Somerset has a great deal to offer, from the wide vistas from the top of the Mendip Hills, to the wonders of the Caves of Cheddar Gorge and Wookey Hole. Combine these natural features with the Historic Towns of Wells, Glastonbury and Bath, and mix in designer shopping outlets and traditional seaside pleasures of Weston Super Mare then you realise you need more than a long weekend to fully appreciate this County.
We first stayed at Wells Touring Park in January, a cold wet overcast weekend which fully tested the insulation in our Bailey Cadiz and its amazing Alde heating keeping us warm and toastie inside despite the inclement weather.
After a cold wet Easter when we decided to stay at home, the forecast for the weekend was fair so we decided a return to Wells would give us more time to explore the area.
Wells is a Town with a vibrant and varied history, from great wealth built up by the Bishops of Wells and brought down to destitution by Henry the Eighth plundered by his men during the dissolution of the monasteries. Walking up the high street the Imposing entrance of the Bishops Eye Gate stands at the end of the street inviting visitors to walk through and view the draw bridged entrance to the Palace.
A guided tour of the Bishops Palace (included in the entrance price) provides an interesting insight into the highs and lows of the Palace and an understanding of the importance of the natural clean water sources coming down from the Mendips. The Palace surrounded by walls and a moat, contain three wells which are believed to have had sacred significance for 1000s of years, particularly the holy well of St Andrew.
The Gardens and grounds surrounding the palace present a haven of peace when visiting in the busy summer months. Around the bustling town you can still see the open sanitation channels in the street which would have provided clean water and an efficient means of removing waste allowing Wells to thrive.
Coming out of the Bishops Palace turning right through Paupers Gate you step out onto the Green and see the magnificence of the Cathedral towering above you. Despite being used as a stable for horses during the English Civil war, where the ornate sculptures were used as target practice by the parliamentarian troops Wells Cathedral and remains magnificent structure.
The Cathedral entrance is through the coffee shop, (entrance free but they do ask for contributions) or if you prefer you can simply stroll around the exterior of the building view the workmanship and admire the clock dating from 1390 (still working).
The interior of the Cathedral provides a truly spectacular example of religious architecture. Vaulted ceilings and ornate symbols combined with stained glass provide a breath-taking experience even if you are not of religious persuasion.
Across the road from the Cathedral Green is the grade II listed building of the Music School dating back to 1450. Take time to walk up Vicars close and enjoy what is said to be the oldest continuously inhabited street in Europe. On closer inspection you may notice that the street is wider at one end, designed specifically to make it appear longer and more impressive.
We called in at the Crown in wells for an early evening drink, The pub serves a good selection of Ales and Ciders and offered a selection of free hot bar snacks (chicken bites and scampi) The pub has a great menu on offer and does a cracking Sunday lunch (menu)
If you prefer your refreshment alcohol free Wells has a variety of coffee shops, and enough to do to keep you busy for the day. With a selection of supermarkets and traditional butchers (F Griffiths & Sons has great homemade sausages and quality meat) and “Burns the Bread offering bread, cakes and hot snacks Wells ticks all the boxes for a weekend break.
Wells ticks all the boxes for a weekend break and with a 5 star touring site within walking distance its well worth a weekend away.