Wells: A Tiny Somerset City With A Huge History
Often referred to as the smallest city in the country, the city of Wells is located on the southern edge of the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Dating back to medieval times, Wells takes its name from the wells that can be found in the grounds of the Bishop’s Palace and in the marketplace.
Britain’s Smallest City, Just 17 Miles (30 Minutes) From The Archangel Inn
If you’re looking for the perfect base from which to explore Wells, The Archangel Inn is just a 40 minute drive away. With delicious food menus, thirst-quenching drinks and comfortable rooms, our beautiful village inn ticks all the boxes.
The cathedral that stands today was built in the latter part of the 12th century, though an earlier church had been in situ since c.700.
Widely regarded as the first cathedral in the world to be created in the gothic style, it is one of the finest examples of medieval architecture in the United Kingdom.
Although it took nearly three centuries to complete, many believe it was worth the wait, with Wells Cathedral becoming known as one of the most eye-catching religious buildings in the country.
Wells & Mendip Museum
The Wells & Mendip Museum is located in the former chancellor’s house, next to Wells Cathedral.
It was founded in 1893 by Herbert E. Balch, used initially as a means of exhibiting his own collections. The museum is now in the care of Wells Natural History and Archaeological Society, who have added their own memorabilia since.
As the name suggests, the Wells & Mendip Museum is dedicated to showcasing the history of the local area, with many examples from the Stone Age and Iron Age on display.
The Bishop’s Palace & Gardens
Adjacent to Wells Cathedral is the Bishop’s Palace & Gardens. Construction began at the beginning of the 13th century, though further development took place in the following centuries. Restoration work took place in the 19th century, which reinstated the palace to the fine example that we see today.
The gardens extend to approximately 14 acres in size and include St Andrew’s Spring, which supplies St Andrew’s Well, one of three wells which gave this remarkable city its name.
Supposedly the oldest intact residential street in Europe, Vicar’s Close in Wells boasts multiple grade I listed buildings that were built between 1363 and 1412.
Of the 40+ properties that were built for the vicars, 27 of them are still standing to this day. The water supply for the houses was initially drawn from two of the three wells that this city is famous for, with one well positioned at each end of Vicar’s Close.
With no TV aerials or satellite dishes in sight, Vicar’s Close is without doubt one of the most well-preserved streets in the country.
Around 3 miles outside of the city lies Ebbor Gorge, a limestone gorge and a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Around two-thirds of the area is owned by the National Trust, with the most prominent vantage points offering breathtaking views of the Somerset Levels and the surrounding areas.
The source of the River Axe, which rises at Wookey Hole Caves, is believed to be the watercourse which originally formed the gorge from the limestone.
Milton Lodge & Gardens
Situated on the southern edge of the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is Milton Lodge & Gardens.
Milton Lodge was built in 1790, but it wasn’t until the property passed into the hands of the Tudway family in the 19th century that plans were put in place for the gardens to be landscaped into the form that they retain today.
The views from Milton Lodge Gardens are unrivalled, boasting panoramic views of the city of Wells, the cathedral and the Vale of Avalon. The Tudway family still own the estate, ensuring its survival for the enjoyment of visitors.
Directions To The Archangel From Wells
Situated amongst the steep hills and cobbled streets of the historic market town of Frome, the Archangel dates back as far as the Domesday Book and was first recorded as an inn in 1311.
To reach The Archangel from South Street Car Park in Wells, you must head north towards South Street, continue onto Southover and then turn left onto Priory Road. At Strawberry Way Roundabout, take the 1st exit onto East Somerset Way (A371).
Turn left onto Riverside and then turn right onto Sleight Lane. Continue onto Crapnell Lane and then turn left onto Thrupe Lane. Turn right onto Old Frome Road and then, after 3.5 miles, turn right onto Long Cross Bottom.
Turn left onto Old Wells Road, and after 3.5 miles, turn right to stay on Old Wells Road for a further 1.5 miles. Turn left and continue for 1 mile, before turning right and proceeding for a further 2 miles.
Continue onto Egford Hill and then, after half a mile, continue onto Broadway. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Broadway (A362) and continue for half a mile.
At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Bath Street (B3090) and then turn right onto King Street where you will find The Archangel on your left.