+ A WEEK WITH THE QUEEN
Despite its small size, England remains stubbornly impossible to encapsulate in a neat sound bite. It’s a delectable mosaic of cultures, cities and landscapes, and any holiday in England will add up to an experience that’s way more than the sum of its parts.
Okay, so if you’re looking for reliable weather, this is not the place to come. But on every other stereotype, England will have you doing an about-face. Come expecting a nation of tea drinkers and pub goers, antiquated traditions and Sunday roasts – and leave knowing there’s so much more to it than that. For one thing, there are the cities. London hardly requires an introduction – its reputation as a global cultural heavyweight is well-established – but England’s regional cities warrant further attention. Though woven together by a shared history, these vibrant metropolises have fiercely individual characters and continue to make indelible marks on the fabric of this nation – and indeed the rest of the world.
The old industrial powerhouses of Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester have made outstanding contributions to music (think Black Sabbath, The Beatles, Oasis) and continue to punch above their weight culturally. And then there are the grandiose seats of learning, Oxford and Cambridge, where medieval architecture and cobbled streets evoke a powerful sense of history at every turn.
England’s eccentricities can bewilder (as a visit to the annual cheese rolling competition in Gloucestershire will prove), but despite the odd clash between tradition and modernity, the two make comfortable bedfellows. Visit England and you’ll see a place where liberal values have fostered a culture of tolerance and diversity, where self-deprecation is the modus operandi and where witty words beat correct answers almost every time.
It’s a country that rewards the curious, whether that means ducking into a pub for a chat with the locals or heading out into the wilds. Speaking of the wilds, England’s landscapes have it all: from the dramatic dales of Yorkshire and the rugged fells of the Lake District, to the bucolic hills of the Cotswolds and Cornwall’s dramatic coast. No wonder it’s one of the world’s most popular destinations.
- WALK ALONG ENGLAND’S LONGEST MEDIEVAL CITY WALLS IN YORK
Take a ramble in York and enjoy a bird's eye view of the city, passing landmarks such as the Ice House and Roman Fortress. York has, since Roman times, been defended by walls, and at 3.4 kilometres long, York has more kilometres of intact wall than any other city in England.
The original walls were built around 71 AD by the Romans to defend the city - the only remnant of this is the Multangular Tower in Museum Gardens built possibly on the orders of Constantine the Great. After the Romans, the Danes restored the walls punctuated by four main gatehouses, ('bars') that restricted traffic in medieval times. Micklegate Bar is the traditional ceremonial gate for monarchs entering the city and where Queen Elizabeth II entered the city in April 2012. Walk along all or part of the City walls and enjoy some excellent views of York. Walking a whole circuit should take about two hours.
- ENJOY LUNCH AND SHOPPING AT FISHERTON MILL'S ART GALLERY
Have a relaxing lunch made with fresh, local produce from Wiltshire in the 1880 grain mill at Fisherton Mill in Salisbury. Fisherton Mill is southwest England’s largest independent gallery. Its onsite café uses local produce and suppliers where possible, including Wessex cider and local beers.
The gallery café also offers an atmospheric setting in which to enjoy the great selection of homemade cakes. For fine days, there’s also seating in the courtyard. Once you’ve enjoyed your food, make time to explore the galleries, see resident artists in their studio workshops and pick up a unique gift.
Fisherton Mill, the largest independent art gallery in the south west, is the perfect place to pick up special something for a lucky person or for yourself. You can even have a go at whiskey tasting with Cambridge Wine Merchants, and treat yourself to a couple of bottles.
- WALK AROUND THE STONEHENGE LANDSCAPE
Did you know the famous stone circle is surrounded by other prehistoric monuments, which are all part of the Stonehenge World Heritage Site?
Take a Magical History Tour and explore some of the hidden gems of Wiltshire. Learn about some of Salisbury and Amesbury’s myths and legends and pay a visit to the World Heritage Site of Stonehenge too – home to lots of myths and wonders as to why this awe-inspiring site lies where it does and its meaning.
Take the bus to Amesbury and join a National Trust guided walk to discover ancient places such as the Great Cursus, the Stonehenge Avenue, King Barrow Ridge for its Bronze Age burial mounds, and the great henge of Durrington Walls which hides the remains of a Neolithic village. Alternatively, download a self-guided walk leaflet from the National Trust website to explore it at your leisure.
Walk through 2,100 acres of grassland which surrounds the famous stone circle, and it’s is a great place for picnics, with plenty of wildlife spotting on offer too – remember to bring your binoculars.
Before arriving at the famous World Heritage site you’ll get to stop at Old Sarum, an Iron Age hill fort, and enjoy the 360-degree views over the surrounding Wiltshire countryside. Then spend plenty of time pondering the mysteries of Stonehenge’s giant imposing stone circle, and exploring the newly opened visitor centre – not forgetting a stop off in Amesbury.
On return to the city, there is the opportunity to see some of the pretty surrounding villages and take in the view towards Salisbury Cathedral from the water meadows, made famous by the artist John Constable.
- SPEND A NIGHT GHOST HUNTING IN NEWCASTLE CASTLE
Uncover the horrifying history and hauntings of the castle from which Newcastle gets its name. From a fort to a court, Newcastle Castle has played a significant role in local justice throughout its 2,000-year history and is one of England’s most haunted castles and prisons.
Hear the gruesome details of real hangings, see the site of the 1694 Newcastle witch trials and follow in the fateful last footsteps of the victims of the merciless Victorian serial killer Daniel Feany. Inside the Castle Keep join paranormal investigators as they use new age ghost-hunting equipment to contact the spirit of Poppy the Flower Girl and the vengeful Black Monk.
Descend the narrow stone steps to the execution pit for a chilling séance you’ll never forget – if you live to tell the tale..
