History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
Wells is named for ... wait for it ... wells. In this case, for the fresh water wells that rise up in the gardens of the Bishop's Palace. The wells have been a place of worship for millennia, long before Christianity came to the area. There was a Roman mausoleum on the site, and a 7th century church built by King Ine.
The Bishop's Palace is a reminder of this ecclesiastical past. The palace is still the official residence of the Bishop. In the 14th century a struggle broke out between the bishop and the city. As a result, the palace was fortified and moated, with a drawbridge as the only access. There are volunteer visitor guides in the palace and the chapel, and white swans now swim in the peaceful moat.
Just north of the city is Milton Lodge Gardens, a small terraced garden in private hands. The garden is open regularly, but if your tastes are more active, try a tour of Wookey Hole caves, or a nature walk in Ebbor Gorge Nature Reserve, both within a few miles of Wells.
Wells is a treat for visitors, providing ambiance without the crowds of larger centres like London. I come back every time I visit England, and I expect that you will too.
Vicars Close - a charming 14th century street joined to the cathedral
Bishop's Palace - medieval moated home to the Bishop of Bath and Wells
St Cuthbert's parish church
Address: Wells, Somerset Levels, Somerset, England
Attraction Type: Town
OS: ST549 457
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Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Wells Cathedral - 0.1 miles (Cathedral)
Wells Bishop's Palace - 0.1 miles (Historic Building)
Milton Lodge Gardens - 0.9 miles (Garden)
Burcott Mill - 1.8 miles (Historic Building)
Ebbor Gorge - 1.8 miles (Countryside)
Glastonbury Tor - 5 miles (Countryside)
Emborough, Blessed Virgin Mary Church - 5.1 miles (Historic Church)
Glastonbury Tribunal - 5.2 miles (Museum)
Nearest Accommodation to Wells: