Are you wondering what are the best things to do in Somerset, UK? Somerset is a county full of contrasts, including massive limestone gorges, low-lying marshes, uplands, and moors having panoramic vistas, energizing coasts with seaside sandy beaches, and coastal sandy beaches.
The majority of visitors to Somerset come to experience the magnificent Roman and Georgian heritage found in the city of Bath.
And Bath is as good of a reason as any other. Still, the county has numerous additional feathers, including fascinating old cities and towns such as Wells and Frome and the many lovely country villages.
In the Arthurian legend, the Somerset Levels are said to be the location of Avalon; furthermore, King Alfred the Great is said to have fled to the Somerset Levels in the 9th century in order to plan his counterattack against the invading Vikings. The Somerset countryside is rich in history and folklore, which extends back to the very beginnings of England as a nation.
Best things to do in Somerset (UK)
Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Devon, and Kent, among others, are some of the counties that make up the United Kingdom. All of the finest and most respectable cider-making counties coax and extract superb alcohol of a golden hue from fruits that are farmed locally. But if you want to travel to the very heart of the English cider-making industry, you should make your way westwards to the leafy lanes of Somerset, which is the spiritual birthplace of cider.
The bittersweet apples native to this well-known cider-making area are responsible for the region’s legendary, robust, and nuanced flavor profiles. You are truly spoiled for choice in Somerset, thanks to the incredible number of producers there. Many of these producers have legendary formulas that have been handed down for centuries, giving you the ability to choose whatever satisfies your taste buds the most.
I would suggest going to Thatchers Cider in Sandford if you are interested in participating in a cider tasting.
I mean, what better venue is there to consume a pint of famous Thatcher’s Gold than at Myrtle Farm, where William Thatcher established the family business more than a century ago, right?
There is a farm shop on the premises where you can sample the cider before making a purchase. Alternatively, you can go a short distance down the road to The Railway Inn, which has recently undergone renovations and is now adorned with artifacts and images that reflect Thatchers’ long history of producing cider.
Nevertheless, I must issue a warning. Take it easy because there is a wide selection available, including products created by apple kinds like Dabinett, Somerset Redstreak, and Porter’s Perfection.
Thatcher’s Redstreak Cider, which was awarded the title of finest sparkling cider in the world by the World Cider Awards in 2017, is one of the ciders that you should try. I assure you it won’t disappoint.
If you feel like getting some exercise, you may take a stroll along the famous Strawberry Line walkway, which passes through several of the farm’s orchards as well as some preserved wetlands where you could spot some wildlife, such as deer.
Read more about the British Pub Drinks here.
2. Cheddar Gorge
Cheddar Gorge should be at the top of your list of places to visit in Somerset if you are seeking for unusual activities to do in the area. Cheddar is a village that can be found on the southern slope of the Mendip Hills. It is surrounded by strawberry fields, and it is home to one of the natural wonders of Britain.
At its deepest point, the Cheddar Gorge is almost 140 meters below ground level, making it the country’s grandest canyon.
The limestone is pocked with caverns and disused quarries that you may explore, and it was in one of these caves that the oldest intact human skeleton in Britain was discovered. The skeleton is 9,000 years old.
Have I previously mentioned how magnificent the caves are?
For example, Gough’s Cave is filled to the brim with outstanding natural features and breathtaking rock formations in every direction you turn. The cave is even more magnificent than before because of the newly installed and much-upgraded lighting system.
The audio tour, which is offered in eight different languages, will provide an explanation of how the caves were excavated as well as how the formations came to be.
Read more about the Cheddar Gorge Caves.
We have gotten this far without discussing cheddar cheese, which is typically made in this village and aged in the caves because that is how the process has always been done.
It is a necessity to visit the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company, which sells the only cheddar that is still produced in Cheddar!
Read more about the Best Cheese in the World.
You can also go to Wookey Hole while you are in Cheddar Gorge because it is only 8.4 miles away from Cheddar Gorge and is only 6 miles away by foot.
3. Wookey Hole
Everyone of any age can have an exciting time exploring the caves and stories associated with Wookey Hole. It is an experience that has been forming for millions of years, and there are plenty of things to do both inside and outside.
When you go to Wookey Hole, you will get to experience something that has been developing for millions of years. There is a wide variety of entertainment available both indoors and outdoors, including classic penny arcades, museums, adventure golf, and soft play zones, to name just a few of the available activities. Not to mention the astonishingly gorgeous caves that Wookey Hole is so well-known for.