+ VISIT WELLS
"The medieval City of Wells ~ the smallest city in England
Wells CathedralThe historic City of Wells is just a short 45 minute drive from the beautiful City of Bath (UNESCO World Heritage City). The 22 mile route heads over the Mendip Hills and opens up a gateway to the one of England's less explored gems - Somerset. Wells makes an ideal destination for a short break or long weekend and has much to see in it as well as providing an excellent base for exploring the surrounding area.
Wells is a medieval city nestling on the southern side of the Mendip Hills with the mystic Somerset Levels stretching away to the south and west. The history of Wells goes right back to Roman times when we know that there was a settlement, probably because of the springs that bubble up here. Wells gets its name from these springs which can today be found in the gardens of the Bishop's Palace.
Wells is the smallest city in England with about 12,000 inhabitants. It can call itself a city because of the famous 13th century Cathedral. It remains remarkably unspoilt and has many other historic buildings including the moated Bishop's Palace, Vicars' Close, St Cuthbert's Church and a good local museum. The Wells Market Place, with lively markets twice a week, the narrow streets and an eclectic mix of building styles all reflect on the continuing development of the town throughout the ages.
Within 25 miles you can visit many attractions which include the famous caves at Wookey Hole, Cheddar Gorge & Caves, Glastonbury Abbey and Glastonbury Tor, Stourhead, Muchelney Abbey and the Fleet Air Arm Museum. The beautiful variety of landscapes ranging from coastal scenery, the Mendip Hills and Somerset Levels provide a wonderful playground for all sorts of activities including, caving, abseiling, horse riding, walking, cycling and nature watching.
We have created a number of maps for this website to help locate accommodation, restaurants and attractions. These include a really useful Wells Accommodation & Restaurant Map (pdf 369kb) and a Wells & Area Touring Map (pdf 1175kb) which you can download and print. To help you explore Wells we have compiled a fascinating circular Wells Moat Walk (pdf 1798kb) around the cathedral and Bishop's Palace moat, which takes about half an hour. During this you will see various unusual aspects of the city and also come right past the Black Dog of Wells studios.
Our business, Black Dog of Wells has been based in the city for over 40 years. Our workshop is located next to the cathedral in the heart of Wells. We specialise in designing and hand making unique, decorative terracotta wall plaques and ceramic wall murals. If you would like to see more of what we do, please click on one of the terracotta tiles to the left of the screen.
The Wells Information Visitor Service located in the Wells Museum can help you with any enquiries you may have. We look forward to seeing you sometime soon in our beautiful medieval City of Wells."
+ THINGS TO DO NEAR WELLS
Itinerary ideas for groups and tours
Situated in the heart of Somerset, Wells is an ideal base for any group or tour exploring the West of England. The places below highlight the diversity of the many attractions in our area.
Attractions / Places Approx. time/distance from Hotel Opening hours
Wookey Hole Caves 5mins/ 3 miles, 5km Seasonal
Clarks Shopping Village 15mins/ 8 miles, 13km Daily from 10am-6pm
Royal Bath & West Showground 10mins/ 9 miles, 14km Seasonal
Kilver Court Designer Village 10mins/ 9 miles, 14km Daily from 9.30am-5.30pm
Haynes Motor Museum 35 mins/ 18 miles, 29km Daily from 9.30am-5.30pm
Butcombe Brewery 35mins/ 18 miles, 29km Mon-Fri from 9am-5pm
Grand Pier, Weston-super-Mare 40mins/ 21 miles, 33km Daily from 10am
SS Great Britain, Bristol 40mins/ 22 miles, 35km Daily from 10am-5.30pm
Fleet Air Arm Museum, Yeovilton 40mins/ 22 miles, 35km Daily from 10am-5.30pm
The Holburne Museum, Bath 40min/ 22 miles, 35km Daily from 10am-5pm
Taunton Racecourse 45mins/ 35 miles, 56km Seasonal
West Somerset Railway 1hr25/ 46 miles, 74km Please see timetable
Wells Cathedral 0mins / 0 miles/ km Daily from 9am-5pm
Glastonbury Abbey 10mins / 6 miles, 10km Daily from 9am
Roman Baths, Bath 40mins / 22 miles, 35km Daily from 9.30am-4.30pm
Stonehenge, Wiltshire 1hr10 / 42 miles, 68km Daily from 9.30am - 5pm
Salisbury Cathedral, Wiltshire 1hr10 / 46 miles, 74km
Exeter Cathedral, Exeter 1hr35 / 64 miles, 103km Mon-Sat 9am-5pm, Sun from 11.15am
Houses and Gardens
Bishop's Palace and Gardens, 0mins / 0 miles/km Seasonal
Hestercombe Gardens, Taunton 45mins / 35 miles, 56km Seasonal
Longleat House & Gardens, Wiltshire 55mins / 20 miles, 32km Daily from 10am-5pm
Cothay Manor, Wellington 1hr25 / 44 miles, 70km Open from 11-4.30pm Seasonal
Countryside and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
Cheddar Gorge and Caves 10mins / 9 miles, 14km Daily from 10.30am-5pm
Mendip Hills 10mins / 8 miles, 13km
Avalon Wildlife, Avalon Marshes 25mins / 11 miles, 18km
Avebury Stone Circle, Wiltshire 1hr10 / 46 miles, 74km 11am-5pm Closed Wednesday
Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire 1hr25 / 54 miles, 87km
Lulworth Cove, Dorset 1hr40 / 62 miles, 100km
Exmoor National Park 1hr40 / 65 miles, 105km
|Bars, Irish / European Pubs, Grand Venues, Landmarks, Raves, Astronomy, Ritual, Night Clubs, Night Scenery, Live Theaters, Movie Cinemas
|Tropical Wet, Mediterranean, Marine West Coast, Highland