Wells Travel Guide

  • The Carriage restaurant
    The Carriage restaurant
    by Myfanwe
  • The Carriage restaurant
    The Carriage restaurant
    by Myfanwe
  • lovely scenery
    lovely scenery
    by uglyscot

Wells Highlights

  • Pro
    iandsmith profile photo

    iandsmith says…

     Cathedral, old centre and walks around same. 

  • Con
    KittyLou profile photo

    KittyLou says…

     Not on a rail line 

  • In a nutshell
    Sjalen profile photo

    Sjalen says…

     England as you imagine it 

Wells Things to Do

  • The Old Station Inn

    The Old Station Inn is a tourist attraction in its' own right in my opinion. It was built in the 1920's and was originally commisioned as a Hotel for the now closed Hallatrow Railway station. Inside the pub you will find cosy seating areas amidst an array of antiquities, signs and even a Citroen C3 car coming out of the wall! It has a great...

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  • Wells Cathedral

    We were not able to enter the cathedral. I think a wedding was in progress as a troop of clergymen went and the doors were closed behind them. I walked around and admired the facade with its numerous statues. The tower , the doors, minor carvings all added to its majesty. I am so glad I finally had the chance to see ity.

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  • The Bishop's Palace

    Walk through the arch to the grounds of the Bishop's Palace. Green lawns, trees and a moat add to the splendour of the buildings themselves.

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  • Vicar's Close

    Vicar's Close is found to the north side of the Cathedral and is, or claims to be the oldest residential street in Europe with almost all of it's buildings intact. It dates back to the 14th century. At the entry, there's a gatehouse with a hall in it and at the back end there's a building that houses a chapel and a library. It is still in use by...

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  • Wells Cathedral

    There has been a church or cathedral on this spot since 705 when a minster church was founded here. The present cathedral was built starting in the 13th century. There has been damage over the years, particularly during the English Civil War when it was used to stable horses. The lead from the roof was melted down for bullets and they used some of...

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  • Ebbor Gorge

    After we had made the mistake to visit Wookey Hole we asked the owner of our bed and breakfast for other, more interesting sights. She recommended a hike in Ebbor Gorge, and that was for once a good decision. Ebbor Gorge is a canyon in the Mendip Hills leading up to a little mountain plateau from where you can enjoy gorgeous views over the hills...

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  • A Fine Ensemble of Houses: Vicar's Close

    Vicar's Close is England's oldest row of terraced houses and Europe's oldest continuously inhabited medieval street, dating back to 1363. Every building looks quite similar with its little front garden and the huge chimney on its roof which gives the street a very attractive look. The look is enhanced by making the street wider towards its upper...

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  • Penniless Porch

    Penniless Porch is the name of the archway built around 1450 which takes you from Wells' market square to the cathedral green. It's the place where the beggars were allowed to sit and beg for alms. Nowadays, it's mostly the tourists taking a picture of themselves as beggars. I couldn't resist either...

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  • Wells Cathedral

    Ever since I've seen a photograph of the scissor arches in Wells Cathedral, I wanted to go there. I finally managed to do that this year - and was not disappointed. Wells Cathedral is surely one of England's most beautiful cathedrals. Built from 1191 to 1240 (the towers are from a later date), it is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, namely...

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  • Visit the cathedral

    Obviously.....the cathedral is what gives this small settlement its city status, and it is a wonderful example of Medieval craftsmanship.Wells cathedral was started in the 1180s, gained cathedral status in 1245 and had reached more or less its present form by 1306, with the eight-sided Lady Chapel being completed by 1326.It is a stunning building....

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  • Visit the Chapter House

    Within the cathedral you will find the most wonderfully-worn set of stone stairs leading to the chapter House.This is the part of the cathedral where the 'chapter' (the clerics involved with the cathedral) had their meetings.Wells' octagonal Chapter House dates from the early 1300s, the same as the main body of the cathedral. It has a beautiful...

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  • Walk around the close

    An English cathedral 'close' is the area which housed all the offices and clergy of the cathedral (and still does, in many cases).In Wells this area is called the 'Liberty of St Andrew'The Liberty was originally fully enclosed. You can still see a large and ancient gateway on Sadler Street, a smaller entrance gateway near Vicars' Close (see tip...