During your tour, you will go through a total of 8 chambers. Each with its own one-of-a-kind charm and history. You’ll also go through their cheese tunnel, which is where they make their mouthwatering Wookey Hole cheese.
4. Glastonbury Tor
Glastonbury Tor is a fantastic place to take the kids for a day out because it is free and has magnificent views across Somerset as well as towards Dorset, Wiltshire, and Wales.
Glastonbury Tor is a well-known landmark in Somerset that is associated with various myths and tales, but it is also a location where kids may run around and have a good time. You can play games on the fields at the base of the Tor, or you can play above the Tor in the tower that has been abandoned.
The Isle of Avalon, Glastonbury, and Somerset may all be seen from this famous hilltop vantage point.
The Somerset Levels, Dorset, and Wiltshire counties, as well as Wales, may be seen in their full glory from this historic and symbolic monument.
The top of the Tor is steeped in history and folklore, and recent excavations there have uncovered the floor plans of two superimposed churches dedicated to St. Michael, of which only a tower dating back to the 15th century is still standing.
In addition, Glastonbury Tor has a bloody history. In the year 1549, under the instructions of Thomas Cromwell, the first Earl of Essex, Abbot Richard Whiting, was put to death at this location.
Glastonbury Tor is well acknowledged as one of the most spiritual destinations in the nation. Its adherence to pagan ideas is still celebrated in a significant way. Walking here is the perfect way to de-stress and unwind completely.
5. Glastonbury Festival
It’s not hard to understand why Somerset is so pleased to be the location of the world-famous Glastonbury Festival, which the locals simply refer to as “Glasto.”
Since its debut in 1970, it has been the host venue for many of music’s most prominent and high-profile acts, and it holds the record for the longest-running greenfield pop festival in the world. Tickets sell out in a matter of minutes!
The festival, much like Somerset itself, extends a friendly welcome to attendees by reflecting a wide variety of different ways of life via acts of warm hospitality.
The Glastonbury Festival takes place on the rolling fields that are part of Worthy Farm, which is owned by Michael Eavis, the organizer of the festival. Michael is a member of the Visit Somerset Ambassador program as well, just like his daughter Emily.
Nearly 200,000 visitors, together with their tents, are welcomed there each year, and they are wowed by the breathtaking vistas that extend across the Somerset Levels and up to Glastonbury Tor.
Read more about the other Great Traditions and Celebrations in the UK.
6. Explore Bristol
Bristol, which is located just beyond Somerset, is another well-known city in the area and is unquestionably one of the top destinations to visit in the region. Bristol is a center for modern arts and cultures in this area.
Outside of London, the city of Bristol is the one that interests me the most when it comes to the cultural landscape since it has such lively music, performance, and street art culture in addition to a strong political, dramatic, and spoken word tradition.
A trip to Bristol is easily one of the best things to do in this area because it is home to Banksy and the famous Stokes Croft area, which is filled to the brim with cool venues. Additionally, there is a hot air balloon festival, a docked ancient ship, a family-friendly aquarium, and a cool Suspension Bridge, all of which contribute to Bristol’s status as a top destination.
When I am in Bristol, going to St. Mary Redcliffe Church is one of my favorite things to do in the city.
Even if you aren’t really interested in going to church, going to take a look at the gothic masterpiece that is St. Mary Redcliffe is without a doubt one of the most enjoyable and entertaining activities that you can do for free in Bristol.
The reason for this is that the architecture of this enormous building, which is over 800 years old and features soaring spires that are over 89 meters in height, is sure to leave an impression on you.
And if buildings are your thing, taking a stroll around Bristol’s historic district with its cobblestone streets is probably going to be something you like doing as well. It is the ideal location for being disoriented, what with all of its teeny-tiny streets and ancient English pubs!
Despite the fact that the city is located on the very edge of the country’s territory, I have decided to include it in this list because it is so wonderful.
7. Dunster Castle
The Luttrell family lived at Dunster for 600 years, turning the fortress that is now known as Dunster Castle into a residence for their descendants. In the 1870s, the castle underwent significant renovations to be transformed into a Victorian country house.
In addition to having outstanding interior elements such as a beautiful 17th-century carved staircase, elegant plaster ceilings, and rare leather wall hangings, the castle offers breathtaking views over Exmoor, Somerset, and the Bristol Channel. The castle also holds fine views over the Bristol Channel.
