I’m pretty lucky in that I live in the South West – a beautiful part of the UK. There are several places I want to see more of, and last month I managed to take a trip up to Wells in Somerset. Though Wells has a population of around 10,500, it has been a city since medieval times due to its impressive cathedral.
Though much of Wells’ tourism is because of its history, my main reason for visiting was that is was the filming location for one of my favourite films, Hot Fuzz (2007) directed by Edgar Wright and starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, standing in as the fictional village of Sandford in Gloucestershire. I think I have mentioned before I am a film nerd and like visiting filming locations around the UK and hopefully in coming years I will travel abroad to visit amazing places that have also been filming locations for my favourite films and TV shows.
Before I went, I did a quick Google of where locations were, as it has been over 10 years since the film was made and things could have changed. I found a PDF file, which showed a map of the centre of the city, with annotations for what scene had taken place where. Here’s a link to the PDF – it was very handy! I only missed seeing the place where Sgt. Nicholas Angel (Pegg) is jumping over fences chasing the shoplifter. Sadly, I didn’t find a good shortcut to it.
A lot of the action in Hot Fuzz took place on the High Street in Wells, and a lot of the buildings were easily recognised, from The Crown pub to the Town Hall. There was a market taking place on the day I went (I presume there is one every Saturday) so though I couldn’t get many photos, it was still exciting to see places I’d only seen on film before.
I think my favourite spot I visited was St Cuthbert’s church, a little way off from the High Street, the location of the film’s village fete and where journalist Tim Messenger (Adam Buxton) was killed. It is the largest parish church in Somerset, and has apparently been mistaken for the cathedral. The church dates to the 12th century, though two other buildings have been on the same sight before. The current building has been added to over the years but some of the original building remains, such as piers and arches of the nave arcade.
The weekend I visited Wells was just before Remembrance Sunday, and the Bishop’s Palace (the meeting ground of the village elders #TheGreaterGood) was covered in an amazing poppy display. I’m glad I managed to see that.
The market on that weekend was also a good opportunity for me to start some Christmas shopping, with stalls selling local produce from preserves and sweet treats to handmade jewellery to old vinyl records. There was even an antique market in the town hall – perfect for fancy dress and vintage jewellery, if that was an interest to me!
The weather cleared up in the afternoon, giving me a lovely view of Wells Cathedral. I didn’t go in, and annoying found out after there is an astronomical clock from 1325 which still has its medieval face. I should have done more research on the city’s point of interest rather than about Hot Fuzz! I guess that means I have to go again in the summer!
I highly recommend visiting Wells, it’s a lovely city that feels like a town due its small size, surrounded by gorgeous countryside. There are plenty of other locations in the South West I will have to tick off my list.