Less than an hour’s drive from home, I spent a glorious weekend at West Dean College. The college is part of the Edward James Foundation, situated in the village of West Dean on the outskirts of Chichester.
Following a stress free drive through the rolling hills of Surrey and Sussex, I was soon relaxing into the College accommodation amazed at the grandiose decor of the main house which morphed seamlessly into practical, modern, minimalist bedrooms. [Even if it took me a day and a half to find the hanging space neatly concealed behind the mirror.]
I was enrolled on one of the craft courses that run throughout the year, but it was open house weekend too, so many extra rooms were also open to explore. Edward James was a patron of several Surrealist painters and a lifelong collector of art. His legacy at West Dean, to nurture music, arts and crafts, is littered with fantastic artwork, sculpture and other curiosities. These are created both by current and recent students of the college, and by more famous artists such as Dali.
The house sits within an extensive estate and includes a walled garden, kitchen garden and spring garden, not to mention in the further reaches an arboretum and access to parkland.
On a usual weekend I would relish my downtime, but this weekend I made the most of the beautiful surroundings to soak up the sunshine and drink in the planting in the gardens, the views of the countryside as well as new crafting skills.
Food was provided (at regular intervals) and, for me, this is key to de-stressing. Knowing that you’ll get a good meal, but not worrying about what it is, whether you have the ingredients and finding the time to cook is an excellent way to make time for relaxing pursuits.
My time there was over all too quickly, but was definitely enough to ignite my inspiration and recharge myself for the week ahead.
Why not explore somewhere close to home? Book some time out so you can enjoy your environment without worrying about the chores.