If you decided to go here, you will discover how Dunster Castle was used in its heyday and how the family hosted grand occasions such as society balls and polo matches with the exceptional ‘Chapters guide as well as ‘Castle Explorers, which are available for children.
After that, you will have the opportunity to take a relaxing stroll around some lovely terraced gardens that feature a variety of palm trees, subtropical flora, and the Dunster Lemon tree.
A working watermill may be found within the river gardens of Dunster Castle, which is located on the River Avill and is part of the castle complex. Pay a visit to the mill to watch the waterwheels at work and perhaps even purchase some freshly milled flour while you’re there.
8. Glastonbury Abbey
Glastonbury Abbey is located in Glastonbury, Somerset, and is an internationally renowned site that attracts visitors from all over the world for its historical past, heritage, mythologies, and legends, as well as for its spiritual enrichment.
Glastonbury Abbey is located in the historic town center of Glastonbury and is surrounded by 36 acres of stunning parkland. This abbey has a lot to offer each and every visitor that comes to see it. There is also a picnic park, a cider orchard, a boardwalk for badgers, a fish and duck pond, and a museum. Living History excursions are offered between the months of March and October.
If you go to the Abbey between the months of March and October, keep an eye out for some strange people wandering through the ruins, especially in Abbot’s kitchen from the 14th century, for there is a group of costumed Living History performers on the grounds! These guides will bring the past to life as they lead you on a stroll around the site’s primary points of interest.
You may also find out about the pilgrims who came here to worship and uncover the incredible ties that exist between the Abbey and even the legends surrounding King Arthur!
It is one of the first abbeys in England, and it is also one of the most interesting abbeys in England. There is a lot for the entire family to discover here, from the wonderful history to the peaceful surroundings.
Dogs are permitted on the premises as well; however, due to the presence of a large number of ducks, badgers, and squirrels, they must be kept on a short leash at all times. The majority of the grounds are accessible for wheelchair users.
9. Wells Cathedral – Bishop’s Palace
Wells, which has a population of only 10,000 people, is home to a number of significant landmarks, making it a strong candidate for the title of one of England’s most beautiful cities.
Wells Cathedral, a structure of unparalleled architectural brilliance and historical import, is without a doubt the crown jewel of the city.
The construction of the cathedral began in the 12th century, and in contrast to other churches from the same time period, Wells Cathedral shows no signs of Norman Romanesque design. As a result, it is the first edifice in England and probably the world to be designed entirely in the gothic style.
The beautiful Bishop’s Palace and Gardens are located in the shadow of Wells Cathedral, but its enchantment is not diminished by their proximity to the cathedral. The palace features a moat, drawbridge, Great Hall ruins, and well pools (which gave the city its name).
Over the course of more than 800 years, the palace has been the official residence of the Bishops of Bath and Wells, and each of them has left its mark on the building. One of the bishop’s daughters was the one who, in the 1870s, taught the swans to ring a bell on the gatehouse whenever they were hungry. This is perhaps the most astonishing part of the legacy that she left behind.
It would appear that adult swans have been passing on this technique to their young cygnets ever since it was discovered. Bear in mind that there are otters and kingfishers in this area; therefore, keep your eyes peeled.
A natural outdoor interactive learning area developed around the ideas and stories of the palace is available for use by children. This area features a pole jungle, tree pods, a waterwheel, and sluice gates, among other things.
10. Explore Bath and Bath Spa
If the Romans are credited with discovering Bath, the Georgians are credited with perfecting it when they transformed this city into the preferred luxury resort during the 1700s.
However, despite all of the spectacular architecture that was constructed during this time period, the most popular sight in Bath remains the Roman bathing complex that was built over 1,800 years earlier.
The Roman Baths are one of the attractions that bring tourists to England. The level of preservation that they have achieved for a Roman site is exceptional in Britain and was aided by reconstructions that were carried out during the Victorian era.
The museum that is located within the complex houses a wide variety of fascinating objects.
In the 18th century, when the magnificent Royal Crescent was just one of many grand designs, the city enjoyed its second time of splendor.
After spending time in Bath at the beginning of the 19th century, Jane Austen chose to base her novels Northanger Abbey and parts of Persuasion there.
Read more about the other UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the UK.
The city of Bath offers a huge variety of attractions and activities, but the following are a few ideas to get you started.
- The Roman Baths – In addition to being home to some of the most well-known Roman ruins in the country, the Roman Museum can be found right next door.
