2020 is not a good year for a global traveller like me. With the Coronavirus lockdown came the cancellation of my trips abroad in April, May, June and July, as well as visits from my friends from Italy and Germany.
The only positive aspect that I could salvage from the situation was that it made me appreciate places closer to home. Even so, after months of lockdown, I yearned for a change of scenery even from the serenity of the New Forest.
The easing of the lockdown unleashed hordes of people heading for beaches on the south coast. All the pent-up frustration of being cooped up for months manifested itself in excessive exuberance, especially after a few drinks. My partner and I avoided the coast and the crowds in favour of the less touristic north Devon via Wells
This medieval city in Somerset has a population of only around 12,000 and is the smallest city in England. It can be called a city only because of its 13th century cathedral! Wells is about 45 miles (72 km) and 90 minutes’ drive from Salisbury. It’s such a pleasure for me to revisit this charming city after many years. It’s so compact that all the sights can be explored on foot.
How such a beautiful city like Wells manages to escape the fate of mass tourism like, for example, Bath and Winchester, should remain a well kept secret, just for the discerning visitors!!
Wells Market Place
It’s located right in front of Bishop’s Place. On my 2 previous visits there was a market at the square. Indeed a market has been held here every Wednesday and Saturday for years.
I have to admit that I prefer non-market days. With the cathedral and archway to the Bishop Palace (known as the Bishop’s Eye) as the backdrop and people relaxing with their coffees and refreshments at the open air cafes, there’s a continental atmosphere in the square.
The Town Hall
Even the town hall reminded me of a small Italian town!!
Because of our onward journey we didn’t have the time to visit this well preserved 13th century palace, with 14 acres of grounds and gardens. However the circular walk around the Bishop’s Palace was delightful.
Starting from the drawbridge with congregating swans, the moat and ramparts were really photogenic.
Around the corner the beautiful Mendip hills came into sight. The walk was certainly an half hour well spent!
The cathedral was as magnificent as I remembered. Unfortunately due to the coronavirus, the High Parts Tours , amongst other events were suspended. Still it was mesmerising just to look at the splendid cathedral, especially in front of its expansive lawn
Cathedral School – one of the many beautiful buildings near the cathedral
A short walk from the cathedral was this rare survival of a residential street, with its original buildings built in the 14th century. It was like a step back in time!
A few hours spent in Wells were not really enough! I hope to return for a whole day trip to explore Bishop’s Palace and climb the 250 steps with the 90 minutes tour of the upper areas of the cathedral
Finally, no fridge magnet this time, but I did take copious photos as can be seen!