Ranked #22 of 254 attractions in Somerset
Category: Gardens; Historic Sites
Home to the Bishops of Bath and Wells for 800 years this stunning medieval palace is open for all to enjoy. Surrounded by a...
Home to the Bishops of Bath and Wells for 800 years this stunning medieval palace is open for all to enjoy. Surrounded by a breathtaking moat you can cross a flagstone drawbridge, under the portcullis and experience a true hidden gem in the heart of the City of Wells. 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. Today visitors can enjoy the medieval palace building, including a vaulted Undercroft and the Long Gallery in which all the portraits of past bishops hang. There are also 14 acres of gardens to explore, including the beautiful well pools from which the city takes its name, family events and guided walks. The Bishop's private Chapel is open to all and sits next to the ruined Great Hall which formerly housed great banquets and celebrations. The world famous mute swans who live alongside the moat and ring a bell when they want food attract a lot of attention; a tradition started by the daughter of Bishop Hervey in the 1870's. Many of the buildings are scheduled ancient monuments and sit alongside recent major developments that include a new café, shop, learning centre, accessible pathways and interpretation. These improvements also include a thriving new Community Garden and a contemporary Garden of Reflection.