Culture

Wells, Somerset

With a history dating back to the Romans, who were drawn to the area because of its natural springs, Wells really came into its own during the medieval times when the beautiful cathedral and Bishops’ Palace were built. Today, this bijoux city remains a bustling destination and were you’ll find narrow streets filled with fab shops, a lively twice-weekly market and a host of places to eat – making it a perfect, manageable day out.

The medieval architecture of Wells remains remarkably unspoilt and a real pleasure to explore whilst visiting. Head to the majestic cathedral, built between 1175 – 1490, which remains the heart of the city. The gorgeous 14th century stained glass windows are some of the best examples in Europe and narrowly missed being destroyed during the English Civil War. Vicar’s Close, next to the cathedral, is extremely picturesque and believed to be the only complete medieval street left in England. Head to Bishop’s Palace and Gardens – also medieval – home to the bishop of Bath and Wells for the last 800 years. Gape at the ruined Great Hall and fourteen acres of gardens including a pretty Garden of Reflection.

After all this culture, walk the city streets and discover an excellent selection of artisan shops including wine shops, bakeries, delicatessens, fashion and arts and crafts – it’s also home to the one of the oldest reclamation yards in the UK! If you’re visiting on a Wednesday, make sure to check out the farmer’s market which runs in the Market Place from 9am – 2.30pm.

And if you’re in need of sustenance, there’s plenty of ancient eateries such as the 15th century old inn The Crown (which appeared in the comedy ‘Hot Fuzz’), the Swan Hotel dating from the early 15th century and once host to Henry VII and The Ancient Gatehouse Hotel. Of course, you’ll also discover a host of cafes and restaurants too.

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