Discover the life of a pioneering family of the Methodism movement at a hands-on museum set inside the rooms of an historic 18th-century chapel.
John Wesley’s Chapel (aka The New Room) holds the honor of being the world’s oldest Methodist building. John Wesley, a key player in the development of Methodism, built the chapel in 1739 and his family lived in the rooms above it. John Wesley’s Chapel went on to become one of the religion’s most significant centers and helped in its introduction in the U.S. Since 2017 it has housed a cafe, library and museum.
The chapel appears largely as it would have done in 1748. Galleries surround the central altar and on either side of the hall are the original pews, on which male and female worshippers sat separately.
There’s an octagonal space in the ceiling, designed to allow natural light to enter and for those in the upper floor rooms to observe services. Note a distinct lack of windows on the ground floor, which was a security measure against vigilante attacks.
Find interactive museum exhibits located in the rooms once used as lodging by the Wesley family and Methodist preachers. Learn about the work carried out by missionaries to promote Methodism throughout the British Empire and USA. Understand the importance of John Wesley to the religious movement and the challenges he came across. See Wesley’s study and bedroom and have fun dressing up in period clothing.
Check the chapel’s calendar for events such as communion services, craft workshops and folk concerts. Enjoy fair-trade and organic food and drink at the cafe. The chapel shop sells Methodism literature and souvenirs.
You’ll find the chapel within Bristol Shopping Quarter, in Bristol City Centre. It’s a short walk from Bristol’s central bus terminal and 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) from Temple Meads train station. Metered car parks are within walking distance of the attraction. Castle Park and St. Nicholas Market are some nearby attractions.
John Wesley’s Chapel is open from Monday to Saturday. There is an admission fee for the museum. Guided tours are available for a fee for groups of 10 or more visitors by prior arrangement. Visit the attraction’s official website to find more information.