A couple of weeks ago, my partner in crime came to stay for the weekend.
Vicky and I had already recently spent the weekend together in London, alongside our other two flatmates from the final year of our undergrad course. But seeing as she was due to jet off to the South Pole for the first part of her PhD research (talk about exciting!), she came to give the South West one last visit. After about five minutes of deliberation over birthday cake and Elf on the Friday night, we decided to spend the following day in the cathedral city of Wells.
(Again, apologies for the phone pics..)
Being the cheap, scroungy students we are, we parked the car for free down a residential road as soon as the surrounding landscape looked substantially "cityish" and walked in. Following the spires of churches and the outline of the cathedral, we made our way into the city centre (with a little help from a very friendly Big Issue vendor who helped set us right when we were led astray by a signpost that had been tampered with!)
We mooched around the independent shops, including the ever so cute Sew Vintage, and spotted a vegetable stall selling avocados, 5 for £1 - that's 20p each!!! What on earth?! Even more incredibly, we managed to leave the city without any avocados (but we did load up with about 5kg of sprouts, carrots, potatos and parsnips for our Christmas dinner party the next day!)
So there you have it, ladies and gents, Wells in Somerset is the ultimate destination for avocado shopping.
In addition to the super cheap avocados, we were pleasantly surprised by the range of independent shops and boutiques in Wells. Delis were stocked with delicacies from near and far and the Oxfam bookshop was a dream of a store worth spending a good half hour in. But it was The Good Earth that really impressed us - the homeware store was crammed full of beautiful things to make your home look and smell wonderful. And then we spotted the cafe...
We caught the tail-end of lunch which still saw the cafe bustling and full of people. Luckily, we managed to find a table upstairs and joined the queue snaking through the dining rooms. They'd run out of the steaming bowls of soup we'd seen hurrying past us but the beetroot tian topped with goats cheese was so delicious, I can't imagine the soup would have been any better (recipe on their website, thank goodness!) With our bowls piled high with the day's salads, we wobbled up the stairs and set to devouring our feast.
Which took so long (there was so much food), we were dining by ourselves towards the end!
As we left, we could see that most of the options had been scrubbed off the chalkboard menu, with only a couple of options left that hadn't sold out! Lunch is served there from midday and I really recommend getting there early to make sure you have your pick of the bunch - it's all incredibly delicious and all vegetarian! Hallelujah.
After that feast, we set off for a walk around Wells. Any fans of Hot Fuzz might recognise the buildings in the photo above!
We made our way round to the Cathedral Green and towards the Vicars' Close, the very heart of historic Wells.
I'd spotted the Vicars' Close on Mona's blog here and was so excited to go and see it for myself. It certainly didn't disappoint and was every bit as beautiful as I'd hoped for. We went for a leisurely stroll up and down the street, doing a lot of dream house shopping as we went.
With construction beginning in 1348, Vicars' Close is claimed to be the oldest planned residential street in the whole of Europe! The end of the close is tapered so that from the entrance by the cathedral, it looks much longer - sneaky!
We were incredibly lucky with the weather that day and were treated to some beautiful golden winter sun painting the entirety of the Cathedral Green.
And whilst we hadn't been planning on going inside, the sounds of opera singing drew us towards the Cathedral itself.
As we explored the cathedral, we were lucky enough to hear a rehearsal for an upcoming concert take place. Hearing the music echo through the vaulted ceilings made us think of all of the people who have come and walked and prayed and sang inside this beautiful building since construction began in 1175.
(We also found the entrance to Hogwarts in there).
By the time we left, the shops were shutting and the Bishop's Palace was closed to new visitors for the day. We admired it from the outside before taking a leisurely walk back to the greengrocer selling those damn cheap avocados.
And then, with our arms absolutely full of veg, we staggered back to the car and drove back to Exeter through the fading pink sunset.
An absolutely beautiful place for a day out or a romantic weekend!