Thinking of going on a backpacker’s trip through the United Kingdom? Well, there are a number of places you need to visit and unmissable things you need to do in Wells, England. Wells is a small cathedral city in England, located in the southern part of the breathtaking Mendip Hills. Backpacking through Wells will be a wonderful and affordable way to visit this cathedral city, the Mendip Hills it is nestled upon, and the cities surrounding it.
Thus, giving yourself the experience of a lifetime, meeting new people, tasting new cuisine and delicacies, seeing great sights and experiencing the rich culture of Wells, England. In this article, you’ll be learning about the unmissable things Backpackers can do in Wells England.
Explore The Imposing Medieval Wells Cathedral
Visiting Wells Cathedral is one of the most memorable things to do in Wells, England. The Cathedral is an imposing structure and its construction began as early as 1176 and lasted for 300 years. It is said to be the first gothic-style cathedral built in the United Kingdom. You have the chance to see exquisite stained glass, breathtaking scissor arches that support the formerly sinking central tower, intricately designed piers, corbels, and gorgeous cloisters. Many people visit Wells because of this breathtaking Cathedral. And the best part is that tours to Wells Cathedral are free.
However, it’d be best if you can make your 6 euros voluntary donation for the upkeep of this landmark. You also get the chance to wander around the cathedral by yourself and discover hidden spaces and chambers. You also need to see the amazing 600-year-old clock from the 14th century which is located on the left-hand side of the building. The west front of Wells Cathedral is also beautifully adorned with hundreds of medieval statues and sculptures. You also get to see the medieval stained glass in the Cathedral especially the renowned Jesse Window.
Also, if you’re lucky to visit at the right time, you may have the chance to listen to soothing choral practice. With the right timing, you may also be able to enjoy the free guided tours. These tours are available every day except on Sundays. With all the wonders to be seen in Wells Cathedral, there is no doubt that it qualifies to be a landmark both in Somerset and the Southwest.
Explore Wells and Mendip Museum
From Monday to Saturday, the Wells and Mendip Museum is open to everyone interested in learning about the history of Wells. Founded in 1893, the museum is filled with numerous historical artifacts. This includes the lead ingots from the Roman Era, the ichthyosaur fossil and many Victorian collections. There are also diverse exhibitions on the First World War, local geology, mining and local exhibitions that reflect life in Wells during the 1700s and 1800s.
Glimpse Into Medieval Life At Bishop’s Palace
Constructed during the 13th century, Bishop’s Palace remained a highly fortified seat of power within Wells. The palace was built not just to show off the wealth of both the Bishops of Bath and Wells but also to keep the disagreeable members of the public and the poor at bay with its moat and ramparts.
The moat is occupied by enchanting swans that are rumored to be capable of ringing for their food with a bell. You also need to explore the drawbridge built during the Middle Ages that leads to the Palace courtyard. Also, you should see the remains of the Great hall and its towering arched windows. The Palace has the portraits of the different Bishops that existed throughout the centuries with their historical artifacts.
There is the Chapel with its vaulted ceiling and gorgeous windows which is located at the heart of the palace and visitors of different faiths or religions are allowed to explore the chapel. You can get to the chapel from the little door hidden in the entrance hall of the palace or from the courtyard. You also need to explore the gardens as well as the ancient garderobes in the towers. To get to the rest of the gardens, you need to cross a bridge over the moat.
Here you can see the wells that gave Wells its name as well as the allotments and the exquisite arboretum. If you’re going to Wells with your children, you should definitely head to the dragon’s lair to enjoy the water pump and wheel. Unlike the Wells Cathedral, adults are required to pay 7.25 Euros each to enter the Palace, Gardens, and Chapel. Your ticket fees also cover a guided tour of the Bishop’s Palace and its environs.
Explore The Preserved Medieval Street On Vicar’s Close
Apart from the Cathedral, there’s still the Vicar’s Close which is closely linked to the Wells Cathedral since it was built to provide accommodation for the Vicar’s Choral that sing worship every day at the cathedral. Bishop Ralph of Shrewsbury directed the construction of Vicar’s close in the 14th century. However, the chimneys you see today were eventually added in the 15th century.
Also, the close is considered a complete medieval street (the only one left in England). It has a chapel, library, monument room, treasury, dining hall and a number of residences. Stepping into Vicar’s close allows you to go back in time to the middle ages. The stone terraced cottages line the cobble street and give the street a distinctive look. You have a chance to experience this untouched medieval street and even take pictures without paying a dime.
Shop At Wells England Market Place
The Wells Market place is the center of life in Wells and has been so for a long time, especially on Wednesdays and Saturdays which are dedicated to Farmers. If you visit Wells Market Place, you must not forget to check the commemorative plaque of the world record breaker; Mary Rand at the 1964 Olympic Games. You also need to check out the Penniless Porch and the Bishop’s eye. It serves as the two gateways to the market.
