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The city that has it all: history, culture – and a population of just 12,000 

The cities of the South West are few and far between, but those that exist – Exeter, Plymouth and even modest Truro – have a little urban sprawl, an industrial quarter and a slew of housing estates that make them look and feel a lot like cities.

That’s not the case in Wells, Somerset, however.

First, it’s tiny, with a population of just 12,000. Second, it’s outrageously pretty: the 13th-century cathedral is the best known of its immaculately kept buildings, but the moated Bishop’s Palace is a close runner-up in a competitive field.

Third, it’s easy to get from Wells into the countryside. Many of the residential streets enjoy views of the Mendip Hills, and if you walk just a few minutes you are…