Special Interest Tour Themes for Groups

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.  They do need to be pre-booked so that we can accommodate the date and time of your choice and guarantee you a guide. Please note that availability of guides will be confirmed at latest two weeks prior to the date of the booked tour.

Choose from one of the themes below then contact us to make your booking based on the tour of your choice:

Chained 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.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.

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.

 The Chained Library Quire Embroideries View from Lady to Chapel West


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

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. It is now one of the best preserved windows of the period in the country.

Among stained glass enthusiasts Wells Cathedral is famous for having the greatest collection of 14th century glass in the East End of any major church in the country.’ (The Medieval Stained Glass of Wells Cathedral, Tim Ayers, 2004).

The Cathedral also has important and interesting glass from the 1500s, 1600s and the 1900s designed by some of the leading Glass Manufacturers of their time.

Please note that for ALL tours binoculars are highly recommended as this will greatly increase the enjoyment of the experience (many images are high up and quite small!).

West Front detail nave-1 Doorway into Gothic 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.

The Early English Nave shows his work in its confident perfection; the West Front is the crowning achievement of this period. The Decorated period shows the work of two more highly original masters in the Chapter House, the Lady Chapel and the unique ‘Scissor’ Arches. England’s distinctive contribution to the Gothic is seen to perfection in the Perpendicular chantry chapels.

So the Cathedral 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 reduced 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. A minimum charge of £80 (minimum 8 people) applies to Special Interest Tours. Remember – group organisers go free!

To discuss your requirements and to book your visit please call us on01749 674483 or email us at [email protected]

Catering Packages for Groups

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.