Wells has come second in a Which? “best UK towns and villages” poll – despite being a city.
Beautiful Wells, with its historic cathedral and picturesque surrounding countryside, came joint runner-up alongside Castle Combe, with Avebury in Wiltshire taking the top spot.
Despite taking the accolade as one of the UK’s “best towns and villages”, the Mendip settlement has had city status since the medieval times.
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It is often described as England’s smallest city, although some critics argue it is actually the country’s second smallest to the City of London in area and population.
A statement from Which? reads: “Wells received five stars for its tourist attractions and four stars in every other category including scenery and attractiveness.
“Tourist attractions include the cathedral, as well as the moated Bishop’s Palace and Vicars’ Close, a complete medieval street inhabited by vicars.”
Wells was joined in the top three by two other South West favourites, Castle Combe and Avebury in Wiltshire.
A statement from Which? reads: “Avebury visitors were particularly enthusiastic about its stone circle, but along with its Neolithic sites, Avebury also offers visitors a 16th-century manor house and garden managed by the National Trust, the Alexander Keiller museum displaying many of the archaeological finds from the area, and a quaint village pub with a thatched roof.
“With its pretty houses and twisting lanes, complete with a babbling brook, the quintessentially English village of Castle Combe was given five stars for scenery and attractiveness.
“The village has appeared in a number of cinematic productions including Warhorse and Downton Abbey, and is revered as one of England’s prettiest villages.”
Rory Boland, Which? travel editor, added: “The UK is full of towns and villages bursting with character and history, many of which are relatively quiet and unspoilt making them perfect destinations for a day trip or a holiday.
“Avebury topped the table in our survey on account of its unique history and quintessential English surroundings, while other high scorers impressed with their tourist attractions and excellent surroundings.
“Whether you’re looking for somewhere with peaceful walks and bracing scenery, or simply a selection of independent shops and cosy pubs to idle in, there are a wealth of brilliant towns and villages to explore across the country waiting to be explored.”
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