Wells Cathedral has one of the few chained libraries in Britain. It is especially attractive as it is still in its original location built in the 1450s, although the current bookshelves and chains are 17th Century.
The library has a superb collection of some 2,800 volumes, mainly published in the 1600s, with some early printed books from the 15th century as well as even earlier manuscript books. The subject coverage includes medicine, science, mathematics, languages, history, travel and exploration, as well as religious texts and theology.
Chained Library Tours
We host many tours of the chained library each year. These usually comprise a brief talk on the history of the library, followed by a chance to examine a selection of books whose significance is described. Exhibits can be tailored to special interests if desired.
Tours are available to groups, ideally between 8 and 12 people in number. If your group is larger than the maximum 12 please contact the Visits department to discuss arrangements.
The pre-booked tour costs £10 per person (inc VAT) and takes up to 1 ½ hours. Tours can take place most days and generally at times to suit the group but must be booked and with at least two weeks notice.
Flash photography is not permitted. The Library is accessed via a spiral staircase which may prove a barrier to those with mobility problems.
How to Book
For information about the Library or other Cathedral tours please contact our Visits Officer via email at [email protected] or call 01749 674483.
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.