Wells isn’t huge, but there is still plenty for visitors to enjoy in this gorgeous city. It’s only 20 miles or so from the equally stunning Bath, but it really stands alone, not least because of its remarkable cathedral. The historic centre certainly brings in plenty of visitors, but there are also other hidden gems, including the regular market. Here’s our guide to accessible Wells.
It is tempting to start, as most visitors do, with the cathedral, but we feel that Wells’ regular outdoor market is an equally good place to get a taste of the city. It is widely considered to be one of the best in the country, and we’d certainly agree. Whether you want to buy local cheeses, handicrafts or a pot of chilli jam you’ll find it here on Wednesdays and Saturdays. It is all accessible for you on your scooter too and you can park nearby, although not in the Market Place car park on market days. There are however Blue Badge spaces for on street parking on the High Street and Cathedral Green, with a three hour maximum stay.
They began the building of this remarkable cathedral way back in 1175 and it took until 1490 to finish it. Its most famous feature is the West Front, which was inspired by French Gothic architecture. As well as this, we’d also strongly recommend you take a moment to gaze in awe at the famous Jesse Window, a spectacular example of stained glass from the 14th century. We’re lucky that is still around too, as it was nearly destroyed during the English Civil War. Accessibility is excellent, with ramps where you need them and a level floor throughout the main cathedral floor. There is also a lift if you want to visit the Cathedral café on the first floor. We’d recommend giving the team there a call on 01749 674483 to discuss any particular needs you might have. There are also Blue Badge parking spaces on Cathedral Green Road nearby.
Wells Bishop’s Palace
Of course, one of the most famous buildings in Wells is the home of the Bishops of Bath and Wells. Their historic moated palace, close to the city centre, has been around for 800 years and is well worth a visit. There’s plenty to keep you busy here, from the bell-ringing swans (really!), the medieval architecture of the palace and the fascinating gardens that surround them. Accessibility is generally good, with a lift to the upper floor of the palace, although the surfaces can be uneven in some places outside. We’re also big fans of the Bishop’s Table café by the moat drawbridge, and found that the staff there were very helpful. If you want to park nearby, then there are two Blue Badge spaces close to the drawbridge, but you will need to give the team a call a couple of days before your visit on 01749 988111 to reserve it.
While you are in the historic centre of Wells, we also highly recommend that you take a quick look at Vicars Close. It is apparently the oldest, intact medieval street in Europe, and it is a wonderful place to get a sense of what this town must have been like during the Middle Ages. The street was designed in the 14th century as a place to accommodate the Vicars Choral, who are the choir who sing everyday in the cathedral, and it is still their home today. It’s a cobbled street, so the surface isn’t ideal for scooters, but it is well worth a visit if you are close by.
For more information on the accessibility of many of Wells’ most famous and popular sites, as well as information on parking, take a look at this handy guide on the city’s main tourist information site.
Eating out in Wells
If you are looking for something not too pricey in central Wells then we’d definitely recommend the Courtyard Restaurant. It’s wheelchair accessible, close by the cathedral and offers a good selection of well-cooked local dishes. We also loved the TWENTYONE café and kitchen for their great cakes and a peaceful atmosphere.
Getting to Wells
The simplest way to get to Wells is by car: just take the A39 from the M5. There are no direct trains to the city, but there are regular connecting bus services to Bristol Temple Meads, Bath Spa, Frome and Castle Cary railway stations. Bristol Airport is around 20 miles away and is also possible to hire a car there for the onward trip to Wells itself.
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