Best of Wells, Somerset: 5 places to visit

Wells Vicar's Close medieval lane

The splendid city of Wells is located in the heart of Somerset County, 50 minutes away from Bath and Bristol. Surrounded by the Mendip Hills, the medieval town offers a serene escape to striking architecture, charming British quintessence and enthralling rolling hills. Wells derives its name from its natural springs, found in the enchanting gardens of the Bishop’s Palace. The city’s top attractions also include the majestic cathedral, delightful market town streets and stunning countryside.

To explore the best of Wells, I recommend you visit the following 5 places.

Contents:
1. The majestic Wells Cathedral
2. The enchanting Vicars’ Close
3. The charming Bishop’s Palace
4. The quintessential town streets
5. The peaceful Palace Fields

The majestic Wells Cathedral

Located in the heart of the city, the imposing Gothic cathedral is a must-see. Built in the 12th century, the cathedral boasts a striking facade of detailed medieval sculptures. Depicting scenes from the Bible as well as kings, bishops and angels, the figures are the landmark’s key distinctive feature and lend it an arresting and commanding presence.

Front facade of Wells Cathedral
Wells Cathedral’s striking facade

The interior of Wells Cathedral is as grand as its facade. The landmark’s other characteristics are its unique scissor arches, characteristic honeycombed ceiling, and typical Gothic cloisters. Don’t forget to also visit the serene gardens and enjoy superb views of rear of the cathedral.

The enchanting Vicars’ Close

For the most enchanting street in England, visit the Vicars’ Close. Located next to the cathedral, the lane was built in the 14th century for the men of the choir. Walking along Vicars’ Close, you’ll enjoy a stroll through time and discover a double row of gorgeous cottages featuring tall chimneys and cute front gardens.

View of Wells Cathedral from Vicar's Close
Views of Wells Cathedral from Vicars’ Close

The charming Bishop’s Palace

The Bishop’s Palace is a peaceful enclave offering the perfect escape. As its name indicates, the landmark has been home to the Bishop of Bath and Wells since the 13th century. Flanking Wells Cathedral, the medieval palace features a delightful moat and ramparts, both built in the 1300s for protection and as a symbol of power. The Bishop’s Palace also boasts the romantic ruins of a great hall and the city’s natural springs, from which the name Wells derives. You can also visit the palace building, chapel and gardens for an admission fee. For more information, please visit bishopspalace.org.uk.

Ruins of great hall at Wells Bishop's Close
Ruins of the Great Hall at the Bishop’s Palace

The quintessential town streets

Stroll along the town’s quintessential streets and revel in the charm of the city! Alongside the cathedral and the Bishop’s Palace, Wells enjoys a delightful traditional market square, archetypical medieval streets and endearing model cottages. St Cuthbert Church is also worth a visit, with its striking exterior, Gothic arches and most notably, intrinsically decorated ceiling.

View of Bishop's Palace ramparts and in the distance Wells Cathedral
Outside the Bishop’s Palace

The peaceful Palace Fields

Stunning countryside awaits you on the outskirts of the city of Wells. Located behind the Bishop’s Palace, the Palace Fields feature a lush rolling field and a country path running to Dulcote, and are a delight to explore. From there, you can enjoy lovely views over the city of Wells, Wells Cathedral and in the distance, Glastonbury Tor and the Mendip Hills.

View of Wells Cathedral from the Palace Fields
View of Wells Cathedral from the Palace Fields

Explore the Mendip Hills and Somerset further

From enthralling hills, lush fields and enchanting woods, the Mendip Hills are an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and offer countless footpaths to explore and various views to discover. From Cheddar Gorge to Crook Peak and Black Down, find breathtaking walks in the Mendip Hills with the Somerset & Wiltshire walk guides by A Dragon’s Escape.

Spectacular views from Cheddar Gorge
Views from Cheddar Gorge

If you’re looking to explore the beautiful Somerset further, you’ll find stunning city breaks and country escapes as well as stately manors and quaint British splendour. From the Victorian Clevedon to the medieval Bradford-on-Avon and the enchanting Lacock Abbey, Somerset and Wiltshire are full of gems waiting to be explored. Discover the top places to visit with the Somerset & Wiltshire discovery guides by A Dragon’s Escape.

Plan your escape

If you enjoyed this article, you’ll love the Escape travel guide packed full of ideas to explore Bath, Bristol, the Cotswolds and beyond. To receive this exclusive guide as well as inspirations every month to explore and plan your escape, enter your email address and subscribe to the Escape Monthly newsletter.


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References: Wells Somerset (1), Wells Cathedral, The Bishop’s Palace, Wells Somerset (2) (pdf file)

Featured image: The medieval lane of Vicars’ Close

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