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The Bishop’s Palace and Gardens


The Bishop’s Palace and Gardens in Wells has been home to the Bishop of Bath and Wells for over 800 years. Surrounded by a breathtaking moat (with world-famous resident swans who ring a bell for food), you can cross a flagstone drawbridge, walk under the portcullis and experience a true hidden gem in the heart of the City of Wells.

Step into the original palace built for Bishop Jocelin, walk around the vaulted undercroft and follow the staircase to what would have been the rooms for entertaining, dining and sleeping. Portraits of the Long Gallery give an intriguing insight into the past bishops whilst artefacts and exhibitions on art and history bring the spiritual role of the site to life. The unusually grand, episcopal chapel built in the Early English Decorated style is the perfect place to sit in peace and quiet whilst reflecting on the chapel’s beautiful proportions and exceptional medieval detail.

There are 14 acres of mature, landscaped gardens to explore, including the beautiful well pools from which the city takes its name. Wander along the herbaceous borders, admire the parterre, meander through the arboretum, discover the well pools from which the city gets its name, explore what vegetables are growing in the community garden and enjoy a peaceful moment in the contemporary Garden of Reflection. 

The Dragon’s Lair is the perfect play area for children to let their imagination run wild. The interactive discovery area is designed around stories of the Bishop’s Palace and takes inspiration from dragon’s wings and the well pools.

From family and community garden activity days, historic re-enactments, concerts, talks, workshops and demonstrations to family theatre, a gift shop, café and the best views in Wells – the Bishop’s Palace is a great family day out.

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