced level, so whether this is your first course or you have some experience - there's a course for you. Ranging from contemporary to traditional crafts, choose from Art, Craft, Textiles (including Tapestry), Photography, Furniture-making, Metalwork and Jewellery, Pottery and Ceramics, Gardening, Sculpture and much more. A unique place to study, visit or stay, it is a centre of excellence, creativity and tranquillity.
Start your weekend with a drink in the Steward’s Bar, followed by dinner with fellow students in the College’s friendly dining hall.
After dinner, you will be introduced to your tutor and begin your first class. All tutors are experts in their craft and bring with them years of experience, ideas and passion for their craft.
Once you finish dinner, check into your accommodation for the weekend. There are a range of options in the local area or why not stay at West Dean College's Bed and Breakfast, with delightful guest bedrooms within the main house or nineteenth century Old Vicarage, located just behind the College.
Photo: ©Christopher Ison
After breakfast in the dining hall, make your way to the workshop for your first full day of creative possibility. Course materials are provided, and there is a handy craft shop on-site to pick up any last-minute items.
Your day is punctuated by lunch in the College dining hall where you can enjoy a selection of locally sourced, hot and cold freshly prepared dishes, including vegan and gluten-free. Fresh fruit, biscuits and hot drinks from the atrium are available throughout the day too.
Don't miss out, enjoy a stroll around West Dean’s famous and beautifully landscaped gardens after dinner. As a residential student, you will receive free entry to West Dean Gardens ,during your stay, as well as access to the outdoor heated swimming pool from May to September.
As the evening draws to a close, watch the sunset over West Dean Estate and enjoy a nightcap in the Steward’s Bar before retiring to your room.
Photo: © West Dean College of Arts and Conservation
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast and head to the studio or workshop to enjoy the last day of your course.
Courses finish at 3pm, so there Is time to enjoy the gardens or a walk to the Arboretum, and even take home freshly grown fruits and vegetables from the Gardens Apple Store.
Should you wish to explore more of the local attractions, The Weald & Downland Living Museum is a five-minute drive down the road and tells the story of rural life in South East England over 1,000 years with over 50 historic building across a 40-acre site. Why not finish off the perfect weekend with dinner at The Star and Garter, a gorgeous country pub, located just ten minutes down the road, in the charming village of East Dean.
Creative weekends don’t get much better than this.