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The Bishop’s Palace and Gardens in Wells

Date: 21st March 2016
Author: Sarah Twist
Publisher: Darwin Escapes
Park: Cheddar Woods Resort & Spa
Local Area


A stunning medieval palace that is open to all to enjoy and explore the beautiful gardens, don’t forget to visit Wynn and Brynn, the world famous Swans!

The Bishops Palace and Gardens is located only a few miles away from our award winning Cheddar Woods Resort & Spa, in the heart of the historic City of Wells, a place film buffs (like me!) will know all about from the cult classic Hot Fuzz, starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. It was the place where they shot the location scenes for the fictional town of Sandford, a beautiful, old market country town in the heart of Somerset. The Bishops Palace is a stunning building and gardens to feast your eyes on and enjoy meeting the world famous Swans, who ring a bell to ask for dinner! I can’t even get my Hugo to sit down!

Read all about the greater good and the Palace…

Centuries of History


The Bishops Palace has been home to the Bishops of Bath and Wells for over 800 years, that is a really long time, it clearly isn’t the same Bishop, because you know he’s not a vampire. So anyway… 800 years of history, with the building dating back to the 13th Century and 14 acres of beautiful gardens to explore along with the stunning well pools. You can take a look around the Bishop’s private Chapel, also built by Bishop Burnell in the late 13th Century, with its large ornate windows beautifully decorated from the time period, and being restored and taken care of over the years. A place for quiet contemplation and to marvel at the structure and architecture. Explore the ruined Great Hall, built for King Edward I, has had years of exposure to the elements when it was turned into a Victorian folly, it is now in a very fragile condition and conservation work is being carried out. Visit the beautiful well pools and marvel at the sauce of water that the City of Wells takes it name from. A piece of history in the heart of Somerset.

Easter Festivities


Over the Easter period The Bishops Palace is playing to host to a number of great events, from Sowing workshops to fun family activities, visit them on the 28th March for the fantastic Medieval Falconry day. A fun filled day of fabulous flying displays from beautiful birds, and entertaining information from the wonderful people who care and love them. You can learn how they are used today, as well as how they were used back in the medieval times, marvel at their skills on training and they show off their well-honed moves for the captivated audience, fun feathered day out! on the 1st April the South Garden will be home to the Jesters and Fools day, with pop up jesters, fun finger puppets and with everyone getting the chance to make their very own cool jesters hat too! The Spring Life themed day on the 8th April is a must visit, with the little crafters in the family making fun spring flower bags, decoupage photo frames and Royal spring crowns! Don’t forget to follow the brand new Easter trail either, explore the Palace and the Gardens in a brand new way!

World Famous Swans


Wynn and Brynn are the resident Swans at The Bishops Palace, known around the world for ringing the bell when they are hungry – I want their trainer to come to my house, maybe Hugo and Bella could learn a thing or two! The estate Swans were first taught how to ring the bell by the daughter of Bishop Hervey in the 1870’s, by tying a bit of bread on to a rope and bell, and the tradition is still carried out today! Don’t worry though, the Swans and ducks get plenty of food and attention from the visiting tourists and ground staff, so if the caretakers are away from the bell when the Swans ring, they still get food, they also feed off the moat silt bed and surrounding environment too. Spring is the perfect time to visit as you might get to see some baby swans! Which I have recently found out are called Cygnets, how cute! If you visited last year you might have one of the eight Cygnets, did you meet Ben the Swan? You may get lucky and see some new babies this year…

So why not take a trip over the stunning medieval moat surrounding the Palace, walk over the beautiful wooden bridge that is draped with Willow tree branches (sound’s like Bridge to Terabithia right?) and marvel at the beauty surrounding you this Easter!
Have a fantastic time, The Bishops Palace and Garden is perfect anytime of the year!
Happy Adventuring Ladies and Gents!

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Photo Credits: Rodw, Len Williams, Dudley Miles, Paul Gillet, Mike Searle, Jeff Buck, Geoff Harris and Derek Voller.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We’ve now reopened all of our holiday resorts. Find out more.