History and Heritage


The Bishop's Palace

The Bishops Palace , Off Market Place, BA5 2PD


The Bishop’s Palace and Gardens in Wells has been home to the Bishops of Bath and Wells for over 800 years and this stunning medieval palace is now open for all to enjoy. It’s a great family day out in Somerset with a full programme of year-round events, free guided walks, open-air music and theatre, garden workshops and more and a slice of cake with afternoon tea at the ever-popular Bishop’s Table café is always welcome!

The Bishop's Palace

Visit Highlights: 
There are 14 acres of outstanding, RHS Partner gardens to explore, including the beautiful well pools from which the city takes its name, the medieval Palace building, and a full programme of family events, garden workshops, open air theatre, guided tours (included with admission) and a café with the best views in Wells! 
The Bishop’s Palace dates from the early-thirteenth century when Bishop Jocelin Trotman 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 are also welcome to look around the Bishop’s private Chapel and explore the ruined Great Hall. The moat has been home to mute swans since the 1800s. The tradition of swans on the moat at The Bishop’s Palace in Wells is thought to go back to the 1850’s when it is likely that a Bishop’s daughter first taught the swans to ring a bell at the Gatehouse for food. We now have two swan bells – one just beneath the window on the left of the Gatehouse, the other to the right – both with a rope hanging down for the swans to pull. 

The Palace Gardens are open daily from 10am until 4pm in winter and 9.30am - 5.30pm in summer although there may be restricted access due to events and activities taking place (check the website for details). There are toilets on site.  

Guided tours are also included with Admission – check available times at the Ticket Office on arrival. 

There’s so much for families to do at The Bishop’s Palace, whatever the weather.  Little ones love to explore the gardens, trying to spot the swans and their cygnets; there are waterfalls and springs to see, trees to climb and places to hide. 
Children also love to explore the magical discovery area that is the Dragon’s Lair in a far corner of the Gardens!  And throughout the school holidays, there are always plenty of events to keep families busy including crafting, outdoor gardening, family trails, storytelling and more. 

The Bishop’s Table café is open daily serving delicious, locally-sourced homemade food and some of the best coffee and cake you'll find in Wells.  It’s the perfect place to meet friends for breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea. 

From the main entrance of the Palace to the Palace building, around the gardens and to the café's dining area, there is level access. We have one lift to all floors of the Palace building. The outer gardens are accessible via a bridge which is 810mm wide. There are fully accessible toilets with level access within the Stableyard area and the Palace building. 

There are three spaces available on site for accessible parking, however, it is necessary to book these at least 48 hours before arrival via info@bishopspalace.org.uk or call 01749 988111.

Image Gallery

Opening Hours

Summer opening 9.30am to 5.30pm and Winter opening 10am to 4pm


Admission is £16 for Adults and £8 for Children (5-17), which allows the holder 12 months of return visits on any normal sightseeing day.  Children under 5 are free. 
We also offer Students and Blue Light Members discounted admission priced at £12.50 (valid with in-date student card or blue lights membership). 
Groups of 10 or more can also take advantage of special group day booking rates and tour packages. 
Points to note: HHA & RHS cardholder do not book online - bring your card for scanning on site on arrival.  
Dogs are very welcome in the gardens of The Bishop’s Palace - we do ask that they are kept on a short lead. The only area that dogs are not allowed in is the Dragon’s Lair area in the Arboretum, as this is a safe space for children. Dogs may not enter the Palace buildings unless they are assistance dogs.






          KEY FEATURES


              PET INFORMATION


                  TOURS & DEMONSTRATIONS

                    TRAVEL & TRADE


                        • Demonstrations Given

                        • Disabled toilets

                        • Dogs on Lead Only

                        • Educational Visits Accepted

                        • Family Fun

                        • Groups accepted

                        • Guide dogs permitted

                        • Guided Tours Available for Groups

                        • Guided Tours Available for Individuals

                        • In town/city centre

                        • Indoor Attraction

                        • Marketed towards children

                        • Marketed towards families

                        • Marketed towards senior citizens

                        • Min group size

                        • No Smoking Attraction

                        • On-Site café/restaurant

                        • Outdoor Attraction

                        • Parking Areas for Disabled Visitors

                        • Picnic Site

                        • Shop

                        • Special group rates

                        • Toilets for disabled visitors

                        • Wedding Venue

                        • Wi-fi available

                        Road Directions

                        The main routes to Wells are the A371 and the A39. The Bishop’s Palace is a short walk from all central car parks, use Whiting Way car park (long stay) which is located just off the A39 or Market Place (short stay, 1 hour maximum) is just outside the palace (not available Wednesday or Saturday as these are market days).

                        Public Transport Directions

                        The Bishop's Palace & Gardens is situated in the heart of Wells, Somerset and can be easily reached from Bath, 21 miles, Bristol, 21 miles and Glastonbury, 8 miles.

                        Bus: 29, 126, 161/162, 173, 375, 376, 377 all stop or pass through Wells. Alight at Wells Market Place.

                        Bike: The Bishop’s Palace is situated on Sustrans cycle route 3. Visit www.sustrans.org.uk for further information and maps. Cycle racks are available across the drawbridge and also in Market Place (just outside the Palace grounds).

                        Train: The nearest railway stations are Castle Cary (9 miles from Wells) and also Bristol Temple Meads and Bath Spa (both 21 miles), where you will find bus links to Wells.


                        The Bishop's Palace
                        The Bishops Palace
                        Off Market Place
                        BA5 2PD
                        United Kingdom

                        T: 01749 988111 (200)

                        E: info@bishopspalace.org.uk

                        W: bishopspalace.org.uk/

                        Facebook: @Bishopspalace

                        Twitter: @Bishops_Palace

                        Instagram: @bishopspalacewells/

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