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  • Indoor Market and Street Market

    Every Wednesday and Saturday, there's a street market in the town center of Wells. The market is not very exciting, but if you are in a foreign country, it is - in my opinion - interesting to see what they have on offer. Beside fruits and vegetables, there was the usual stuff like warm food and clothing.Things become interesting when there is also...

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  • Wells Cathedral

    Simply stunning mediaeval Cathedral.Beautiful building, great stained glass and clocks that are 100's of years old.

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  • Bishop's Palace Gardens and Moat

    The best part of visiting the Bishop's Palace, if you luck into good weather, is strolling around the moat and veiwing the gardens. It is fun to watch the swans and admire the lovely plantings.

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Wells Hotels

See all 14 Hotels in Wells

Wells Restaurants

  • Next Stop......

    The Carriage Restaurant is literally an old pullman railway carriage located to the rear of the Station Inn. We decided to eat here after booking one of the rooms through the Station Inn for a night. We were not disappointed in the least. The interior of the carriage is tastefully decorated to its' former glory, it was modelled on the dining car of...

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  • You're in the jailhouse now

    The City Arms is in a building that used to be the jail for the City of Wells and later, an abbatoir. Despite the rather offputting history, the bar and restaurant is quite nice. On two levels, with a sunny outdoor court, the atmosphere is comfortable and the food is very good. They use as much locally sourced food as possible and have a good range...

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  • Great food at Cafe Piano

    Cafe Piano is not only a cafe, but also a very good restaurant. We came there in the evening and were the first guests, but it filled quickly and by the end of our meal every table was occupied and several potential guests had to leave hungry...The food is very good. My wife had pork loins in cider and cream sauce, I enjoyed tagliatelle with...

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  • Very old pub

    This is a proper pub.It's much larger than it looks: the building stretches back a long way. There's a small front 'parlour' with a roaring fire, then the bar, then a long room with nooks and crannies and wooden furniture, and finally a small enclosed yard-with-tables for the smokers. There are even heaters in that yard...and customers have control...

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  • Good pub in Wells

    We stopped here for dinner one night during our stay in Wells and were very happy. There are several rooms indoors, but since it was sunny out we went up to the outdoor deck and enjoyed a few beers and a light meal. The soup was especially good.

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  • Pleasant Pub in Wells

    The Fountain Inn is a pleasant pub and restaurant close to the centre of Wells. We walked here one night to have dinner and were happy with what we ordered, but were too full for desert. So the next night we returned to try the deserts - it was worth the return trip.Both nights the service was friendly and helpful. They made us feel at home, even...

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Wells Transportation

  • bus

    Wells is no longer by the railway but decently served by bus these days. You get here by bus from Bristol or Bath, both crossing the Mendips and its nice villages along the way. Those two buses go on to Glastonbury and Taunton as well. On top of that, you can catch a train to Weston-super-Mare and from there catch another bus to Wells via Cheddar....

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  • Take the bus from Bath

    Too bad there is no train station in Wells. We took a bus from the Bath bus station to and from Wells.

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  • Bus To/From Glastonbury

    If you are not going to Wells from Bristol, chances are you’re taking a trip from another local tourist hotspot – Glastonbury. In addition to boarding bus 376, you can also hop on a 163. They both have their departure point right next to the entrance to the Glastonbury Abbey. The buses are relatively frequent, and the trip takes as little as 15...

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Wells Shopping

See all 3 Shopping in Wells
  • The Saturday Market

    On Saturdays there is a market held in front of the gate to the Cathedral There is such a variety of goods from plants, fruit,cakes, clothing, traditional medicines, dog bedding, furs...you name it.There is a fountain at the start of the market and water runs in gulleys on either side of the square.. as stated above. more or less than usual.

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  • Market

    Wells Market Place sees the market open at least Wednesdays which I know since we were there. It is quite small but still has local food produce, cheap clothes and all those gadgets you expect from an English market.

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  • Books galore

    This bookshop is amazing. If you are a bookaholic then this is a must see. You can browse for hours.Bookbarn has shops in Temple Cloud (outside Bath) & Bristol. Bookbarn UK LTD has been in business and trading on the internet for several years, they can be contacted by post on the phone or in person at one of their shops. I recommend emailing the...

