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The UK's second smallest city of Wells is a great day out when staying with us at our caravan and camping park in Somerset. Full of historical buildings, Wells is a top visitor destination for our holidaymakers, with markets, gardens and of course, the famous cathedral. Wells has frequently been used as a film destination, so you may well spot some familiar places on your day out!

Wells has topped a Which? survey of inland towns and villages for 2024, as well as ranking the second best city in the UK according to science, as conducted by The Telegraph. Wells ranked just below fellow West County city, Bath for culture, restaurants and green spaces.

The city of Wells gets its name from three wells, consisting of local springs which were the initial reason for the settlement. The most prominent well, St Andrew's Well, or the Holy Well is dedicated to the first disciple of Jesus. The church which stood on the ground now occupied by Wells cathedral was also dedicated to St Andrew.

The two other wells are situated in the grounds of the Bishop's Palace and culminate in man made pools in the gardens and are also dedicated to St Andrew. The wells have been successfully dated back to Roman times.

Image by Amber Maxwell Boydell

The Vicar's Close in Wells is the oldest residential street in Europe. Originally consisting of 44 houses, these were built in 1348 to accommodate chantry priests, who were conducting eight ceremonies a day at the nearby Wells cathedral. The idea of building the houses was that the priests no longer needed to live across the city and could get to their place of work more easily.

The Vicar's Close is 140 metres long and the width is tapered by 10 metres, so that the street looks longer when viewed from the cathedral. The close is still a residential street, with a chapel and library at the north end.

Wells has two market days each week. The farmer's market falls on Wednesdays, with the second weekly market on a Saturday, featuring local food and makers. The market is held in Wells' market place, which is situated in the centre of the city with views of the cathedral.

Wells also hosts an annual Christmas market in the grounds of the Bishop's Palace.

You will see one of the wells of Wells in the market place. Wells was once known for having the largest cheese market in the South West!

Image by Annie Spratt
Image by Amy W. D

Wells Cathedral is a particularly important building as it was the first entirely Gothic cathedral in Europe. The style of architecture was brought over by Bishop Reginald de Bohun from France, with building commencing in 1175. The first phase of the project took 80 years and features 300 original Medieval sculptures on the west front of the building.

Further work was carried out to the cathedral in the 1300s, with Wells housing the second oldest clock mechanism in the world still in use today. The clock strikes every quarter, with jousting knights fighting above the clock and the Quarter Jack bangs the quarter hours with his heels. The cathedral has the heaviest ring of ten bells in the world.

The Bishop's Palace, in partnership with the RHS, is situated in the city centre and features 14 acres of walled gardens and grade 1 listed buildings. Set up as the residence of the Bishop of Bath and Wells, the palace is over 800 years old and features a moat, gatehouse and drawbridge.

The chapel in the grounds dates from 1275, with remains of a large dining hall used by the bishop for dining and entertaining. You will also find two of the wells, along with pools and the Well House in the grounds. The palace hosts many events, open days and markets throughout the year.

Image by John-Mark Strange

Wells is a fantastic place to visit for the Somerset Illuminated Carnivals Guy Fawkes Carnival Circuit which begins on 5 November each year. Wells is usually the penultimate carnival on the circuit and the only one held in a city.

Somerset's illuminated carnivals feature enormous floats, usually towed through the streets by tractors and featuring teams who have made their own floats and choreographed dances during the several hours of processions in their villages, towns and the city of Wells. Somerset's illuminated carnivals are the biggest of their kind in the world and luxury magazine Conde Nast Traveller named the Somerset carnivals as one of their "must see" worldwide travel activities.

Wells has been used by many films and television shows. The film Hot Fuzz was filmed in Wells, with the line "No luck catching those swans then?" very apt for an area so famous for the swans on the moat!

Other films using Wells as their backdrop include Robin Hood, The Canterbury Tales and Elizabeth: The Golden Age. TV shows include BBC's Dr Who, The Hollow Crown and Poldark.


Book your stay with us at our 5* touring caravan park and campsite and enjoy visiting Wells! We are open all year round, with hardstanding pitches and holiday lodges for hire.

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