If you’re looking for family-friendly things to do in Gorey, Wells House And Gardens is well worth a visit.
Situated at Ballyedmond in Gorey, it’s home to endless things to do, from the house tour and the gardens to the animal farm and the woodland walks.
In the guide below, you’ll find everything from prices and what to expect to how to spend a night. Dive on in!
Some quick need-to-knows before you visit Wells House and Gardens
Although a visit to Wells House and Gardens in County Wexford is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
2. Opening hours
Wells House and Gardens is open seven days a week, from 10am to 4.30pm.
The entry fees to Wells House vary. It’s €9 for adults, €7 for seniors and students, €5 for children and a family ticket (two adults and up to three children) is €24. The admission price includes free parking, the gardens and arboretum, the enchanted fair walk and animal, the craft courtyard and more.
4. The restaurant
The Brambles Restaurant offers breakfast, morning coffees, lunch or afternoon teas and specialises in artisan, hand-produced food and award-winning coffees served by trained baristas. The restaurant is open every day from 10am until five in the afternoon.
5. Spend a night
You can spend the night at Wells House in one of the ten Courtyard Cottages that were built in the 1600s. The quaint cottages that housed the estate’s tenants in the 1800s have been fully restored and have an olde-world feel to them—wood burning stoves, loft bedrooms—with the essential modern touches such as high-speed Wi-Fi.
About Wells House and Gardens
Wells House & Gardens was built in the late 17th century by John Warren, who owned more than 6,000 acres of land in the local area. When he passed, the land was purchased by the Doyne family who ran the Wells estate for more than 260 years.
In the 19th century, the family used the English architect Daniel Robertson to completely redesign the house and its surroundings, and it is this work that you see today.
In 1965, the German industrialist Gerhard Rosler bought the house and lands and moved to Wells House with his family. Gerhard added self-catering options and a bowling alley which is now the Robertson Hall.
The Wells Estate is currently 450 acres (100 acres of Woodland) and today is owned by Uli and his wife Sabine Rosler. It opened as a tourist attraction in 2012 and is now one of the most popular places to visit in Wexford.
Things to do at Wells House and Gardens
There’s plenty of things to see and do around Wells House and Gardens, from walks and the animal farm to the house tour and much more. Here’s what you can expect from a visit.
1. The house tour
Guided house tours take place on Saturdays and Sundays at 1pm, 2pm and 3pm. They are conducted by experts wearing Victorian dress and will take you back in time to when the rooms witnessed the stories of Cromwell, Irish rebellions and the Great Famine.
The tour throws in information about the wealthy families who lived at Wells House and the architect Daniel Robertson.
2. The animal farm
Part of Wells House’s attractiveness is the Animal Farm where you can say hello the Pygmy goats, rabbits, guinea pigs, budgies, meerkats and more. Exotic species include the Prevost squirrel, which is found in Asia.
These tri-coloured mammals, black and chestnut with a white stripe, are active during the day and mostly stay in trees. They eat fruits, nuts, seeds, buds, flowers, insects and bird eggs.
3. The woodland walks
Wells House has two woodland walks, which are 1.2km each and take you on a journey of magic and wonder. The Lady Frances Woodland Walk is named after Lady Frances who lived at Wells after her marriage to Charles Mervyn.
The women at Wells House often walked around the grounds and woodlands to take exercise and find inspiration for their paintings. It is now popular with the fairies and home to the characters from the Gruffalo books.
Mogue’s Enchanted Woodland Walk is named after the estate’s gardener and is home to numerous trolls, bears, fairies, witches and wizards! The highlight is 20ft high dragon, Drayco, which the children love.
4. The gardens
The gardens at Wells House were designed by architect Daniel Robertson between 1835 and 1838. He introduced many landscape features including the Terrace Gardens, the Radiating Parterre, Arboretum and the Main Avenue.
Spring and summer are the best times to see them as they explode in a riot of colour and scent. Look out for the peacocks too.
5. The Arboretum
Wells House appeals to families so much because of the fairies and the Arboretum has a fairy house in it, with two commissioned sculptures by Emma Jane Rushworth flying in the skies above. You can also buy and plant a tree here in memory of a loved one.
Look out too, for the fountain where Fairy Flo sits. When you leave the Arboretum, you enter Hobbinton land where you will find the homes the Hobbits made for themselves in the grounds at Wells House.
6. The playground
At Wells House & Gardens, there is a state-of-the-art adventure playground with swings, slides and climbing frames and ropes. The picnic area is next to the playground and great on a sunny day.
Otherwise, you can pop into the restaurant for the home-made baking treats.
Things to do near Wells House and Gardens
One of the beauties of Wells House and Gardens is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best places to visit in Wexford.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Wells House and Gardens!
1. Beaches galore (15-20-minute drive)
There’s countless beaches in Wexford and there’s some great ones nearby. Morriscastle Beach is only a 15-minute spin away, while Ballinoulart Bay Beach is a 20-minute drive, and Ballyvaldon Bay Beach is the same distance away. Great in winter or summer for a stroll.
2. Talbot Lake and Nature Walk (15-minute drive)
Talbot Lake and Nature Walk is a terrific place for a stroll in scenic surroundings. There are Shetland ponies, goats and alpacas for the children to feed and an adventure playground, while the admission fee is something of a steal at €2. Look out for the fairy doors on the trees and there’s a converted caravan serving teas and coffees.
3. National 1798 Rebellion Centre (25-minute drive)
The National 1798 Rebellion Centre in Enniscorthy tells the story of the 1798 Rebellion, a major uprising against British rule. Organised by the Society of United Irishmen, a republican group influenced by the American and French revolutions, the rebellion enjoyed initial success, particularly in County Wexford, but was suppressed by Government militia forces and the death toll is estimated as between 10,000 and 50,000.
FAQs about Wells House in Wexford
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘When does it open?’ (see above) to ‘How much are tickles?’.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
Is Wells House and Gardens worth visiting?
Yes. Regardless of whether you’re visiting solo or with the kids, you’ll spend a memorable couple of hours here.
What is there to do at Wells House and Gardens?
You can take the house tour, head off on the woodland walks, grab a coffee in the cafe, visit the animal farm, see the Arboretum or take the kids to the playground.
Emma Baird is a lifestyle editor and novelist. She has worked in the communications industry for more than 25 years, and loves animals, the countryside and lingering in a great pub for the food and the craic.