Group Visits and Travel Trade
There is plenty for groups to see and enjoy at Wells Cathedral. Set in the medieval heart of England’s smallest city, and the earliest English cathedral to be built in the Gothic style, the current building was erected between the 12th and 15th centuries and is a significant landmark in Somerset and the South West.
Easily accessible from Bath, Bristol, Wales and the West Country, Wells Cathedral makes an unforgettable and unique addition to your group’s itinerary.
Wells Cathedral is open to pre-booked groups on Monday-Saturday between 10.00am-3.30pm and Sunday between 12.30pm-1.30pm (note that no guided tours take place on Sunday however).
Group Visit Highlights Include:
• The magnificent West Front which contains one of the largest galleries of medieval sculpture in the world
• Our stunning scissor arches; a medieval solution to sinking tower foundations
• The second oldest surviving clock mechanism in Britain
• Vicars’ Close; the oldest continuously inhabited street in Europe
• Our impressive Chapter House and steps
• One of the most substantial collections of medieval stained glass in England including the Jesse window which narrowly escaped destruction during the English Civil War
• Recipient of TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence
Book the Tour of Your Choice
If you pre-book your group visit with us our entry charge includes the services of one of our highly trained, experienced guides which can really add to the enjoyment of your visit.
Your entry charge of £4.75 per head (ex VAT) provides you with a General Guided Tour of the Cathedral (allow approximately 1 hour)*. These tours do need to be pre-booked so that we can accommodate the date and time of your choice and guarantee you a guide. Minimum and maximum numbers apply. Please note that availability of guides will be confirmed at latest two weeks prior to the date of the booked tour.
*Special Interest Tours are also available with themes that can be tailored to suit the preferences of your group. Minimum group size of 8 (see below for Special Interest Tour themes). Contact our Visits Department for more details and prices.
Benefits of Pre-Booking
Pre-booked groups of 10 or more receive a range of exclusive benefits including:
- A group rate of £4.75* (ex VAT) per head for a general tour (a saving on the ‘walk-in’ suggested donation rate)
- Free tour guide (including foreign language guides) taking in a General Guided Tour of the Cathedral
- 10% discount for all group members in the Cathedral café and in the Cathedral shops
- Free place for the group organiser, tour manager or bus driver
- Free familiarisation visit for the tour leader ahead of the visit
- Option to pre-book leaflets
*Please contact our Visits Department for more details and prices for our Special Interest Tours (see below)
Special Interest Tours Themes
Instead of our General Guided Tour, choose instead from our comprehensive range of Special Interest Tours which are ready-made to provide your group with a themed tour of your choice. A summary is below of special interest tour themes is below. A minimum of 8 people is required for these tours:
Library – 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.
Embroideries – Wells Cathedral Quire contains over a hundred beautiful embroideries from the mid 20th century, as well as the magnificent Millennium set of altar frontals and vestments for every season of the church year.
Stained Glass - Wells Cathedral has one of the most substantial collections of medieval stained glass in England, the crowning glory being the Jesse window at the eastern end above the altar which narrowly escaped destruction during the English Civil War. The Cathedral also contains important and interesting glass from the 1500s, 1600s and the 1900s. (Please note that for stained glass tours binoculars are highly recommended as this will greatly increase the enjoyment of the experience; many images are high up and quite small!.
‘A Doorway into Gothic Architecture’ – Wells, England’s first Gothic Cathedral, is the work of an unknown designer who was a master mason of original genius and offers a ‘textbook’ of English medieval architecture without the dryness often associated with such works.
‘The Remarkable Wells Cathedral Stone Carvings’ – Cathedral Guides with specialist knowledge will tell the stories behind many of our stone carvings, with explanations of their dates and styles. You will also learn about the tools that were used and what is known of the master masons and carvers. Our tour will include the famous Wells Cathedral West Front, which has an international reputation for containing “the largest collection of medieval statues in the world.”
How to Book
In order to ensure you benefit from the pre-booked groups rate and so that we are able to guarantee you a guide, pre-booking is essential. Our busy Cathedral diary means that we also ask for two week’s notice if possible. Remember – group organisers go free! Please note that availability of guides to be confirmed at latest two weeks prior to the date of the booked tour.
To discuss your requirements and to book your visit please call us on 01749 674483 or email us at [email protected]
Wells is easily reached by both car and public transport. Situated approximately 20 miles from Bath, Bristol and Bristol International Airport, it is the perfect location from which to explore the beautiful county of Somerset. Visit our Travelling to Wells and Parking page for more information.
If you would like to bring a group for morning coffee, lunch or afternoon tea please call us in advance for details of our special pre-booked group catering options. Visit our Catering for Groups page for more details, email our catering team at [email protected] or phone us on 01749 676543 for details.