Special Interest Tours

Special Interest Tours


The Special Interest Tours of the Cathedral explore in detail the glorious stained glass, beautiful embroideries, awe-inspiring Gothic architecture, and fantastic stone carvings.

Tours can be booked up to 24 hours prior to the tour taking place.

Want to make a last minute booking? Call us on 01749 671663 or ask at the Welcome Desk on the day of your visit.

 

Dates throughout Summer and Autumn.

To book click the link below.

Wells Cathedral Special Interest Tours | Eventbrite

The maximum group size for the Special Interest Tours is currently 12. If you are part of a larger group that would like to experience one of these tours, or a mix of the four, please be in touch with the Visitor Services Co-ordinator, via visits@wellscathedral.org.uk.

Stained Glass

A tour of the glorious Stained Glass in the Cathedral takes you on a journey from C1290 through to the early 1900s. You will see glowing windows large and small including the magnificent 14th century Jesse window high above the Quire, surely one of the most beautiful examples of Mediaeval glass in the country. Later windows include vibrant Rouen glass and others by Willement, Powell and Kempe. If you have binoculars, bring them, then you can enjoy the finer details, and marvel at the skills of the gifted artists who designed and made these windows. So, book your tour now!

Book Tickets here

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Embroideries

Wells Cathedral Quire contains a fascinating and beautiful collection of over a hundred embroideries.  They were designed in the mid 20thcentury by Lady Alice Hylton, a talented artist, and made by a large group of embroiderers under the guidance of Isabel Jones, a retired lecturer from the Royal School of Needlework.  They relate to many of the Bishops, showing interesting details of their lives, and also to a wide variety of local history and legend connected to Wells and the West Country.

We also have a magnificent Millennium set of altar frontals and vestments for every season of the church year.  These were designed by Rev Maurice Strike, a theatre designer, and Jane Lemon MBE, a distinguished embroiderer and lecturer at the Royal School of Needlework in Hampton Court Palace, where the high altar frontals were made.  For a booked tour, all the altar frontals will be specially displayed, as well as a selection of the vestments, and our specialist guides will show you round in small groups.

Book Tickets here

 

 

Architecture

The building of the new church, which was to become the cathedral of the Bishop of Bath & Wells, was the first “great church” (it has those particular features) to be built, in this country, in the newly imported Gothic style. The period of construction of that church, 1175 – c. 1250 fits neatly into that first period of Gothic called Early English Gothic. Thus that “original” church was all of a piece of that style. Over the following three hundred years there was extension and revision, in the Decorated and Perpendicular styles in turn, as architectural fashion dictated. The tour will review the history of the cathedral and the evolution of the building with particular attention to representative and fine features.

Book Tickets here

 

Stone Carvings

The stories behind many of our stone carvings, with explanations of their dates and styles.

One of our highly skilled and experienced guides will lead you through the training, tools and material used by the carver. You will uncover the legendary West Front and explore its structure and its purpose.

Unearth the internal carvings including the stiff leaf capitals. “Wells is the best place in England to enjoy and study stiff-leaf capitals. Stiff-leaf foliage was an English speciality anyway; capitals of stylized foliage as beautiful as those of Wells do not exist anywhere outside England.

Book Tickets here 

Vicars’ Close and Treasury Bock

Discover the chain gate that links the cathedral to the legendary Vicars’ close. One of our expert guides will walk you through the steps of the Vicars Choral where you will learn about the origins of Europe’s oldest continuously inhabited street.
Peek into the atmospheric close chapel and discover this hidden gem. Why is it there? Who put it there?
You will then climb the beautiful and worn stairs into the medieval Vicars’ Hall and learn about how the Vicars Choral used this most amazing space.
And finally explore the Treasury Block which has never been accessible to the public. See the ancient furniture in this fascinating and beautiful space.

Book Tickets Here

Vicars' Close

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