Book a great little place to stay through Culture Trip – and prepare for spiritual moments in the famous Wells Cathedral, as well as the Somerset landscapes beyond.
Why Wells for a weekend? The list of local attractions reads like everyone’s dream holiday tour: close by, you can explore the Mendip Hills and Somerset Levels, Cheddar Gorge, Wookey Hole Caves, Kilver Court Gardens and Glastonbury Abbey and Tor. The city itself is a stunner, famous for its cathedral – the earliest of its kind to be constructed in observance of the gothic style. You’ll want somewhere characterful to rest your head – and we know the best places to stay near Wells Cathedral.
Best Western Plus Swan Hotel
Courtesy of Best Western Plus Swan Hotel / Expedia
This 15th-century coaching inn, a three-minute walk from Wells Cathedral, is also a nice slice of history. Painstaking restoration work has produced luxurious suites and self-contained apartments laden with antiques, including carved-wood four-posters. Special occasion? Book the Cathedral Suite with its purple and gold surrounds, and its views of the 12th-century cathedral. Sip on complimentary champagne as you soak in the freestanding brass bathtub. Each morning, tuck into local, free-range scrambled eggs before a tour of that religious masterpiece and its gardens.
The good-looking, half-timbered facade sets the tone for this atmospheric lodge: step in to find low wooden beams, polished vintage-style pumps for pulling pints of local ale, and industrial metal and leather seating. Rooms are calm and welcoming, in natural tones of green and brown, and fabrics from tartan to velvet. Make sure you have a nose-around the Market Place, close by the hotel: flanked by two medieval gateways known as Penniless Porch and the Bishop’s Eye, it comes alive on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Families – and fans of the colour red – will adore the bright-painted rooms at this relaxed hotel, right next to Wookey Hole’s limestone caverns, on the southern edge of the Mendip Hills. Framed canvas scenes of local tourist spots add colour, and beds are topped with towel-art from elephants to swans. If it’s a birthday, treat your kids to a night in the two-level Witch’s Hat VIP Suite, sleeping four in rounded, turreted rooms. Help yourselves to fruit and cereal in the Bistro while you wait for your eggs and bacon. Wells Cathedral is barely 3mi away, and in 10 minutes you can drive to Glastonbury.
Colour rules at this popular pub-turned-B&B, between Shepton Mallet and Wells: flashes of fuchsia meet pops of purple and black wrought-iron fireplaces, offset by pale walls in boutique-style bedrooms. Breakfast on cereal or sausages in the atmospheric dining area, lined with chunky oak beams, flagstones and an inglenook fireplace – if the sun’s out, slip out to the cute courtyard garden. If you’ve bagged the self-catering apartment, you’ll have a sleek kitchen to fix breakfast in. The owner will pack you a locally sourced picnic for days out exploring nearby Wells Cathedral, less than 10 minutes’ drive away.
Short of sleeping within its gothic walls, you couldn’t get closer to Wells Cathedral than this charming hotel. It’s a quirky historic building on Wells Cathedral Green – expect to clamber up centuries-old spiral stairs and along quaint passages en route to your room. Some are cocoons of soothing green floral wallpaper, with views of the cathedral, while others have hefty carved four-poster beds. Full English breakfasts set guests up for a day nosing around the cathedral and the old streets of Wells. Book a table for dinner – Italian classics at the in-house restaurant.
An easy 15-minute walk from Wells Cathedral, this vine-wrapped, stone-clad cottage has six acres of garden, five lovely rooms and plenty of bucolic views. Decor is atmospheric, marrying four posters with plum drapes and ornate antique pieces. Laze your stay away in the sitting rooms, the reading room and the help-yourself guest pantry. Then there are the English country gardens – all colourful borders, benches, ponds and sculptures. Ask to have your gourmet continental breakfast in the conservatory, overlooking the lush local scenery.
If you’re into outdoorsy pursuits – walking, caving, riding – you’ll feel right at home in this warm and friendly 1950’s farmhouse in the village of Priddy. It’s got a campsite, and is just a short walk from a clutch of welcoming pubs as well as a farm shop. Bedrooms are subtly done out in pastel tones and pine furnishings, and you get a hearty cooked breakfast to fuel you up for the day’s activities. Once you’ve climbed and caved to your heart’s content, it’s an easy 6mi drive – or walk, if you’re up to it – to Wells, for a look round the cathedral.
The USP of The Crossways? Honest-to-goodness home comforts – coupled with attractive contemporary styling. Natural colours – urban-trendy oatmeals and chocolates – fill the spacious rooms, which are filled with unpretentious wooden furniture and deliver dreamy rural views – after all, you’re very close to the limestone Mendip Hills. Book the sleek Deluxe Four Poster room for its bold, sharp-angled bed and blissful whirlpool tub. Come morning, help yourself to coffee, tea, juice and toast then drive for 10 minutes to Wells to explore the sights.