It might be England’s smallest city but there is plenty to see and do in beautiful Wells. Nestled within the Mendip Hills in Somerset, this medieval city is full of “Olde” English charm and architectural beauty. It’s the perfect place for a Sunday wander or a relaxing weekend getaway.
Here’s 5 things not to miss during your next visit to Wells and Somerset…
1. Explore Wells Cathedral
A visit to Wells wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the city’s most famous attraction: Wells Cathedral. It’s truly mind-blowing to think that this impressive building dates back all the way to the 12th century!
Wander around the tranquil cloisters and gardens and take some time to admire the impressive architecture and stained glass windows. Admission is free but there is a suggested donation of £6 pp to contribute towards the ongoing maintenance of the Cathedral and its grounds. You can also take advantage of one of the free scheduled tours, lasting about an hour between Monday to Saturday.
Don’t miss Vicar’s Close tucked just behind the Cathedral – one of the prettiest and most picturesque streets in Britain and the oldest inhabited street in Europe!
2. Discover The Bishop’s Palace and Gardens
Next door to the Cathedral entrance is a stunning medieval palace – complete with moat and drawbridge! It’s free to wander around the grounds and beautiful gardens or you can choose to pay £7.99pp to delve further into the Palace, including The Great Hall, Bishop’s Chapel and the famous wells that gave the city its name.
A number of events take place in the grounds of the palace year-round – from concerts and workshops to historic re-enactments. Check it out here to see what’s going on during your next visit.
3. Wander around the Market Place
You may well recognise the quirky streets of Wells from Hot Fuzz, which put this little city on the map for film-buffs across the globe! The Market Place and Bishop’s Palace will also serve as the backdrop for the new series of Poldark, so even more reason to go now and see what all the fuss is about!
Take some time to wander around the historic centre and explore some of the quaint shops and cafes along the cobbled streets. If you are visiting on a Wednesday or Saturday, be sure to check out the famous Farmers’ Markets, selling local produce and goods.
4. Drive through Cheddar Gorge
Located just 20 minutes outside of Wells, it is well worth a drive out to Cheddar Gorge to experience the dramatic cliffs and limestone gorges towering around you. As you wind your way through the Gorge, it’s easy to see why this has been labelled an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England.
It’s free to drive through Cheddar Gorge or you can pay a small £3 all-day parking fee if you want to stop and take in your surroundings. There are lots of little shops and cafes to browse or if you have a couple of hours to spare, head up to the Lookout Tower or take a walk around the cliff-tops. And for the more adventurous at heart, why not have a go at caving or rock-climbing?!
5. Take a coffee break
As a self-confessed caffeine addict, I love checking out the local coffee scene in any new place I visit and Wells certainly did not disappoint. Strangers with Coffee serves up the perfect brew in a relaxed and friendly environment – an ideal way to break up a busy day of sightseeing. Across the road, Andre’s Cafe is also a lovely little spot for a coffee and a cake or a larger lunch plate (try the bruschetta with parma ham – it’s delicious!)
… And further afield
If you have a bit longer to spend in Somerset, there are plenty more attractions to discover just outside of Wells… Explore the beautiful surrounding Mendip Hills and lakes of the Chew Valley – check out some of the most popular day hikes here.
Alternatively, head to the neighbouring town of Glastonbury – known for its famous festival but with so much more to offer. Explore the historic ruins of Glastonbury Abbey, the iconic Glastonbury Tor landmark or simply wander the quirky streets of the town. If you’re travelling with kids, Wookey Hole Caves is also close by and can be combined with a trip to Cheddar Gorge for a fun-filled day for the whole family!