The Bishop’s Palace & Gardens has been home to the Bishops of Bath and Wells for over 800 years and this stunning medieval palace is open for all to enjoy.
Surrounded by a breath-taking moat (with resident swans!), visitors can cross a flagstone drawbridge, walk under the portcullis and experience a true hidden gem in the heart of the City of Wells. As described by an American visitor 130 years ago, this is a ‘palace of enchantment’.
There are 14 acres of outstanding, RHS Partner gardens to explore, including the beautiful well pools from which the city takes its name, along with diverse and varied planting styles, an Arboretum, formal gardens and stunning ramparts.
The Bishop’s Palace dates from the early-thirteenth century when Bishop Jocelin Trotman, the first Bishop to hold the title Bishop of Bath and Wells, received a crown licence to build a residence and deer park on land to the south of the Cathedral of St Andrew. Although home to the Bishop and other families, visitors can walk in the footsteps of past bishops through a number of rooms within the Palace.
Visitors can also enjoy the Bishop’s private Chapel and explore the ruined Great Hall. For younger visitors, there is a children’s play area, “The Dragon’s Lair”, hidden away in the Arboretum; use the story map to discover the dragon’s secret’s and find your way there.
For refreshment, visitors can visit The Bishop’s Table – awarded a VisitEngland Quality Food & Drink Accolade in 2017 – for delicious, locally-sourced homemade food.
Did You Know?
The Palace is famous for its mute swans, which ring a bell in the moat to be fed! The swans at the Palace were first taught this by the daughter of Bishop Hervey in the 1870s and is a tradition which continues to this day.
Admission charges apply.
Open all year. Last admission 30 minutes before closing time.
- Activity trails
- Children’s play area
- Parking nearby
- Baby changing facility
- Disabled toilets
- Full disabled access
The Palace provides a wide range of informal learning opportunities for adults and children.
Family activities run throughout school holidays, including themed trails, ‘Make-it Monday!’ craft activities, and ‘Nature Ninjas’ gardening activities. The Palace hosts a range of other family activities, including Medieval Falconry and Bowlore Medieval Weekend.
Adult learning includes a range of Heritage Skills workshops and art classes (starting autumn 2018), run by visiting artisans.
Commercial Hire & Services
The Bishop’s Palace is a unique venue, experienced in planning many types of event. As a wedding venue, The Bishop’s Palace has much to offer. The venue offers you access to a medieval vaulted Undercroft, the Palace Long Gallery, outdoor terrace and acres of Gardens.
We also cater for a wide range of private functions, including family celebrations, concert suppers, a formal evening dinners and corporate events. The medieval Undercroft is the perfect venue for parties of between 60 – 120 guests , while The Bishop’s Table is a less formal, but equally impressive, venue and perfect for parties of 20 – 40 guests.
- Social history
- 20th Century