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Wonderful Wells, Somerset

Wonderful Wells, Somerset

Wells in Somerset is a beautiful medieval city. It is packed with things to do and see. Wells is only a couple of miles away from my bed and breakfast and it has long held a special place in my heart.

Wells – Small but perfectly formed

I was fortunate enough to spend over a decade working in Wells, so it is a city I know well. Its size makes it easy to navigate, (it lays claim to being England’s smallest city) so you can experience all the city’s delights by foot.

Things to do in Wells Somerset

Wells is a place that offers so much. Historic buildings and incredible architecture aplenty. The city has over 300 listed buildings and a number of ancient monumnets. There’s also a wide range of independent shops, bars and cafes and award-winning market (held on Wednesdays and Saturdays). You can watch swans ring a bell to be fed on the moat of the Bishop’s Palace, marvel at the incredible West Front of Wells Cathedral and stroll down Vicars’ Close – one of the oldest, inhabited streets in Europe! And these are all within a 5 minute stroll of one another.

Things to do in Wells Somerset

Pic: Nick James

There’s also a museum, lovely park with adventure play area, an incredible concert hall and regular festivals which celebrate food, comedy, art and literature. (October is the prime month for festivals in Wells.)

An ambitious mosiac project is well underway. Once finished, this walkable map of Wells will be 6 metres in diameter and feature 750,000 hand-cut ceramic tiles! It will also depict events and people from the city’s past.

Things to do in wells somerset

I feel a list coming on…In no particular order, my favourite things to see and do in Wells are;

wells cathedral

The architecture inside and out is breathtaking. Outside you can gaze upon (probably) the oldest clock face in the world and the amazing sculptures that make up the West Front.

Things to do in Wells Somerset

Wells Cathedral. Pic: Nick James

Among the beautiful interior you’ll find scissor arches, stained glass windows and an octagonal chapter house. Regular concerts are held in Wells Cathedral and some are free. The Christmas carol concerts are spellbinding and always a sell out. (Tickets usually go on sale in August.)

On a sunny afternoon you can sit on the Cathedral Green (or if you are a little more ‘mature’, one of the numerous benches) and watch the cathedral take on a golden hue as the sunlight hits it.

In 2019, Simon Jenkins of The Guardian named Wells Cathedral the number one cathedral in the country. No argument here!

Things to do in Wells Somerset

the bishop’s palace

As the name suggests, this is the home of the Bishop of Bath and Wells. Within the 14 acres of gardens (which have been recognised by the R.H.S) you’ll find the springs which gave the city its name. (Apparently, the Romans settled here.)

In 2020, the palace celebrates its 800 year anniversary!

Things to do in Wells Somerset

The gardens at the Bishop’s Palace

Stroll back over the drawbridge and you might be lucky enough to see the resident swans ring a bell for food. During the August Bank Holiday the calm waters of the moat are temporarily churned up as teams paddle furiously to battle for honours in the Moat Boat Races. Even the Bishop takes part!

Things to do in Wells Somerset

Wells Moat Boat Races

VICARs’ CLOSE in Wells

This is one of the oldest, continually inhabited streets in Europe. The close has a beautiful symmetry to it and many of the houses are occupied by members of the cathedral choir. You will find it just off the Cathedral Green.

Things to do in Wells Somerset

Vicars’ Close

Wells Market & Shops

The Market Place, just off the Cathedral Green (in the opposite direction to Vicars’ Close) is the venue for a twice weekly market. Alongside independent stalls selling an array of handmade goods is an award-winning Farmers’ Market. This is a ‘foodies’ delight. Fresh fish, pies, fruit, veg and ethnic food from different nations. In total, there are usually over 50 different stalls selling their wares on market day.

Support one of the many independent retailers in the high street. These include a great hardware store (where you can still buy individual nails and screws), shoe shops, a butcher, cafes and coffee shops.

MORE THINGS TO DO IN WELLS

Visit Wells in May and you could be laughing. It’s the month in which the Wells Comedy Festival takes place. In October, the city hosts other festivals which encompass food, literature and art.

Things to do in Wells Somerset

Wells Food Festival attracts a good crowd

And if that wasn’t enough, Wells is also one of the routes for the Somerset Carnivals in November.

Things to do in Wells Somerset

Wells carnival. Pic: Nick James

ENJOY THE COUNTRYSIDE

If you are more of a walker/rambler than a stroller, then it’s worth knowing that Wells sits on the side of the Mendip Hills. This is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Mendip Way walking path takes in 49 miles of beautiful scenery, so Wells could be just one of your stop off points (hopefully The Cross at Croscombe will also feature…)

Anyway, do come and experience Wells, Somerset. It maybe small, but it’s perfectly formed.

View a comprehensive list of What’s on in Wells Somerset

 

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