{{UPFirstLetterLCTheRest('The Bishop\u0027s Palace')}}

Open Daily, 6 Jan–23 Dec; 10am–4pm, 6 Jan–27 Mar & 31 Oct–23 Dec; 10am–6pm, 28 Mar–30 Oct. Please see website for special event closures.


Partner Garden
Free access for RHS members at selected times


Wells, Somerset

14 acres

01749 988111

Visit website


Please see website for admission prices.

RHS members

Free access (Member 1 only) - Fri when open.


  • access
  • Baby changing facilities
  • Café
  • Children's activities
  • Children's playground
  • Dogs welcome
  • facilities
  • Free carer entry
  • Gift shop
  • Group rates
  • Picnics allowed
  • Plants for sale
  • Restaurant
  • Toilets


  • Arboretum
  • Autumn colour
  • Colour themed borders
  • Herbaceous border
  • Organic management
  • Pond or lake
  • Prairie/naturalistic planting
  • Sculpture
  • Water garden
  • Wildlife planting and features
  • Winter garden

About the garden

Owned by
Merryn Kidd

Hidden within the ramparts of The Bishop’s Palace and surrounded by the moat, lies 5.6ha (14 acres) of beautiful and tranquil gardens. Ranging from the historic to the contemporary, there is much to see in this Grade II listed garden.

There is evidence that a garden existed here even before Bishop Jocelin began work on the Palace in c.1206, and also a formal 17th-century Dutch-style garden. While little remains of these earlier gardens, visitors can still experience today the picturesque and gardenesque style, started in the 1820s by Bishop Law.

Here visitors can admire specimen trees (including mulberry, tulip and Indian bean trees), flamboyant climbers, bold and luxuriant planting of shrubs (such as Tetrapanax) and perennials. Contrasting with this is the contemporary Garden of Reflection where prairie planting mixes grasses and perennials with a grove of silver birch trees.

A colour-palette of fragrant roses will greet visitors in the parterre where quince trees hold centre stage. Nearby, Bishop dahlias flourish from mid-summer into autumn. Cross the moat to discover the springs rising into the well pools from which the City of Wells gets its name.

Here are borders with shade and damp-loving plants such as astilbes, hostas, iris, rheums and rodgersias with inspiration coming from the famous Beth Chatto gardens in Essex. A long border, originally planted by plantswoman Mary Keen, is full of shrubs, roses and perennials giving a long season of interest.

In the arboretum are many fine trees including the highly scented, weeping, silver lime (Tilia ‘Petiolaris’), a foxglove tree (Paulownia tomentosa), the hop hornbeam (Ostrya carpinifolia) and Persian ironwood (Parrotia persica). From early February the ground beneath the trees is covered with a succession of wildflowers including snowdrops, primroses, bluebells, violets, cow parsley, bee and pyramid orchids.

Plants of special interest

  • Agapanthus
  • Alliums
  • Asters
  • Bluebells
  • Cornus (for winter stems or spring bracts)
  • Cut flowers
  • Daffodils
  • Dahlias
  • Ferns
  • Fruit blossom
  • Fuchsias
  • Grasses
  • Hellebores
  • Hemerocallis
  • Herbs
  • Hostas
  • Irises
  • Magnolias
  • Roses
  • Shade-loving plants
  • Snowdrops
  • Spring bulbs
  • Sweet peas
  • Topiary
  • Vegetables
  • Wisteria

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.