This one does require a trip over the water and into the smallest City in the UK. Trust us though, Wells is a beautiful place and what we’re about to tell you is absolutely incredible. The team here at SOUTH WALES LIFE have done a few things at Wells Cathedral over the years and climbing into the high parts was one of the highlights.
They sell out really quickly and they are a bit of a tricky climb, but of you get to do it, you will not reckon the trip of the money. There is a lot to tell you but hopefully, it’ll inspire you to do the climb. Before we tell you about that, if you have a few minutes, this conversation with Dr Stephen Zucker and Dr Beth Harris gives a bit of an insight into the Cathedral itself.
During the tour you’ll climb the spiral staircase to walk in the footsteps of Wells Cathedral masons with new behind-the-scenes tour of Wells Cathedral’s High Parts; one of the most memorable things to do in Wells!
- Discover hidden spaces, galleries and chambers, including behind the Wells clock
- See one of only two surviving tracing floors in the country where masons drew templates on the floor
- Walk along the singing gallery, complete with and learn about trumpet holes!
- Explore the south transept roof space
- And marvel at the nave from a very different perspective!
Each Tour lasts 1.5 hours and does not include the tower. If you ever get to do the tower, that is truly spectacular, they don’t allow it very often nowadays though. To give you a sense of what it’s like, have a look at this Phantom Drone view…..
Now the bits you need to know before booking, there’s a lot of safety information to take in. Please read this information carefully as you will be expected to comply with all restrictions and requirements listed below; the Cathedral wishes you to have an enjoyable and safe tour experience.
- Before you commence the High Parts Tour you will be asked to provide your name and age range to assist in the safe operation of the tour.
- Your signature will also be the acceptance that you have read and understood the visitor safety instructions and terms and conditions. The responsible adult will be asked to sign on behalf of children under the age of 18 on the tour.
- Any visitors with a fear of heights or confined spaces and/or in poor health should consider carefully their suitability for the tour.
- The tour is not recommended for any of the following visitors:
Those with breathing difficulties
Those with heart conditions
Those with joint problems
Those with balance problems
Those with reduced mobility
Those who are pregnant
Those who have any other medical condition which could put them at risk, or be worsened by the tour
- They request that all asthma sufferers bring their inhalers with them on the tour.
- Children and adults must be able to ascend and descend the tour unaided.
- There are up to 250 steps, uneven floors, low ceilings and the narrowest point is just 60cm (2ft.) wide.
- The stairs are steep and narrow in places; therefore it is essential you wear suitable clothing and footwear and so not carry handbags or rucksacks or anything with a strap, including cameras. Secure storage will be provided. High heels, flip flops, in bare feet will not be admitted on the tour. Sandals must be securely fastened front and back.
- Cameras are welcome but anything larger than a compact camera which can be carried in a pocket (such as a single lens reflex) must be carried in front of the body on a strap round the neck. No long lenses will be allowed
- The maximum number in any upper levels tour is 12 and no children under the age of 10 years are permitted on the tour.
- Children between the ages of 10 and 16 years must be accompanied by one adult for every two children, unless they are part of an organised youth group when at least two adults must be in attendance.
- Smoking and/or using mobile phones for anything other than taking photographs is not permitted during the tour. You must exercise caution when taking photographs and should not lean over barriers or step backwards to get a better picture.
- Once the tour has started there will be no opportunity for a comfort break.
- The lead Cathedral Guide is in charge of the tour; anyone not following the Guide’s instruction will be escorted back to the ground floor level while the rest of the group wait.
The Wells Cathedral High Parts Tour is happening on a number of dates in January. It’ll cost between £7.38 and £21.08. The family ticket includes 2 Adults and 3 children between 10 and 16 years.
Bookings can be made here WELLS just select the date you want to go. If you want to make a last minute booking call them on 01749-671663 or ask at the Donation desk on the day of your visit.
A couple of other things about Wells, as we said it is officially the smallest City in the UK. The swans are very famous there. The tradition of Swans on the Moat at The Bishop’s Palace is thought to go back to the 1850’s when it is likely that a Bishop’s daughter first taught the swans to ring a bell at the Gatehouse for food. We now have two swan bells – one just beneath the window on the left of the Gatehouse, the other to the right – both with a rope hanging down for the swans to pull.
We found this great Pathe News feature from 1939, which in true ‘upper-lip’ style, shows the history of Wells. Actually, having watched it, nothing much has changed there.
Wells itself starred in the Simon Pegg movie Hot Fuzz when it was transformed into Sandford. It was shot there and actually had its World Premiere in the local cinema, where writer Edgar Wright was projectionist. If you do the Cathedral tour you can also check out all the movie locations too.