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Wells Local Customs

  • Sjalen's Profile Photo
    1 more image

    by Sjalen Written Mar 5, 2006

    3 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The swans at the Bishop's Palace ring a little bell when they are hungry (in the gate just where they are in the first picture). They were trained to some generations ago, and these days the swans themselves train their offspring.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Historical Travel
    • Birdwatching

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Wells Tourist Traps

  • King_Golo's Profile Photo
    The Cave (Who can find the only stalactite?) 1 more image

    by King_Golo Updated May 14, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    ... is Wookey Hole, just a few miles outside Wells. While the medieval city of Wells is lovely in every respect, Wookey Hole is a tiny village in the middle of nowhere which apparently was in desperate need of an attraction to compete with Wells. The Mendip Hills which sprawl just behind the village are full of caves, so what would be better than luring naive tourists into the caves, telling them they are "gigantic", "breath-taking" and "not to be missed"? We should have been warned: there is no such thing as a free lunch! The caves are small and consist of three rooms with approximately five stalagmites and stalactites and the occasional sleeping horseshoe bat. The guide considered himself funny and made jokes in an incomprehensible dialect, the legend of the caves is only vaguely interesting... But what is worst is the entrance fee: £16 per person!!!!!!!!! For this money you get the rather boring caves and a stupid, abysmal dinosaur theme park with plastic tyrannosauri, an exhibition of circus wagons, a mirror labyrinth, a room with flipper machines from in the year dot plus several over-expensive souvenirs and pay-extra attractions. Seriously, is there anyone in the world who would enjoy this?

    Unique Suggestions: If you happen to be a bored-by-life millionaire and have children who are interested in dinosaurs made from plastic and covered in plastic snow, then visit Wookey Hole. If not, turn around as soon as you see the warning signs: "Funny" signs with witches on them. Press the pedal to the metal and drive away, or you might be sucked into this tourist trap, too.

    Fun Alternatives: Ebbor Gorge nearby (see another tip) is a very nice place for a hike.

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Wells Off The Beaten Path

  • Gardens and Houses

    We had studied a brochure giving houses and gardens which deserved a visit. We set off along narrow country lanes amid great scenery,until we came to the first place on our list. Oops, it was closed becausethere was a private wedding reception being held, and even the gardens were not available to visit. However we saw some interesting trees when...

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  • An unusual house....

    I spotted this pair of houses as I wandered the back streets of Wells one late afternoon.They are very unusual because there are five sculptures of faces set into its brickwork. I recognised Queen Victoria and Gladstone (one of her Prime Ministers) but would love to know who the other two are...they were too eroded to be easily recognisable..I've...

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  • Almshouses

    'Alms' is money given to the poor.'Almshouses' are accommodation provided for worthy, but poor, churchgoers (most often single people, usually widows or widowers). The funds for their provision were often left by wealthy citizens, and administered by the church.There are almshouses in other European countries, but the UK has many ancient ones.I...

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Explore Deeper into Wells
Finding serenity and peace at the well
Things to Do
St Cuthbert's Church
Things to Do
Vicars Close
Things to Do
Look for the swans.
Things to Do
Visit the Bishop's Palace
Things to Do
See the clock...
Things to Do
Bishops Palace
Things to Do
Wells Cathedral
Things to Do
Vicars Close
Things to Do
Hot Fuzz - Movie filmed in Wells
Things to Do
It takes time to see it all
Things to Do
The arches, no, not those arches
Things to Do
Alms houses
Things to Do
The Bishop's Palace
Things to Do
The Vicars' Close
Things to Do
Cathedral clocks
Things to Do
The Chapter House at the cathedral
Things to Do
Wells Cathedral
Things to Do
The stained glass
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The wonder of it all
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The steps, worn beyond belief
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Vicar's close - fifty 14th century terraced houses
Things to Do
Episcopal Palace
Things to Do
Bishop's Mouth
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Penniless Porch
Things to Do
Wells Cathedral
Things to Do
The Ancient Gate House culinarium
Restaurants
The Quire
Things to Do
Bishop's Palace
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Somerset Museum
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Cornish pasties
Restaurants
Vicar's Close
Things to Do
Wells Cathedral
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The oldest street
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The Bishop's residence
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Artisans at work
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To market, to market
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Grand entrance
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The Penniless Porch
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Time for a shop
Things to Do
Map of Wells

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