Dear mummy, while touring Somerset on a long weekend break you stumbled on the smallest city in England called Wells and just had to share your visit. With only 12,000 inhabitants it’s only classed as a city because of its impressive medieval Cathedral which is visible from the southern point of the Mendips, an area of outstanding natural beauty with the famous Glastonbury nearby too.
My folks spotted Wells from Pen Hill and they drove down the winding roads past the tallest mast in the region, the Mendip UHF television transmitter, the views were spectacular and my folks were envious of the cyclists and walkers enjoying the warm September sunshine.
The Cathedral and the associated religious and architectural history have made Wells a tourist destination, which provides much of the employment in the city. It remains remarkably unspoilt and has many other historic buildings including the moated Bishop’s Palace, Vicars’ Close, St Cuthbert’s Church and a good local museum. As a result the beautiful location has served as many backdrops for several films and television programmes.
The history of Wells goes right back to Roman times when historians know that there was a settlement, probably because of the springs that bubble up there. The cathedral city of Wells gets its name from three wells, once believed to have curative powers, later dedicated to Saint Andrew. Two are within the grounds of the Bishop’s Palace and the cathedral, with a third now a prominent monument in the main market square.
Without doubt Wells is a beautiful city, not too dissimilar from Winchester in Hampshire, with so much history and lovely architecture it’s easy to get side tracked down the little lanes and end up in a cafe watching the world go by and taking in the atmosphere. But my folks were here for another reason…*sorry historians*
Wells has a little secret. 10 years ago it played host to a major British cult film called Hot Fuzz. Actors such as Simon Pegg (well know for his roles in recently blockbuster Star Trek films) and his sidekick Nick Frost descended onto the little market streets of Wells.
In 2006, for a few weeks, the city was transformed into Sandford, the fictional sleepy village in the British blockbuster film. Hot Fuzz was directed by local Wells boy Edgar Wright and went on to international acclaim and has taken on cult status. My folks love the film so were eager to follow the footsteps of the cast and crew.
If you haven’t seen Hot Fuzz it tells the story of London cop Sgt. Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) who is sent to the seemingly idyllic village of Sandford. At first life seems dull, but along with sidekick, PC Danny Butterman (Nick Frost), Angel soon discovers some sinister goings on.
As soon as my folks reached the main square of Wells they instantly recognised it from the film. The Crown pub was a major giveaway. A 15th century, Grade II listed coaching inn, in the heart of the historic City of Wells, Somerset; a stone’s throw from Wells Cathedral and Bishop’s Palace. The Crown is an integral part of the story and features in many of the background shots. My folks had fun pretending to reenact the film. Muttering ‘crusty jugglers’ along the way.
The city of Wells is one of the major stars of the film Hot Fuzz. From the Market Place, to St Cuthbert’s Church and back alleys of England’s smallest city, my folks saw almost all of the film’s locations. My folks only spent a couple of hours in the city just stopping for lunch while driving through and managed to see a lot of the film locations. They’re favourite place was visiting The Crown Inn.
Wells makes an ideal destination for a short break or long weekend and has much to see in it as well as providing an excellent base for exploring the surrounding area. Within 25 miles you can visit many attractions which include the famous caves at Wookey Hole, Cheddar Gorge & Caves, Glastonbury Abbey and Glastonbury Tor, Stourhead. It’s a real haven for nature lovers, with some great walks along rolling countryside and coastal routes, perfect for cyclists and campers too.
We’ll definitely be back as a family to spend longer in this beautiful city, with so much history to explore my folks only scraped the surface of this historical town as they just focused on the modern aspects! The city of Wells continues to be used as a backdrop to many films including recently The Huntsman Winter War, 2015 Starring Charlize Theron. Sounds like an awesome place to visit!
Love Bella xx