Never heard of Wells? Don’t worry, neither had I until this year. If you don’t count the City of London, Wells, Somerset is England’s smallest city but don’t let that deter you from its history, beauty and culture. Wells lies in Somerset, just 3 hours from London and 45 mins from Bath. It makes the perfect city getaway to recharge your batteries while experiencing some history, culture and peace and quiet. This short travel guide will tell you all the things to do in Wells, Somerset including where to stay and eat.
Wells dates back to Roman times but it was during the middle ages that most of the construction began. Wells is famous for its beautifully preserved historical architecture and due to this, it’s often used as a set for films and period dramas. Wells is so small you could easily see everything in a rather demanding day, but a weekend is the perfect amount of time for this charming little city.
THINGS TO DO IN WELLS
Wells Cathedral is the centrepiece of the city and one of the most beautiful Gothic cathedrals in England today. It’s definitely one of the top things to do in Wells. Parts of the building date back to the tenth century, however, a lot of the building you see today is from Victorian era restoration. Go inside (free but donation preferred) and walk around heaven-bound naves and admire the amazing ribs of the ceiling, famous throughout Gothic architecture. While the impressive choir was closed off when we visited you can still take a peek from behind the rope. Don’t forget to explore the gardens too, they are very pretty indeed.
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Out of all the things to do in Wells, Somerset, this tiny alley has got to be my favourite. A stunning cobbled, pedestrian street and apparently one of the oldest residential streets in Europe. Located to the right side of the cathedral, Vicar’s Close is framed by stunning period architecture, Gothic arches and window frames, and the cutest terraced cottages with titles roofs, blooming gardens and unique, tall chimneys. You can feel the history just oozing out of these houses just walking down the ancient cobbles. Did I mention Vicar’s Close makes a great Instagram photo location?
THE BISHOP’S PALACE
This 14-acre property includes the building or residence of the bishop as well as a vast terrain of gardens, which include a pond and some vegetable plots too. Explore the quaint palace, which I think makes a gorgeous wedding venue, private chapel and the ruins of the old cathedral. Then take a stroll around the gardens and simply relax on a bench by the pond. These gardens make the perfect place for a little afternoon meditation.
WELLS MARKET PLACE
If you happen to be in the city on a Wednesday or Saturday head to the Market Place in the centre of the city which has been the focal point of life and culture for hundreds of years. Oogle over the mouth-watering local produce, try some famous local foods and buy some artisan products to take home. Don’t worry if you missed the market on these days, the medieval square is worth checking out anyway for its unique architecture.
WOOKEY HOLE CAVES
Just outside Wells lie these impressive caves – some of the largest and best in Europe. Spend some time exploring the garishly lit caves before relaxing on the grounds. Caves include the Witch’s Parlour, the largest underground cave dome in the UK and the Witch’s Kitchen famous for its giant stalagmite. Apparently, the caves are the home of the infamous Witch of Wookey hence all the witchy and spooky names and references. While the caves are impressive the grounds have turned into a bit of a children’s theme park so try to avoid it during school holidays.
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WELLNESS IN WELLS
Shekinah Yoga Retreat
Located in the village of Glastonbury, very close to Wells, Shekinah offers the perfect option for days of yoga, meditation and disconnection from the outside world. The centre offers bed and breakfast options as well as daily, weekend or even longer retreats. They also offer a wide range of holistic therapies and have a sauna on site. A 100% plant-based lunch is served every day (reserve before noon). Check their website and weekly program for more details here.
Yoga in Wells
Yoga teacher Berit Lindholm leads classes in the Wells town hall on Market Place and at Wells Sports and Fitness. She does a range of class for all different levels, however, classes only run from Mon-Fri. Click here for more information.
Wells Sports & Fitness
This sports centre/gym in Wells provides daily memberships for use of the gym, pool and classes if you fancy an energising morning workout during your trip. Click here for more information about prices and class schedules.
WHERE TO EAT
The Good Earth – The best and only vegetarian restaurant in Wells this cafe/shop is a superb lunchtime option and the only one you’ll need. Everything about this cafe screams cosy and the food is delicious to boot. There are always many 100% plant-based options on the daily changing lunch menu. We tried the African stew and Jalfrezi jacket potato and both were banging. They also have a whole foods shop where you can stock up on snacks and plant-based goodies for the days ahead.
TWENTYONE Cafe+ Kitchen – The place to go for speciality coffee, a killer breakfast that will set you up for the day as well as lunch. The cafe has a minimalist-cool kind of vibe that will make you want to stay all afternoon. They serve a variety of different delicious dishes with some vegan mains options.
Plant-based food in Wells can be a little limited so in nearby Glastonbury, you’ll find many more plant-based options including some plant-based B&Bs, cafes and more whole food stores.
Any questions about the things to do in Wells, Somerset? Please leave your comments and questions below.
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