at the foot of the magnificent rolling Mendip Hills in Somerset, Wells is
the smallest city in England, and one of the most beautiful in Britain.
Its name is derived from springs which rise close to the Bishops Palace;
fed from the Mendip Caves system, they never run dry. The city has retained
its medieval character to
this day and is sure to impress with so many well preserved streets and
ecclesiastical buildings that have grown around the focal points of the
Cathedral and Bishops Palace.
Wells Cathedral has been described as a jewel in the crown of English Cathedrals.
Its great West Front of c1240, with nearly 300 surviving carved figures,
is the largest collection of figure sculpture of its date in the western
world. It was built on what had been a religious site beside the springs
or wells since at least the earliest days of Christianity in Britain. Be
sure when you visit to see the Cathedral's clock, built c1390 it is the
oldest original clock dial still in existence and has a surprise in store
when it strikes on the hour. Nearby Vicar's Close, built in 1348 to house
members of the Cathedral's choir, is one of the oldest inhabited streets
The Bishops Palace, adjacent to the Cathedral, is the residence of the Bishop
of Bath and Wells and dates back to the 14th century. Surrounded by a tranquil
moat, and home to swans that for generations have rung a bell at the gatehouse
when they want to be fed, it is a beautiful place for a stroll in the sunshine
after taking in the splendour of the Cathedral.
The city has a vibrant market place which is entered from the Cathedral
Green through ancient Penniless Porch. The market leads to a town centre
of great character with many speciality and antiques shops, pubs, restaurants
and hotels. As you walk through the town you will notice water flowing in
the gutter to the side of the pavement, this town centre 'stream' is fed
continuously by the city's wells and was used by the townspeople of medieval
Wells for their laundry.
Use the map of Wells below to zoom in or out to view directions or click the satellite button for an aerial view. For a larger version of this Wells map Click Here.