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Discover Bishop's Palace and Gardens

Published on October 24th 2018

by pippa.churcher. All rights reserved

Encapsulated by a moat and dotted with well-pools, the Bishop’s Palace has a transitive air which carries you through layers of history.
The Palace has been home to the Bishops of Wells and Bath for the last 800 years, each Bishop leaving their mark on the garden, styling it in the fashion of the period. Head Gardener, James Cross, with his team and volunteers, work to echo these different styles, making Bishop’s Palace an exceptionally diverse garden with something for everyone.

A Romantic vista

The inner garden reflects on the picturesque style of the 19th Century, using the ruins as a focus point. Specimen trees hold the show alongside borders filled with tropical planting, inspired by 1830’s sketches.


Ginkgo biloba

Tulip Tree

Liriodendron tulipifera

Copper Beech

Fagus sylvatica (Atropurpurea Group)


Pittosporum viridiflorum

Round the corner, a bold, rose-filled parterre provides a summer display, with a hot wall for fruit. Varied planting echoes the strata of history under the soil and visitors are guided by borders of scent and colour.

Winter’s a charm

Amongst others, Witch hazel and Cornus bring late interest and as the season moves on, Primroses steal the show.
The moat banks are flooded with colour, a mosaic of yellow Primroses and blue Camas contrasting with still winter mornings. Explore further and Snowdrops lead through the arboretum.

A top on high

Climbing up to the Palace ramparts give visitors a full view of both the Inner and Outer Gardens. Beyond the walls, hidden springs and wells are brought into focus with foliage.
There is much more to explore in the Outer Garden including the Arboretum, Dragon's Lair and the children’s water wheel (not just for children!).

If a Garden could speak

Through scents of rose and burbles of mossy springs, the gardens would whisper secrets of the past. Luckily, you have Head Gardener, James, to show you around instead. In the Audio Tour James tells a full and rich story of today’s planting and the past’s influences.

What you’ll find is an inclusive site with a variety of interest, we hope you enjoy your visit!

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