Set in the medieval heart of England’s smallest city and an easy journey from Bristol by car or public transport (Mendip Explorer Bus 376 from Bristol to Wells) Wells Cathedral was built between 1175 and 1490 and has been described as “the most poetic of the English Cathedrals”.
Wells is the earliest English Cathedral to be built in the Gothic style. The current building is a significant landmark in the South West of England, has an international reputation and is top rated on TripAdvisor for things to do in Wells and in Somerset.
Wells Cathedral welcomes thousands of visitors each year who join in with regular daily services and events or who come simply to enjoy the calm and hospitality of this wonderful and holy place.
Wells Cathedral is open daily and they invite all of their visitors to join any of their services and events (which include a regular series of free lunchtime concerts and organ recitals). Donations are very welcome on entry; English Cathedrals receive no regular funding from the Government or the Church of England towards maintenance and development work and, here at Wells they have to raise £4.5k each day.
Wells Cathedral has unique features that separate it from other English cathedrals including its iconic West Front and the beautiful ‘scissor arches’ supporting the central tower, as well as one of the largest collections of historic stained glass in the country. The Cathedral also boasts the famous Wells Clock (which is considered to be the second oldest clock mechanism in Great Britain), the fascinating octagonal Chapter House and one of only four chained libraries in the UK.
Free daily tours of the Cathedral are available all year except Sundays. Or discover hidden spaces and chambers, explore the south transept roof space and marvel at the nave from a very different perspective via the Cathedral's popular and longer High Parts tours which can be pre-booked via the website at www.wellscathedral.org.uk/visit/tours. The Cathedral also runs 20 minute weekly window, stone carvings and embroidery ‘walks’ (Saturday and Wednesday mornings, April-October). Guided tours for group visits can also be pre-booked via the Visits team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When term breaks up the Cathedral offers creative workshops for children accompanied by their parents or guardians. They also provide free family trail leaflets which are available free of charge on arrival and which help children to learn about the main highlights and history of the Cathedral. See their website for details of all activities for families and children.
Adjoining the Cathedral is Vicars’ Close, believed to be the only complete medieval street left in England. Vicars’ Close was designed to provide accommodation for the Vicars Choral, who sing the daily services, and this is still the case today. This centuries-old tradition is unique and a much valued part of the continuing life of Wells Cathedral.
Make a Day of It
A warm welcome awaits you at the Cathedral's shop which stocks a wide range of unique mementoes and gifts. Their café is also open daily for coffee, delicious home-made lunches and afternoon teas.
|Open (1 Jan 2020 - 31 Dec 2020)|
* 7am - 7pm (Apr – Sept)
7am - 6pm (Oct – Mar)
The above times should be used as an indicator during the recovery phase from the global pandemic.
Please double-check details by visiting the website via the link above before you visit
- On-Site café/restaurant
Tours and Demonstrations
- Educational Visits Accepted
- Guided Tours Available for Groups
TripAdvisor Traveller Rating:
- Certificate of Excellence 2019
- Very Good563
- David HBristol, United KingdomTrip Type:Solo travelReopen for private prayer post Covid 15-June-20Tuesday, 16th June 2020First day of reopening for 'private prayer & reflection' after Covid 19 shutdown. Well signed one way route with social distancing and hand sanitizer stations. Some parts (Chapter House, shop, café... Read full review
- sabatinitennisLondon, United KingdomTrip Type:Solo travelA delightTuesday, 16th June 2020The facade is stunning even if weathered and the interior is now much different (due to this virus lark) as the chairs have been removed, so the building seems much more airy and somehow spacious. I... Read full review
- Bob JTaunton, United KingdomGreat HistoryFriday, 3rd July 2020Wonderful cathedral full of interest and art including scissor arches to tower. the chapter house is a treat Read full review