Within an hour’s drive of Bristol is England’s smallest city – Wells. Popular with film-makers and tourists for its medieval architecture and quaint streets, Wells sits at the foothills of the Mendips within easy reach of the bigger cities of the region as well as the beautiful Somerset coast.

Wells is particularly well known for its year-round cultural offerings – Film, Comedy, Art, Literature and Music Festivals and makes a great day trip from Bristol.

Lindsay Mann, Head of Marketing and Communications at Wells Cathedral gave us her top five things to do in Wells:

1. Wells Cathedral

No trip to Wells would be complete without a visit to the Cathedral, particularly over the Christmas period. Free daily guided tours are available, or you can explore the beautiful building under your own steam, marvelling at its iconic West Front and the beautiful ‘scissor arches’ supporting the central tower. It also has one of the largest collections of historic stained glass in the country.

The Cathedral also boasts the famous Wells Clock (considered to be the second oldest clock mechanism in Britain), the fascinating octagonal Chapter House and one of only four chained libraries in the UK.  Time your visit to hear the world-famous Wells Cathedral choir at Evensong (5.15pm Monday-Saturday, 3pm Sunday) or magical Christmas Carol Service (22-23 Dec). 

Open daily, Wells Cathedral is free to enter but donations are welcome.

Wells Cathedral

Image - Wells Cathedral

2. Wells Markets

Visiting on a Wednesday or Saturday? Wells’ twice weekly outdoor market is situated in the Market Place and sells a huge range of local produce and goods. The relatively new Wells Christmas Market takes place this year from 20 - 23 December (from 9am to 4pm) with over 100 stalls run by local traders, music and festive food and drink.

Cathedral from Wells Market Place

Image - Cathedral from Wells Market Place

3. Wells Walking Tours

Make the most of your day out in the city by joining a guided walk. With loads of themes to choose from including heritage, ‘Hot Fuzz’ film locations, children's, literary and ghost walks it’s an easy way to explore Wells and learn more about its fascinating history.

Wells Somerset

Image - Wells

4. The Bishop’s Palace

The Bishop’s Palace & Gardens has been home to the Bishops of Bath and Wells for over 800 years and the stunning medieval palace is open for all to enjoy.  There are 14 acres of outstanding RHS Partner gardens to explore, including the beautiful well pools from which the city takes its name.

Cathedral Green

Image - Cathedral Green, Wells

5. Historic buildings

There are five almshouses in the City of Wells, all striking historic buildings as well as residential homes. Wells Museum also houses the local Visitor Information Service, so is a great place to pop in to get information on local activities.

The city is also home to many independent shops, cafés and restaurants as well as high street chains.

How to get there:

Situated approximately 20 miles from Bath, Bristol and Bristol International Airport, Wells is easily reachable by car or public transport. Hop on a number 376 from Bristol or bring the car and choose from one of several car parks in the city.

Read more

History & Heritage in and around Bristol

Travelling around Bristol

Events Calendar

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Top 5 things to do on a day trip to medieval Wells


Wells Cathedral
Wells Cathedral exterior

Gothic cathedral in the heart of medieval Wells. Magnificent 13th century West Front; impressive scissor arches; 14th century Vicars' Close. Free daily tours (not Sundays). Family trails, holiday workshops. Entry donations welcomed.