HISTORIC PLACES OF INTEREST WITHIN THE CITY OF WELLS
Visitors to the White Hart Hotel and Ancient Gatehouse Hotel find that they are ideal for exploring Somerset. Wells itself has a great deal to offer, dominated by the C14th Cathedral Church of St Andrew (open daily), the West Front displaying the country's finest medieval statuary, whilst inside are many beautiful features including the famous astronomical clock.
South of the Cathedral lies the Moated Bishops' Palace (open Thursday, Sunday and Bank Holidays plus afternoons in August), the oldest inhabited house in England, hidden behind high walls and set in enchanting gardens containing seven deep springs or wells, and the ruins of the pillared Great Hall. Each day on the Palace Moat the swans summon their food by pulling on a bell rope.
North of the Cathedral Is the oldest complete Medieval street in Europe, This is Vicars Close, dating from the C14th and built by the Bishop Ralph of Shrewsbury for members of the College of Vicars Choral. Today the houses of 1 360 face each other across the cobbled Close, reached through an arch beneath the Vicars' Hall, the ancient dining room for members of the College. At the far end of the Close is a tiny chapel for daily worship.
A visit to Wells Museum is also worthwhile for those interested in local antiques, fossils and needlework, (open Monday-Friday afternoons October-March, Monday-Friday daily April-September, plus Sunday afternoons June-September)
Wells Market Place has two splendid C15th gateways - Penniless Porch being named after the beggars who waylaid people on their way to the cathedral and Bishops' Eye leading to the Palace. Here also stands the original conduit supplying water from the wells. There are many interesting shops and by order of an ancient charter market stalls are set up on Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout the year.
PLACES OF INTEREST WITHIN EASY REACH OF WELLS
Chalice Well Of Bloodspring at foot of Glastonbury Tor, notQd for its healing powers.
Black Dog of Wells We make a unique range of relief tiles in natural terracotta which are full of detail and texture. The tiles are designed by prominent artist/designer Philippa Threlfall, who has been making murals and tiles in relief ceramic for many years. Most of the designs incorporate a blessing or text and are usually based on traditional and historical themes. They are collected by many people and make excellent presents.
Somerset Rural Life Museum - depicts social and domestic life in Victorian Somerset, Open Easter - end October 10-5, Saturday and Sunday 2-6.30. November - Easter 10-5, Saturday and Sunday 2.30-5. Tel: 01458 832267CHEDDAR CAVES AND GORGE impressive caves and waterfalls plunging 1/4 mile into cliffs Cheddar Gorge. Open daily 10-5, 11-5 during winter. Exhibition and museum Easter-October 10-6. Eight miles north west of Wells on A371. Tel: 01934 742343
Wookey Hole - fabulous underground caverns occupied by early man. Historic paper mill still producing hand made paper. Hall of Mirrors. Open daily except week before Christmas. Guided tours through caves. Tel: 01 749 672243. Two miles north west of Wells off A371 Wells - Cheddar Road.
Clarks Village - Factory Shopping - With over 50 famous outlets, stocking the best names in big brand shopping. Summer opening - 1 April - end October, Mon-Sat 9am-6pm, Sun 11 am-5pm. Winter opening - 1 November - end March, Mon-Sat 9-5.30, Sun 11-5. is the smallest city in England with a population of just over eleven thousand, set in the foothills of the Mendips on the one side with the Somerset Levels to the south side.
Wells Cathedral Probably the finest example of a gothic cathedral anywhere in Europe, and along with Vicars' Close and the moated Bishop's Palace next door makes a memorable visit.
Wookey Hole Caves On the outskirts of Wells are to be found these famous caves. Once owned by Madame Tussaud's, along with the oldest working paper mill and a marvellous 19th Century penny arcade! The caverns themselves are breathtaking and guided tours are available.
Cheddar Gorge Just nine miles away this spectacular gorge with its caves and wonderful walks has an attraction all of its own. Owned by the Marquis of Bath the gorge offers a variety of attractions and is well worth a visit.
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