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Pocket Guide: Wells

St. Andrew's Well, a sacred spring bubbling up from ground close to the 14th century Bishop's Palace, gives the city of Wells its name. The official residence of the Bishop of Bath and Wells, this is just one of the many historic and cultural attractions which attract visitors from far and wide. Despite the sheer size of its medieval cathedral and palace, Wells is today still a relatively quiet market town and there are plenty of small Somerset hotels in the immediate area that provide perfect accommodation when you're visiting.

Wells Cathedral

The magnificent cathedral in Wells was started in the late 1100s and is a masterpiece of Gothic design and engineering prowess, one of the best examples of its kind in the country. It's full of interesting architectural oddities such as Pennyless Porch, where in the 'olden days' beggars would come to (hopefully) receive alms. The Vicars' Close was constructed in the 14th Century specifically for the Vicars' Choir and is one of Europe's oldest complete streets. The cathedral is best known, however, for the 365 exquisitely carved medieval statues of knights, kings and saints on its West Front, many of them life-size.

In and Around Wells

Wells may be most famous for its stunning cathedral but there are plenty of other things to see in and around the city from your Somerset hotel base too. Many of the finds from nearby the Wookey Hole cave complex have found their way into Wells Museum, for instance, which has displays and exhibitions on all aspects of local history and traditions. Wookey Hole itself, just to the northeast of Wells, makes a good destination for a day out from your local hotel or guesthouse because of its varied amusements.

The city of Wells derives much of its charm from its medieval layout and well-preserved monuments. The Bishop's Palace for example still has its original moat, and this together with the cathedral and associated outbuildings creates a harmonious group. Wells is easy to explore on foot from your Somerset hotel, and there are plenty of modern facilities here too.