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Visiting Wells, England

The beautiful city of Wells is England’s smallest city with one of the finest cathedrals in Britain, the walled precinct,the Liberty of St.Andrew, encloses the Cathedral, the Bishop’s Palace, Vicar’s Close and the residences of the clergy who serve the Cathedral. Parts of the Cathedral date back to the 10th Century and it is a grade I listed building.It is known for it’s fine vaulted ceilings, Lady Chapel and windows, and the scissor arches which support the central tower.The Cathedral is also famous for its magnificent West Front which features over 300 statues and carvings. The Cathedral clock is famous for it’s 24-hour astronomical dial and set of jousting knights that perform every quater hour. The Bishop’s Palace has been the home of the bishops of the diocese of Bath and Wells for 800 years. The hall and chapel date from the 14th century. The Vicars’ Close is the oldest residential street in Europe.Wells is a medieval city situated on the southern side of the Mendip hills, it’s history goes back to Roman times and it has remained remarkably unspoilt. Wells Market Place hosts markets twice a week. There is an eclectic mix of building styles throughout the city which give it its charm and make it a lovely place to visit. Two of the wells which give the city its name are within the grounds of the Bishop’s Palace, the third is in the market place, they are dedicated to St.Andrew.Wells is twinned with Bad Durkheim in Germany and Paray-le-Monial in France.

Nestling at the foot of the Mendip Hills, The City of Wells is a conservation miracle, its historic core preserved almost intact from the Middle Ages with its Cathedral, ancient streets and glorious buildings” The history of Wells goes right back to Roman times when we know that there was a settlement, probably because of the springs that bubble up here. Wells gets its name from these springs which can today be found in the gardens of the Bishop’s Palace. Wells is the smallest city in England with about 12,000 inhabitants. It can call itself a city because of the famous 13th century Cathedral. It remains remarkably unspoilt and has many other historic buildings including the moated Bishop’s Palace, Vicars’ Close, St Cuthbert’s Church and the Wells & Mendip Museum. The Wells Market Place, with lively markets twice a week, the narrow streets and an eclectic mix of building styles all reflect on the continuing development of the town throughout the ages. With everything from cosmopolitan pavement cafes to traditional pubs and inns, specialist independent retailers to major high street names, top quality accommodation to excellent year-round entertainment, Wells is an unbeatable destination for day trips and short breaks alike.” Wells makes an ideal destination for a short break or long weekend and has much to see in it as well as providing an excellent base for exploring the surrounding Somerset countryside.

Wells Cathedral

The present Cathedral in Wells, started in 1180 and largely completed by 1306, is one of the most impressive cathedrals in Britain. It survives with all of the original buildings associated with the cathedral including Vicar’s Close, the Chapter House and Cloisters. It has been discovered from archaeological excavations, that there was a Roman Mausoleum on this site as well as a previous cathedral known as the Anglo-Saxon Minster church of St. Andrew. The foundations of the previous cathedral can be seen in the Camery Gardens just by the cathedral. Wells Cathedral has probably the grandest West Front of any cathedral in Britain. It still retains over 300 of the original medieval statues. Inside the Cathedral are the magnificent Scissor Arches. These were built in the fourteenth century to strengthen and support the heightened central tower. The cathedral clock is unique as it still has its original medieval 24 hour clock face and complicated mechanical figures which move and ring a bell every quarter hour. http://www.wellscathedral.org.uk/

Vicors Close

Vicars’ Close next to Wells Cathedral is a stunning medieval cobbled street. It is said to be the oldest continually occupied street in Europe. It was built in 1360s as an extension of the cathedral by Bishop Ralph of Shrewsbury. He built the Vicar’s Hall and Close to give the men of the quire secure accommodation away from the temptations of the town. The Close and Cathedral are linked by a bridge. It still houses members of the choir today and has remained unchanged in nearly 700 years.

Vicors Close

Vicars’ Close next to Wells Cathedral is a stunning medieval cobbled street. It is said to be the oldest continually occupied street in Europe. It was built in 1360s as an extension of the cathedral by Bishop Ralph of Shrewsbury. He built the Vicar’s Hall and Close to give the men of the quire secure accommodation away from the temptations of the town. The Close and Cathedral are linked by a bridge. It still houses members of the choir today and has remained unchanged in nearly 700 years.

Bishops Palace & Gardens

This splendid medieval palace has been the home of the Bishops of Bath & Wells for over 800 years. The first bishop of Bath & Wells received a crown licence to build a residence and deer park to the south of the cathedral. There are 14 acres of gardens including the springs from which the city takes its name. Within the fortified Palace walls lie the ruin of the Great Hall, the Bishop’s private chapel and the gardens with a small arboretum. This uniquely moated palace has an imposing gatehouse with portcullis and drawbridge which give the impression that you may be entering a castle structure, but inside is a peaceful and tranquil residence for the visitor to enjoy.http://www.bishopspalace.org.uk/

Surrounding Area

Within 25 miles of Wells you can visit many attractions which include the famous caves at Wookey Hole , Burcott Mill, Kilver Court Gardens, Cheddar Gorge & Caves, The Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company, Wilkins Cider, Glastonbury Abbey and Glastonbury Tor, and Muchelney Abbey. The beautiful variety of landscapes ranging from coastal scenery, the Mendip Hills and Somerset Levels provide a wonderful playground for all sorts of activities including, caving, abseiling, horse riding, walking, cycling and nature watching.

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