As a newbie resident of Wells I’ve also been lucky enough to explore England’s smallest city as a tourist. During the time since moving here I’ve found some little gems hiding away amongst the quirky streets and beautiful buildings. Of course Wells is famous for its breath-taking cathedral and rightly so, but Wells and its surrounding area has a lot more to offer. Although small I initially found Wells to be a bit of a maze with hidden streets and cul-de-sacs, I’d recommend purchasing a map for £2 in one of the well signposted car parks.
If visiting the Cathedral you will need a good few hours to look around and marvel at its beauty. You should also make sure that you wander over to Vickers’ Close adjacent to it. Built in the 14th Century it is claimed to be the first and oldest intact residential street it Europe, and its cobbled street and quaint houses will not fail to charm you. Also alongside the Cathedral green is Wells Museum and the permanent memorial to Henry ‘Harry’ Patch, who before his death in 2009 was the Last Fighting Tommy. Entry to the museum is £3 and although small it is well worth a visit.
Whether history is your thing or not, you will be amazed by The Bishop’s Palace. Built in Medieval times, the palace has been home to the Bishops of Bath and Wells for 800 years and is surrounded by a beautiful moat which is home to the famous mute swans who ring a bell when they want food! There are 14 acres of gardens to explore, along with guided tours, the Bishop’s private chapel and the ruined Great Hall. If you’ve worked up an appetite there is a café at the palace aswell as tea rooms, pubs and coffee shops surrounding the Cathedral but if you are looking for something a little different, I would personally recommend Magpie Bistro Bar on Market Street. The décor is lovely and there’s a friendly atmosphere that really compliments the great food and even better cocktails. The book worm in me loves the menus that are inside old books, Magpie is definitely a favourite place to relax in Wells.
There are some lovely little independent shops and some high street stores in Wells, aswell as a market in the square on a Wednesday and Saturday. However if you are a shopaholic you may be disappointed and I’d recommend Clarks Village in nearby Street for outlet shopping or Kilver Court in Shepton Mallet. Here you will find the Mulberry shop, Orla Kiely and other designer clothing aswell as locally sourced home and beauty products.
Wells is a good base to explore the beautiful surrounding landscape. Head to Glastonbury and climb the Tor for truly magnificent views which span 360 degrees; Cheddar Gorge where you can explore the caves, hop on a sightseeing bus, rock climb and make friends with the resident goats! The world famous caves of Wookey Caves are close by which hosts over 20 attractions and which all the family will love including a circus, a 4D ‘The Lost World’ experience, Valley of the Dinosaurs and Adventure Golf. There really is so much to offer for all the family whatever the weather, set in a beautiful area of Britain.