Last week whilst taking my American guests on a tour of the beautiful cathedral city of Wells we were fortunate to witness the city's annual moat boat race. The race takes place every year on the August Bank Holiday on the 14th Century moat surrounding the Bishops Palace. Teams make their own rafts and then attempt to race them on the moat. Often in fancy dress, part of the challenge is to try and stay afloat in the sometimes precariously-made rafts! There are different races throughout the day - one for juniors, church groups, community groups, local businesses, over-18s and even one for the local air cadets who are more accustomed to setting their sights on the sky rather than the water! The event is a great day out for the residents of Wells and for the few savvy-tourists who have heard about the delights and charms of Wells. England has a number of quirky traditions and festivals and this boat race is one of them!
Wells is just an hours drive from Bath and thankfully it has yet to be discovered by the big coach tour companies. If you have a day free in Bath it is certainly worth taking a private tour to explore it. As England's smallest city it is a charming place to visit. There are a number of connections between Bath and Wells - one of them being the beautiful 13th Century cathedral. Inside the cathedral you can see the world's 2nd oldest working clock. It is believed to have been built by the same person who built the clock at Salisbury Cathedral which is said to be the oldest clock. Unlike the Salisbury clock this one has a fascinating clock face. Like Salisbury the cathedral in Wells also faced a precarious dilemma regarding its tower which resulted in an ingenious 14th Century solution.
The city of Wells is also home to Europe's oldest residential street which is one of the most photogenic streets that I know in the area. The street dates back to the 1300s!
Not far from Wells is the village of Cheddar - the birth-place of the famous Cheddar Cheese. The village is also home to the stunning Cheddar Gorge which is England's largest gorge. The 2 locations combine perfectly on a day trip from Bath which is why I created my Wells and Cheddar Gorge tour. During this tour we stop to visit the only cheese factory in Cheddar which makes Cheddar cheese using the traditional method and of course there is an opportunity to taste what is considered to be the world's most popular cheese! For the more active guests we also climb up to a viewpoint on the gorge which gives incredible views.
Close to Wells is the town of Glastonbury. Famous for its music festival, the town is also renowned for its myths and legends which feature King Arthur, Joseph of Arimathea and the Holy Grail! Today it is a popular place for New Age spiritualists. Glastonbury Abbey, now in ruins as a result of the Reformation, was once the wealthiest abbey in the country and was rumoured to have been more wealthy than the King at one stage! I have taken a number of guests on a tour of Glastonbury and so if this is somewhere you would like to visit please get in contact.
Bath is fortunate to be located within a beautiful and fascinating region so if you have the time - do give yourself 2 to 3 days to experience and enjoy the delights of the West Country.