We are committed to making Wells Cathedral accessible to all and are proud recipients of a Silver Award in the Bristol, Bath and Somerset Tourism Awards; Access and Inclusivity category. However, like many historic buildings, there may be some access issues.
Public access to Wells Cathedral is via the main entrance in the New Entrance Cloister which has a level floor surface, and then via the West Cloister to a ramp with handrail adjacent to 5 steps giving access to the main Cathedral floor which has a level surface throughout providing access to all areas except the Chapter House and Library, although visitors are reminded that as with any historic building some areas of paving have become worn unevenly over time.
For services and events outside of opening hours access for visitors is either via the North West door in the West Front which has a ramp, or via the South West door in the West Front which has a single step and restricted access internal porch.
To exit the Cathedral the access route is the same except in the New Entrance Cloister where instead of the using the main entrance visitors are directed to the main exit with a ramp.
Access to the Chapter House is only via a steep set of 31 steps with a handrail to the lower section, which again due their historic nature have been subject to uneven wear over time. Access to the Library is via a restricted width spiral staircase of 28 steps in total.
For other areas of the Cathedral, access around the Cloisters is via the entrance ramp with handrail in the West Cloister or a narrow historic doorway and 6 steps in the East Cloister. Access to the central Palm Churchyard is via 3 shallow steps from the West Cloister, or 2 steep steps from the East Cloister. Access to the Camery Garden is via a ramp. Access to the Cathedral café on the first floor of the New Entrance Cloister is by a lift adjacent to the main exit with space for or one wheelchair, or a flight of 16 stairs with a handrail.
Please call 01749 674483 to confirm access arrangements to any other buildings including offices within the Cathedral.
Wheelchair facilities are available on arrival (subject to availability) and can also be pre-booked by calling 01749 672773.
Spaces are reserved for wheelchair users and their companions in Cathedral services and concerts. These cannot be pre-booked but sidespeople will provide assistance on arrival.
On most days of the year (Monday to Saturday), regular, scheduled tours of the Cathedral are available for our individual visitors. These tours are generally accessible for all visitors (including physically and visually impaired) unless the route takes in the Chapter House but the Guide will be able to tailor the route to suit the needs of visitors at the time.
Guided tours are available for visually impaired visitors if booked in advance by calling 01749 672773.
Visitor leaflets are available in 11 languages, the UK leaflet is also available in Braille and in Large Print (copies available in the Cathedral). Copies are also available online in Visits/Entry/Maps & Guides.
Unlocked, disabled toilet facilities are provided in two toilet blocks inside the Cathedral (one by the exit, one in the Friends Building).
Disabled parking provided by the local authority is available in the indicated parking bays on Cathedral Green Road and elsewhere throughout the City of Wells. For information on disabled parking in Wells please visit the Mendip District Council website here.
For large groups arriving by coach or minibus please call 01749 674483 to confirm access arrangements for a drop off point adjacent to the West Front of the Cathedral. Disabled WC facilities are located in the public toilets at the East end of the South Cloister and the café toilets adjacent to the main exit.
The Cathedral is equipped with a hearing loop system that covers microphones within the Nave and Quire of the main Cathedral floor, which is used at all services for spoken word elements. A portable hearing loop system is also provided for spoken word services within the Lady Chapel.
Guide dogs, hearing dogs and assistance dogs are welcome in the Cathedral at all times. Other dogs are welcome in the Cathedral providing they are on a lead, well-behaved and accompanied at all times by their owner(s). There is no provision for dogs to be left with staff or volunteers and any dogs who bark consistently or are in distress/are disruptive can be asked to leave with their owners. Dogs are not allowed on any tour that goes above ground-level (which includes the Library and High Parts Tours). Water bowls are available in the Cathedral and dog biscuits are available for sale in the cafe.
Staff and volunteers have received training in Dementia Care, in partnership with the City of Wells Dementia Action Alliance.
Special Schools are very welcome at the Cathedral; we offer multi-sensory tours in very small groups and use of our secure Education Suite. Please click here for more information.