Bishop’s Palace and Gardens

The Bishop’s Palace & Gardens in Wells, Somerset has been home to the Bishops of Bath and Wells for over 800 years and this stunning medieval palace, along with its 14 acres of RHS partner gardens, is open for all to enjoy.

Surrounded by a breath-taking moat, visitors can cross a flagstone drawbridge, walk under the portcullis and experience a true hidden gem in the heart of the City of Wells, situated next door to Wells Cathedral.

There are 14 acres of outstanding, RHS Partner gardens to explore, including the beautiful well pools from which the city takes its name, family events, guided tours and a café with the best views in Wells.

The Palace

The uniquely moated palace has an imposing gatehouse with portcullis and drawbridge which give the impression that you may be entering a castle structure, but inside is a peaceful and tranquil residence for the visitor to enjoy.

The Bishop’s Palace dates from the early-thirteenth century when Bishop Jocelin 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 rooms within the Palace. You can see the Bishop’s private Chapel and explore the ruined Great Hall.

The springs or flowing wells, from which the city gets its name, are found within the grounds of the Bishop’s Palace. The water emerging from the wells, flowing off the Mendip hills, is channelled into the moat via streams and a waterfall. The moat has been home to mute swans since the 1800s which ring a bell alongside the Gatehouse when they want to be fed.

The Gardens

There is evidence that these gardens existed here even before Bishop Jocelyn began work on building the Palace c.1220. Over the years the gardens have changed as successive bishops have added their legacy and today these gardens in Somerset have Grade II listed garden status due to their special historic nature.

14 acres of beautiful gardens, include formal planting, picturesque and romantic style gardens, a community garden, a contemporary garden and an arboretum.