Also, if you walk towards the east end of the market, you can see the Georgian town hall. The Bishop’s eye is to the south with tracery-designed windows, statues and a coat of arms crested by an angel. The Wells market place is an interesting place in Wells, England, with a variety of things to purchase. You get to taste locally prepared delicacies, interact with locals and get crafted souvenirs for your loved ones.
Wookey Hole Caves: Explore An Ancient Cave
The Wookey Hole Caves sounds like a bunch of boring caves but it’s not. Not only is it a spectacular cave cut from the limestone by acidic groundwater, but it also has a peculiar looking stalagmite which is said to be the witch of Wookey that was turned to stone by a monk. The cave also has a temperature of 110C which is said to be the perfect temperature for maturing cheddar cheese.
Apart from the cave itself, there are other attractions such as the Paper Mill from the 19th century. In this mill, you can see how cotton was turned to paper by hand. Apart from this, there are also numerous attractions to make this a wonderful trip for families. There’s the Magical Mirror Maze, Cave Museum, Pirate Zap Zone and the clown museum among others. You can also experience the Wookey circus show on weekends and during school holidays. This cave also comes with facilities like the Wookey Hole Hotel, the Big Top Restaurant, and the Witch’s Kitchen.
Hike Through The Fields, Woodlands, & Caves Of Ebbor Gorge
The Ebbor Gorge was shaped out of Carboniferous Clifton down Limestone by meltwater in the Pleistocene epoch. Since 1967, it has been a property of the National Trust of Wells. The gorge has streams, woodland, and caves that seem to have been inhabited thousands of years ago; evidenced by neolithic tools made of flint, human remains. Also, there are also bones of arctic animals from the ice age that were found in the caves.
There are three circular routes you can take to explore Ebbor Gorge with durations ranging from 15 minutes to 1 hour. Walking through the Gorge, the path might get steep or rocky. So, you have to make sure that you’re physically fit and you’re used to hiking. The red route is especially worse so it’s best to avoid it if you can’t cope. Ebbor Gorge also has a car park with an optional charge. The gorge has fewer tourists and people when compared to the Cheddar gorge.
Visit Stoberry Park Garden
The Stoberry 6-acre garden has a stunning combination of well-designed gardens, landscapes, strategically placed sculptures, gazebos, wildlife ponds, and numerous flora and fauna. The garden also has exquisite views of the city of Wells and the Vale of Avalon. To visit the garden, you have to book an appointment.
Visit Mendip Hills: Take A Day Trip And Breathe In The Fresh Air Of Mendip Hills
If you’re a backpacker, you definitely love adventures; visiting the Mendip Hills is a great way to have a memorable adventure. You can take a hike up the hills and look at the remains of the Roman mines in the hills which have been traced as far back as the Paleolithic and Mesolithic times. You can also go canoeing, caving or camping and take beautiful pictures of nature and gorgeous flora and fauna.
What To Eat In Wells England
There are numerous pubs, restaurants, and cafes to serve your dietary needs in Wells. If you visit Wells, you can get a meal at the Greek Taverna restaurant, the Bishop’s Table cafe or local delicacies at the stalls in the Wells market place.
Even though Wells England is a pretty small cathedral city, there are a lot of unmissable things that you must definitely do and see when you visit Wells. All of which will give you a glimpse and insight into the medieval world and how things were like during the middle ages.
Explore A Small Haven Of Peace & Tranquility In Mendip Hospital Cemetery
The Mendip Hospital Cemetery was a patch of land bought by the Mendip Hospital formerly known as the Somerset and Bath Pauper Lunatic Asylum; opened in 1874 as the burial ground of the Asylum. On this land, an estimated 2900-3000 people were buried in anonymous graves. Since then the cemetery has been preserved as a nature reserve even after Mendip Hospital was closed.
The cemetery has a chapel which has a small exhibition where you can learn about the asylum and its burial ground. The cemetery is situated in a gorgeous valley where there are numerous birds and wildlife. Since the cemetery is at the edge of Wells England, it can be pretty difficult to find. It’s best you get someone to point you in the direction of Britannia Inn which is close to the cemetery. The cemetery is usually open during Summer Sundays.
Accommodation Options For Backpackers Visiting Wells England
You can choose to rent a dorm bed in a hostel or go camping instead of sleeping in a hostel. Also, couch surfing is also a pretty popular accommodation option in the UK. This allows you to meet and interact with locals and thus learn more about things in Wells and England.
Airbnb also has super cheap options that you can take advantage of when you’re backpacking through Wells. Also, you can rent a car or a van which allows you to easily explore Wells. However, a campervan is the best way for you to travel around Wells, save money on accommodation and give you a base for your backpacking activities. Also, although there is public transportation into Wells, the city doesn’t actually have its own train station.
If you want to have a luxurious backpacking trip, there are still pretty affordable hotels, inns, and guesthouses for a temporary stay such as Wookey Hole Hotel, Best Western Plus, Premier Inn and the Beryl guesthouse among others.