Wells Cathedral charges divide opinion after controversial change

Wells Cathedral in Somerset
Wells Cathedral in Somerset -Credit:Bristol Live

New entry fees at Wells Cathedral have continued to divide opinion. The controversial £14 fee, which excludes local residents and people visiting for religious reasons, came into force on Monday, April 22.

Local reactions have been polarising, with one man alleging that he was "screamed at" by staff for entering without paying. Since then, mixed reviews have continued to appear online.

One review reads: "People shouldn't have to pay to go into churches and cathedrals, not with the hundreds of millions of pounds the Church of England are sitting on."

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But Wells Cathedral responded to the review, writing: "Thank you for your comments. It is our responsibility to maintain and care for Wells Cathedral and all it offers to our community for future generations.

"However, the Cathedrals of the Church of England receive limited funding from the church and government and rely on donations, legacies and grants as well as the income they can generate for themselves. That means here at Wells we must raise £4,500 per day through our own endeavours and with the vital help of our visitors, congregation and supporters.

"Of course there is no charge for people who wish to come into the Cathedral to pray, attend a service, light a candle, visit a memorial or have a quiet moment of reflection."

One reviewer said she would not visit again, writing: "I used to visit Wells Cathedral with my daughter all the time, but on our last visit we were told it was £14 to enter. We won't be visiting again.

"What happened to a donation system? It's a beautiful place but unfortunately we won't be going again."

However, the Cathedral also received a number of five-star ratings over the past few days, with one reading: "A must place to visit. The detail in this building is outstanding."

Another five-star review described it as an "amazing atmospheric Medieval church in England's smallest city". Meanwhile, another reviewer called it "a lovely place to visit, with the oldest working clock in the world inside, surrounded by lots of history and a great market on the way".