One of Exeter’s best kept secrets is set to open to the public this month. 

The Bishop’s Palace Garden, situated in the centre of Exeter, will be opening to the public during March and April. 

The garden will be opening in support of the Devon Historic Churches Trust, a charity which offer grants to churches throughout the Devon for repair work. 

The Bishop of Exeter, the Rt. Rev’d Robert Atwell, is the custodian of the historical garden which has been likened to ‘a haven of peace’. 

Bishop Robert said, “It is a privilege to be the custodian of this historic garden and a pleasure to share it with you in support of Devon Historic Churches Trust.”

The historic garden covers three acres and is bounded by the old Roman bank and city wall to the east, and by the Cathedral to the west.

The Bishops of Exeter have lived here since 1050. Between 1916 and 1948 the palace was requisitioned by the Government, serving as a military hospital during the First World War.

The Palace was reoccupied in 1948, when Bishop Robert Mortimer was appointed.  It was then that the gardens were restored and given their structure which still stands today.

In spring the garden is carpeted with spring flowers, including snowdrops, crocus, daffodils, narcissi and bluebells under the copper beech trees.  The garden is also home to a large abstract sculpture named Cyclus, carved by Axel Ewald. Cyclus is made from York stone and represents the cycle of seasons. 

Bishop's Palace Garden
(Diocese of Exeter)

There are also three large figures which represent the Holy Trinity situated on the old bowling green. These figures were carved by Frances May-Favata using Beer stone. 

In the middle of the Roman Bank is the ‘Sallieport’ which is a gate that was made by Bishop Carey in 1623.  The sallieport was created as a way to allow Bishop Carey to come and go, particularly when the city gates were shut.

The Bishop of Exeter, the Rt. Rev’d Robert Atwell, said, “As you stroll round its borders, I hope you will find renewal in the deep-down things of God, of which the tranquillity of the garden speaks and to which our cathedral bears witness in stone, prayer and praise.”

The garden will be open on Sunday 5 and 12 March and the 2 April, from 2-4pm. The entry is £4 for adults. Children are free but must be accompanied.