Chained Library Tours

Chained Library Tours

Wells Cathedral’s Chained Library was built in the 15th century and houses a remarkable collection of early printed and manuscript books. For tour dates and booking information, please click the button below.


The dates for these tours in March and April are available to book now.



Tickets available by clicking this link

Library Tour Tickets



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. Our Chained Library houses books published before 1800 which were collected by the canons in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, reflecting their wide-ranging intellectual interests. To find out more, please visit the Chained Library page.

Tours offer an insight into the chained library and are led by our highly trained and enthusiastic Cathedral Guides.


If you’d like to make a last minute booking you can call us on 01749 671663 or ask at the Welcome Desk on the day of your visit.


Please allow one and a half hours for this popular tour. Be aware that access is by a stone spiral staircase and may not be suitable for those with mobility problems. Each tour has a limit of 8 people, and is not suitable for children under the age of 12.

Wells Cathedral Chained Library

Terms and Conditions

Please read this information carefully; the Cathedral wishes you to have an enjoyable and safe tour experience and we are grateful for your co-operation.

  • Before you commence the tour you will be asked to provide your name. Your signature will also be the acceptance that you have read and understood the terms and conditions.
  • Any visitors with mobility problems should consider carefully their suitability for the tour because of the stone spiral staircase
  • Food and drink should not be brought into the chained library.
  • Cameras are welcome but should be set not to take flash photographs.
  • All bags must be left inside the library entrance for security reasons. These will be safe as the library will be closed to other visitors during a tour.
  • If taking notes, we request pencils be used to prevent the risk of ink defacing books on display.
  • The maximum number in any Chained Library tour is currently 8.
  • Smoking and/or using mobile phones for anything other than taking photographs is not permitted during the tour.
  • Once the tour has started there will be no opportunity for a comfort break.
  • The lead Cathedral Guide is in charge of the tour.
  • The Cathedral reserves the right to refuse any visitor admittance on the tour if deemed to be in breach of any of the above. This will be for your safety and for the safety of others. The Cathedral’s decision is final and is not subject to appeal.



Are there ID or minimum age requirements?
The tour is not suitable for younger children and a minimum age of 12 applies if accompanied by a responsible adult.

What is the refund policy?
Refunds can be obtained 30 days prior to the Event.

Do I have to bring my printed ticket?
No, if you have the booking confirmation on your phone you can show it at the Donation Desk on arrival, or give your name when registering.

What can I bring with me on the Tour?
Bags can be securely stored inside the Reading Room but cannot be taken into the Chained Library.
If taking notes, we request pencils be used to prevent the risk of ink defacing books on display.
Mobile phones and cameras are allowed but flash photography is not permitted.
No food or drink is permitted within the chained library.

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