Embroidery Tours

Wells Cathedral Quire contains over a hundred beautiful embroideries from the mid 20th century relating to the Bishops, local history, saints and legends, as well as the magnificent Millennium set of altar frontals and vestments for every season of the church year.

Precentor's stall embroidery

Embroidery Tour options:

Our Cathedral embroidery tours offer a fascinating insight into the different themes concealed in our beautiful embroideries.

1. Pre-booked tour for groups

Our popular embroidery tour is suitable for pre-booked groups and is certain to enthuse both experts in embroidery and those just keen to learn more!

Price: Our guided tour groups package costs £10 per person (inc. VAT) and includes the following:

• Entrance into the unique and magnificent Wells Cathedral, its surrounding grounds and Vicars’ Close

• A guided tour hosted by one of our experienced Cathedral Guides (lasts approx. 1 hour) which can be a general tour or a special interest tour theme such as Embroideries

• Photo permit for every group member (usually a separate charge of £4 per person)

• Fast track entry to the Cathedral (an entrance pack will be ready for you upon arrival to aid speedy entry)

• One free place for your party leader

How to Book: To pre-book an embroideries tour for your group, please email [email protected] or call us on 01749 674483.

2. FREE Weekly ‘Exploring the Embroideries’ – no booking required, suitable for individuals and groups

FREE themed walks from April to October showcasing the Cathedral’s embroideries. Starting at 11.40am every Saturday and Wednesday and lasting 20/30 minutes, there is no booking required. Simply gather at the Information Desk in the Entry Cloister to join the tour of your choice.  We offer a different theme each month:

April – Royal Connections

It is traditional for the Bishops of Durham and Bath and Wells to stand beside the monarch during the Coronation ceremony.  We shall look at those of our Bishops who were involved in this duty, and also at embroideries worked to mark the Gold and Diamond Jubilees of our Queen.

May – St Dunstan

St Dunstan’s Day falls on 19th May, and there is a move in the area to celebrate him as our local saint, so it is appropriate to learn a little more about him.

June – Flowers

There are a number of flowers in our embroideries, on their own or as part of the overall design.  A person who was an inspiration in the early days was Louisa Pesel; learn more about her as we look at the embroideries.

July – King Alfred

What we usually remember from school days is that Alfred burnt the cakes!  There is no mention of that incident in our embroideries, but there is plenty to interest us.

August – Cathedral Treasures

We have a number of memorable details in the Cathedral and quite a few of them are illustrated in the embroideries.  Come and see how many you recognise.

September – Heraldry

Come and learn a little about the significance of what appears on coats of arms in the embroideries.

October – Musical Instruments

Before organs came into use a variety of instruments were used in making music on special occasions; some are illustrated in our embroideries.

Shopping and Refreshments

A warm welcome awaits you in our Cathedral shop which stocks a wide range of unique mementoes and gifts.

Our café also offers a tempting array of freshly cooked, locally-sourced food and pre-booked catering packages are also available for Groups booking a tour. Simply call 01749 676543 for details or visit our Catering Packages for Groups page on the website.

A Tribute to Jane Lemon M.B.E.

The embroidery guides wish to pay tribute to Jane Lemon who died on 6th January 2015. Jane, together with Rev’d Maurice Stuke, designed the frontals and vestments marking the second millennium. She then made herself available to the guides, explaining the thinking behind the designs; thus enabling us to present them to our visitors more meaningfully. We remember her with thanks and affection.