The present Cathedral in Wells, started in 1180 and largely completed by 1306, is one of the most impressive cathedrals in Britain. It survives with all of the original buildings associated with the cathedral including Vicar's Close, the Chapter House and Cloisters.
It has been discovered from archaeological excavations, that there was a Roman Mausoleum on this site as well as a previous cathedral known as the Anglo-Saxon Minster church of St. Andrew. The foundations of the previous cathedral can be seen in the Camery Gardens just by the cathedral. Wells Cathedral has probably the grandest West Front of any cathedral in Britain. It still retains over 300 of the original medieval statues. Inside the Cathedral are the magnificent Scissor Arches. These were built in the fourteenth century to strengthen and support the heightened central tower. The cathedral clock is unique as it still has its original medieval 24 hour clock face and complicated mechanical figures which move and ring a bell every quarter hour.
Wells Cathedral guides are renowned both locally and nationally as some of the best in the country. The Cathedral offers the services of these highly trained volunteer guides at no extra cost. Groups may wish to book a general guided tour, or one that incorporates special interest areas such as the embroideries, stained glass windows, high parts or library. These need to be pre-booked (at least two weeks in advance) and are free of charge.