Bishop's Palace, Wells, Somerset
When you're visiting Wells on your large group holiday in Somerset, allow time to go to the Bishop's Palace. It's a magical place, medieval and moated, tucked way behind Wells Cathedral; it's been home to the Bishops of Bath and Wells for over 800 years, so there's an awful lot of history within its walls. What you'd never guess is that behind the imposing gatehouse and portcullis are 14 acres of the most tranquil gardens, where it's nice to just sit for five minutes and soak up the ambience. Then have a stroll through the arboretum, admire the neatness of the Croquet Lawn, stop again and contemplate in the Garden of Reflection, and take in the ruins of the Great Hall. The little ones will love the Dragon's Lair Play Area and you can all watch the swans who live in the moat - when they want to be fed they pull on a bell in the wall, a tradition started in the 1870's.
Inside the palace you can see the Long Gallery, the vaulted medieval undercroft, and the Bishop's private chapel, and all the time the sense of peace that pervades is incredible. It makes you want to linger so extend your visit with homemade cake and a pot of tea in The Bishop's Table Cafe; it makes such a lovely way to round off your visit.
Open: 9:30am-5:30pm every day from the end of March to the end of October
1:00am-4:00pm from the end of October to the end of March
Closed Christmas Eve from 2:00pm, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and 1st-3rd January
All informaiton correct at the time of writing