Wells, Somerset – A Little City With A Big History

Whilst I travelled through Somerset the other day I had the most pleasant experience of visiting Wells, a beautiful city that can boast a busy and proud history. This place is totally at the other end of a perception of a city. A population at last count of just over 10,000 gives an idea, and it lays claim to being the smallest city in England, unless you believe that the City of London should be named so.

In fact Wells has held city status since all the way back to 1205 upon the build of its wonderful cathedral. A central point for many tourists here, you cannot help but look up and marvel at the architecture. The grand front with all the carved stone figures and arches alone brings an air of awe but to walk around it and within brings its own magic.

Wells, Cathedral Somerset
statue on cathedral
Wells cathedral entrance

The astronomical clock

Built into the cathedral is the famous astronomical clock that was added around 1390 and to this day the mechanism is still working! On looking at it from within the cathedral you get an ancient wonderously designed clock face with a 12 hour markings plus a geocentric version of the universe with sun and moon circling the static Earth.

BaldHiker Retreats

The mechanism from within also helps to run the clock face shown on the outside of the cathedral wall. Quite remarkable.

Wells, astronomical clock

Located close to the cathedral is the street of Vicar’s Close. Said to be the oldest purely residential street in Europe that remains intact and still lived in. It dates from the 14th century and to see them in such a way to this day is a great thing to behold.

Vicar's close in wells

Why Called Wells?

Then we come to the name of this place, Wells, why so? It is named after the fact it has 3 wells dedicated to St Andrew. The main one had the Bishop of Bath and Wells palace built over and around it. This palace in itself is an impressive building. The water rises from the well and flows into the moat that surrounds it. The non residential parts of the palace can be viewed along with the impressive gardens. The mute swans along the moat are out of the ordinary too! They have been trained to ring a bell near the drawbridge to signal they are hungry and need to be fed 🙂

Wells moat

For a break and a bite to eat I took in the culinary delights of a gorgeous public house The King’s Head, located right in the middle of the quaint high street. My great guide for the day @imstevewilson is the landlord, and the pride in his food, the pub and his customers is plain to see. Absolutely top notch dinner, with a grand mixture of medieval and modern that makes you feel very comfortable indeed.

The Kings Head pub drawing

I will most definitely be back for longer next time, so much to see, explore and learn from a small but stunning place.

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  1. I stumbled upon Wells by accident while travelling around Britain for the Rugby League World Cup last year and I totally agree with you, it’s an amazingly beautiful little town. I had a pint in the Kings Head before heading up to the Bishop’s palace and the cathedral and just on the strength of those attractions alone, I reckon I could live in Wells. Great pics, cheers for bringing back great memories for me!

    1. Paul Steele says:

      Hi Murph, it is a little gem that should be seen by more. Totally agree and thank you

  2. Wells is one of my favourite places in the WORLD. Ancient, beautiful and filled with friendly people, I frequently make a day trip to Wells. I want to shout her praises and keep her a secret at the same time. : )

    1. Paul Steele says:

      Hi Debs, thanks.. Yes I felt exactly the same 🙂

  3. Another place in my list of “reasons about travelling back to UK”

  4. This makes excellent reading Paul, couldn't agree more about how charming a place Wells is to live (and eat and drink and shop etc)! The city has received a massive boost in popularity due to the hugely-popular film 'Hot Fuzz' which was mostly filmed in Wells. It's great fun walking round trying to place as many scenes as possible which I invite your readers to do when they next visit.

    Please also email me when you're next in town & I can write about your visit on the local website 😉

  5. I loved Wells.. I must have over 50 pictures from the cathedral ..just love the place.. totally awesome shot of the rows of houses
    there are soo many places I need to go stroll in the UK.. maybe next year I'll go back
    Love following your hikes.. it's almost like being there :~)

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