West Dean College

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    • Overview West Dean College  has an international reputation for Conservation and Creative Arts, with study options from MA degrees to diplomas to short...more
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'At West Dean College, all programmes are taught by practicing professionals, who are internationally renowned in their respective fields.'

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West Dean College has an international reputation for Conservation and Creative Arts, with study options from MA degrees to diplomas to short courses from beginners to the advanced. Students can develop their practice in subjects spanning the visual arts, Crafts, writing, gardening and conservation.

The College is situated at the heart of the 6,400-acre West Dean Estate, set amongst the stunning landscape of the South Downs National Park.

With its large country house style, it offers a creative and immersive environment to escape the every day and learn new skills in an informal, relaxed atmosphere within a spectacular setting.

Short courses normally last between one and five days and can be either non-residential or residential.

The award-winning West Dean Gardens and landscaped parkland ensure that you are surrounded by a remarkable setting and range of artefacts which many of the tutors use as inspiration for project work.

"Apart from the course itself, which was excellent, and meeting like-minded people, the best thing was being able to walk through the gardens and find inspiration during the breaks."

Short courses

West Dean College offers over 700 short courses each year covering a vast range of subjects from pottery, mosaic making and tapestry, through to woodworking, sculpture, metalworking and photography. From just £92, you can come and explore new subjects and ideas, develop skills and make practical and beautiful things.

An added benefit is that if you book online in full you are entitled to a 5% discount off the brochure price. (Online prices are already adjusted)

New to West Dean? Get 10% discount when you book by phone.

All West Dean courses are taught by practicing professionals, many of whom are world renowned in their field. Numbers of students on courses are kept low to ensure that you have the space and time needed to best develop your skills and knowledge. View our tutor profiles and images of their work on our website for inspiration when choosing a course. For further information about the short courses:

Tel: + 44 (0) 1243 811301 or 0844 4994408

Diplomas, MA and MFA programmes

West Dean College also runs a series of diploma courses, including MAs validated by the University of Sussex. Students from around the world come here to study conservation of books, ceramics, clocks, furniture and metals, complemented by programmes in making stringed musical instruments and furniture. 

You can specialise in Tapestry and Textile Art, Sculpture or Painting and Drawing on the MA in Visual Arts or MFA. 

In a 2014 student survey 89% of students said the reputation of West Dean College was the reason they chose to study here.

The college has a very low student to staff ratio with a high level of personal tuition.

For further information about the full-time programmes:

Tel: + 44 (0) 1243 811301


The specialist workshops and studios at West Dean College are among the best-equipped in the UK and include a pottery, forge, fine metals workshop, two naturally-lit art studios, the Orangery and sculpture courtyard, purpose built for stone carving and related materials. There is also a computer suite and a specialist library.

Accommodation at West Dean College includes 58 rooms, situated either in the main house or in the nearby vicarage. Some of the rooms feature antique furniture, private bathrooms and/or views over the surrounding Gardens, whilst others have a more simple and contemporary feel. You can even stay an extra night before or after your course. Partners who are not attending courses are welcome to stay at the College, sharing your room on a resident-only basis. Dinner and breakfast is included in your stay and you have access to the house and gardens whilst here. 

Meal times are social and relaxed with fabulous seasonal, self-service meals. There is a choice of two hot main courses (one vegetarian) for both lunch and dinner, homemade soups, locally-baked breads and an exceptional salad bar as well as a selection of delicious puddings, fresh fruit and yoghurt. Breakfast includes a selection of hot choices, fruit, yoghurt and cereals.

Where possible ingredients are sourced locally including seasonal fruit and vegetables from West Dean Gardens.


West Dean College is situated in South East England, on the A286, six miles north of the historic city of Chichester. There is convenient road access from London (65 miles) and from Gatwick, Southampton and Heathrow airports. It is within reach of Eurotunnel connections as well as cross channel ferries from Portsmouth, Dover and Newhaven. The nearest railway station is Chichester (from London Victoria).