Core values at West Dean

West Dean Apple Affair
West Dean Apple Affair
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West Dean Gardens is probably best-known for its Chilli Fiesta – an internationally-renowned summer event celebrating fiery foods with family fun.

But the venue near Chichester is also home to an annual Apple Affair, which takes place tomorrow and Sunday.

Like its sister celebration, the Apple Affair has been growing (excuse the pun) over the years and now offers two full days of activities and attractions, with something for all the family.

Like the Chili Fiesta, it features displays, cookery demonstrations, talks, music and stalls.

From 10.30am to 5pm both days, it also includes orchard tours, an art exhibition and the big draw drawing competition for adults and children of all ages.

There are more apple fun and games for children and plenty to keep adults occupied with West Dean house open to visitors too.

More than 100 varieties of apples are grown in West Dean’s Victorian walled kitchen garden. These will be displayed on the picnic lawn, where visitors will also find apple talks and tastings, the chance to have any mystery apples from their own gardens identified, plus growing clinics with problems will be diagnosed by apple doctors.

After a poor year for crops, cookery demonstrations focus on making apples go further.

There will be lessons in how to preserve apples in chutneys and bottles and for crumbles, pies and curds.

There will also be demonstrations of a selection of fruity fish, pudding and curry recipes.

In the demonstration on cooking with cider, visitors get to taste the food and the cider.

For children there is apple bobbing, face-painting, pin the maggot on the apple, a bouncy castle and much more.

West Dean’s Curator Sharon Michi-Kusunoki has organised a special exhibition at West Dean’s annual House Opening.

Inspired by the title of Leonora Carrington’s novel, The Hearing Trumpet, artists have taken the existing fabric of the House and reassembled, remapped and retold it in the form of a die-cut book.

The exhibition can be found inside West Dean House, which was once home to Edward James and is now a College specialising in all aspects of arts, crafts, conservation and making.

Visitors can see three state rooms: the Old Dining Room; the Music Room and the Old Library, plus the vast Oak Reception Hall, as well as learning more about the history of the house.

Gift aid admission costs £11.50 for adults and £1 children. Go to