Wells: England's Smallest City

  • Port

    Bristol (Bath), England, United Kingdom

  • Activity Level


  • Excursion Type

    Local Sightseeing, All

  • Wheelchair Accessible


  • Starting At


  • Minimum Age

    Information not currently available.

  • Duration

    Approximately 5 Hours

  • Meals Included


With only 10,000 inhabitants, Wells is England's smallest city. A 1¼-hour motorcoach drive takes you south of Bristol, through the countryside and across the Mendip Hills towards Axbridge and Cheddar. Here the road climbs and winds its way through the three-mile Cheddar Gorge. The gorge itself is a narrow ravine with limestone rocks rising almost vertically on either side. It cuts through the Mendip Plateau -- a relic of the glacial activity of the last Ice Age.

Crossing open terrain, you will arrive at Wells -- a thriving market center that combines a wealth of historic interest and beautiful architecture. The city is named after St Andrew's Well, the sacred spring that bubbles up from the ground near the 14th-century Bishop's Palace, residence of the Bishop of Bath and Wells. Wells has maintained much of its medieval character with its cathedral and moated Bishop's Palace. The most striking feature of the cathedral is the majestic west façade with its 365 fine medieval statues of kings, knights and saints, many of them life size. There are splendid photo opportunities here. Step inside for a guided visit to the cathedral and stroll around the charming moated area surrounding the 13th-century Bishop's Palace. The palace moat is home to some rather clever swans who are smart enough to ring a bell beside the gatehouse when they want to be fed.

Leaving Wells, it's just a 15-minute drive to Glastonbury -- once a very important destination for pilgrims in England. As you approach, you will enjoy good views of Glastonbury Tor. The Tor is a natural hill crowned with the remains of a 14th-century church. As you drive through Glastonbury's medieval town center, you keep an eye out for the evocative ruins of an abbey founded in AD 700. Cross the County of Somerset and return to Bristol via the motorway -- a one-hour drive.


Tour does not operate on Sundays. Wear comfortable walking shoes. The Wells Cathedral charges a £4 photography fee.