Wells Cathedral has been described as “the most poetic of the English Cathedrals”, is set in the medieval heart of England’s smallest city and is 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.
Situated within an easy drive from major cities such as Bristol, Bath and Cardiff, we are pleased to welcome visitors from all over the world and it is really only by coming in person that you can properly experience this wonderful and holy place.
Wells Cathedral has some unique features that separate it from other English cathedrals.
The most notable are the beautiful inverted arches, more commonly called ‘scissor arches’, supporting the central tower. This structure was added in 1338 by Cathedral mason, William Joy, after the weight of a new spire on the top of the tower threatened to collapse the whole thing.
Wells Cathedral also has one of the largest collections of historic stained glass in the country. The Jesse Window, for instance, is one of the most splendid examples of 14th century stained glass in Europe, narrowly escaping destruction during the English Civil War.
Music is also integral to the worshipping and educational life of this holy place.Wells Cathedral Choir has been at the heart of the worshipping life of the Cathedral since 909 AD. It sings the daily services throughout the school terms and at other important points in the church’s year. Consider joining us for Evensong during your visit or look out for lunchtime concerts which may be taking place while you are with us by visiting our What’s On pages.
Please do check our Opening Times to avoid disappointment, noting particularly that some areas of the Cathedral are closed during services.
While admission to the Cathedral is free, donations are very welcome or ask about our Annual Pass. English Cathedrals receive no regular funding from the Government or the Church of England towards maintenance, restoration and development work and, here at Wells, we have to raise over £4,500 per day which must be achieved via our own endeavours and with the help of our visitors, congregation and supporters. There is no separate charge for our daily scheduled tours of the Cathedral.
Guide books, leaflets and information boards are available within the Cathedral to help interpret the historical, architectural and spiritual significance of the building.
You can also download and print out a copy of our Visitor Leaflet here, or visit our Maps and Guides page for more:
You are very welcome to attend our regular daily services, which are open to all and free of charge, take a guided tour, visit with a group or simply come and wander in your own time around this special building.
Free scheduled daily Tours of the Cathedral are available all year round (except Sundays). These are led by our excellent volunteer guides and last approximately 1 hour.
Fixed Date Special Interest Tours are also offered during the year which can offer a fascinating insight into specialist areas of interest at the Cathedral. Please visit our Tours of the Cathedral page for more information on themes, dates and booking details.
Interested in bringing your group to Wells Cathedral? We also provide a number of guided tours for group visits which, if pre-booked, offer a range of exclusive benefits.
We are committed to making Wells Cathedral accessible to all but, like many historic buildings, there may be some access issues. Please click here to read more about access to and around the Cathedral.
Flash photography is not permitted in the Quire at anytime to prevent damage to the delicate needlework. Neither photography nor recording is permitted during services.