Bishops Palace Garden, Chichester

I don’t know how many visitors to Chichester Cathedral know about this oasis tucked away between the Cathedral and the ring road behind. I say that because we were asked twice by people during our visit whether ‘they’ were allowed to come in too.

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And that, of course, is part of the charm. The garden has been beautifully – and un-councilly – designed, with private bits and wild bits and bits overflowing with goodness.

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Everywhere we turned, we saw people having conversations that made me long to sit down on the bench with them and join in.

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Or others I wanted just to ask what they were thinking about.

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Luckily then, perhaps, we were on a mission. We’d joined Emma Baynes for one of her popular herb walks around the gardens. Emma’s a herbalist and all-round fount of herb knowledge. Here she is identifying plants for us (despite competition from the hen party behind, I think we won on the hat front)….

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… and also she pointed out one of the treasures of the gardens – the Gingko Biloba tree – which several of our party admitted they never knew was there …

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But on a private note, another treasure in the garden is this bench…

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… that we put up for my parents – Reg and Elizabeth Peplow – and dated for their joint birthday, 22nd June. We liked to think of people walking by and wondering why that date. When I was small, I always thought all parents had to be born on the same day!

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Appropriate really because, of course, Chichester Cathedral is home to the famous Arundel Tomb, which inspired Philip Larkin’s poem concluding with the beautiful line, ‘Our almost-instinct almost true:/ What will survive of us is love.’ Here he is, reading it:

By the way, if you carry round the back of the Cathedral into town..

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.. you will find the wonderfully named Vicars’ Close, and get a peek at some perfect private gardens too. You can almost imagine yourself in a Joanna Trollope novel!

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2 thoughts on “Bishops Palace Garden, Chichester

  1. Thanks for sharing this Sarah. Last time I went to Chichester I got a bit lost and it seems as if I was only inches from stumbling across this treasure. Next time I’ll get a little bit more lost and find it!

  2. Just came across this whilst searching for info on how to find the gardens. As a student, some 30 years ago, I used to sit and read the Sunday papers there, but can no longer remember where the entrance was – I remember it being hidden away, which was part of its charm! Hoping to come back very soon – if you can enlighten me, I’d be very grateful!!

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