Highlights of that part of the day included the ruined banquetting hall with the modern statue of a pilgrim placed on the lawned interior, the formal gardens, one section of which was laid out with a portcullis formed by low box hedging. Inside this were planted specimens of the Bishop series of red-leafed dahlias. These no doubt create a dense display of colour when in flower. Unfortunately our visit was too early to catch this. Inside the Palace we were shown a range of artefacts, inlcuding what must be the most uncomfortable chair ever - pity the poor bishops who had to endure time on that through lengthy services - bishops' gowns, and a portrait gallery of Bishops of Bath and Wells through the ages.
The free time over the lunch period gave members a chance to explore the adjacent mediaeval city. There was also enough time to visit the beautiful Vicars' Close, which is claimed to be the oldest purely residential street with original buildings that survives intact in England. It contains opposing terraces of symmetrical and uniform cottages, along with other buildings, all of which are Grade 1 listed. After this interlude, we congregated on the green in front of the cathedral's main facade prior to our tour of the interior of the cathedral.
Noteworthy within the cathedral is the enormous scissor arch structure erected at the central cross to support the tower when it started showing signs of instability. Although built many hundreds of years ago this structure has an elegant simplicity about it that could place it at home within an exhibition of modern sculpture. Also of interest within the building were the ornamental clock with its intriguing moving tableau that displays on the quarter hour, and the chained books in the old library.
After completing this part of the visit there was a short amount of time to enjoy the sun in the Cathedral grounds before we met the coach for our return to Exeter. All in all it was a fascinating and enjoyable day out.