Somerset Towns & Villages
The terracotta tile roofs and whitewashed homes of old Wells are stunning in all seasons. Revel in the serenity of the Bishop’s Palace with its breathtaking walled gardens, then stop for coffee in a nearby artisan café before grabbing a bite at one of the many independent restaurants.
Not many cities the size of Wells can boast so many beautiful landmarks - but that’s probably why it’s a key stop on any tour of Somerset. The smallest city in England, thanks to its incredible Gothic cathedral, Wells blends small-town charm with the confidence of international fame - many international film and TV series continue to be filmed here each year.
Approach from the east and you’ll pass through Old Wells, the streets descending from the soaring Mendip Hills towards Wells Cathedral. Peppered with modern twists, the largely-preserved houses date back hundreds of years and many offer stunning views of the city and Somerset Levels beyond. The cathedral itself stands proudly at the eastern end of the city centre: a unique two-tower design fronted with intricate carvings, it houses bespoke scissor arches in the breathtaking main nave and a 14th-century chain library to explore. Head up the sweeping stone staircase to the octagonal Chapter House, a triumph of ancient design. Stop outside to see the intricate astronomical clock with its whimsical automaton - known as Jack Blandifers - who strikes the bell with his hammers to tell the town of the new time.
Through the bustling marketplace you’ll find The Bishop’s Palace, heart of the city for over 800 years. Tour its carefully-preserved residential buildings, and revel in botanical bliss in the palace gardens. Walled as they always were, the gardens are home to natural springs that originally gave the city water, and the walled banks offer views across the glassy palace moat and cathedral fields. Discover more garden goodness at Milton Lodge Gardens on the outskirts of Wells, a stunning ornamental forest in a narrow valley.
Beside Wells Cathedral you’ll find the unique Vicar’s Close and inviting Wells Museum, where the whole family can learn all about Somerset history and culture through innovative and entertaining exhibits. When it’s time to stop for lunch, Wells is packed with independent options: highlights include Italian at Da Luciano, artisan baked treats at Loaf, and vegetarian delights at The Good Earth.
Minutes from the border of Wells is Wookey Hole, home to the famous Wookey Hole Caves. The whole family will love the prehistoric fun of the dinosaur valley, mystical cave tour and history of the fascinating Wookey Witch. The on-site hotel and resort means you can stay in the middle of the action, just minutes from Wells city centre.
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At Lion Tours we specialise in small group tours, specifically for independent travellers.
Fun thing to do in Somerset for all ages, 18 hole crazy golf course in Cheddar, Somerset.
The speaker for the break is Bob Mizon, MBE,. FRAS, who is also an author and planetarium operator.
Venture inside Brunel’s hidden vaults at the Clifton Suspension Bridge.
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