- Bath Abbey – This ancient structure was originally constructed in the 7th century but was renovated in the 16th century. It dates back to the time period. It has a significant amount of important past events!
- Georgian Architecture – There are so many structures dating back to the 18th century scattered all across Bath that the city might almost be classified as a Georgian city. The Crescent, which is shaped like a crescent, and the Circus, which is shaped like a perfect circle, are the two most well-known examples.
- Pulteney Bridge – This Palladian Bridge is one of the few that exist in the entire world.
- The Thermae Bath Spa – This spa makes advantage of the natural spring waters that are located in the Bath area.
Minehead is a beach community that has a low-key demeanor and can be found on the Bristol Channel as well as the neo-Exmoor peninsula’s northeastern tip.
If you’re seeking a beachside experience that will meet all of your needs, Minehead Beach is the place to go. The children will find that there is plenty of room for playing beach activities and building sandcastles along this stretch of sand. If you are seeking to go for a swim, the water itself is really appealing and will not disappoint you in the least.
Because there are so many resorts in the area, you’ll be able to find a wide variety of amenities nearby, including a lot of restaurants and stores. The beach even has lookouts that extend out over the channel and a number of walking pathways that lead to different parts of England, one of which is the South West Coast Path.
A ride on a steam train on the West Somerset Railway, which travels from Bishops Lydeard all the way down to the outskirts of Exmoor and the beautiful Quantock Hills, is sure to be a hit with both children and adults who are feeling sentimental.
12. Enjoy the seaside towns
If you are anything like me and enjoy taking long strolls down the beach, then you will most certainly adore Somerset. There are many coastal communities in Somerset, but the ones listed here are some of my favourites.
Weston-super-Mare is a well-known beach resort that is loaded with activities that are appropriate for families. The main beach is about two kilometres long, but you can drive or walk up to Sand Bay, which is considerably more scenic and calm and also has views over the water towards Wales.
Even though you aren’t allowed to go swimming in the water here, the stretch of beach that is directly in front of the Grand Pier is an excellent place to build sandcastles (just watch for the sinking mud signs).
You will also find a variety of outdoor beach activities such as bouncy castles, swing boats, ice cream, donkey rides, and the SeaQuarium to keep the children entertained in the event that they become bored with digging (is that even possible?)
The commercial district of the city contains all of the essential stores, in addition to a number of hotels.
There are several amusement parks in the area, including Puxton Park and Funland, in addition to the enormous pier that is located in Weston Super Mare.
It might not be the UK”s most glamorous, but a day at the seaside is a day at the seaside, and the lovely old pier at Weston-Super-Mare certainly makes it one of the top places to go in Somerset, in my opinion!
Clevedon Pier and Marine Lake
Clevedon is one of our favourite places to go with our family when the sun is out. It has swum in a marine lake, pebble beaches, coastal walks that make you want to write poetry, and a touch of Victorian English seaside charm.
Don’t miss Clevedon Marine Lake, which is a huge tidal pool with a view of the Bristol Channel. If you want to swim in the water in May, you’ll need thick skin or a wetsuit. You could also bring a paddleboard, canoe, or kayak. Even if you don’t go in, kids love to walk around the edge. If you have the right gear, you can catch crabs, and next door is Salthouse Fields, which has a miniature train for £1.50 and a playground.
Sir John Betjeman called Clevedon Pier the “most beautiful pier in England.” It was finished in 1869 and was used as a stop for paddle steamers that brought people from Wales and Devon along the Severn Estuary. Waverley cruises still leave from here to go to Minehead, Ilfracombe, Penarth, Porth Cawl, and Swansea.
13. Quantock Hills and Mendip hills (Areas of Natural Beauty)
Quantock Hills is a great place to go hiking if you want to see beautiful views, wild places, and some of the most beautiful heathland you’ve ever seen.
The Quantock Hills in Somerset is a beautiful place to visit, with its old trees and rolling hills.
You can trek around Staple Plain, which goes up Beacon Hill and has amazing views of Weston Super Mare, Exmoor, and Taunton.
Try the wooded hill walk, which is a historic place with lovely scenery.
You can hike the Coleridge Trail, which also goes through Somerset and into Exmoor.
14. West Somerset Railway
The West Somerset Railway is the longest heritage line in England. It goes from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead along 20 miles of rolling countryside in Somerset, through the Quantock hills, and along the Bristol Channel.
Exmoor is the least-visited national park in the country. A charming way to see it is to hop on and off historic steam locomotives at any of the ten restored stations along the route, including the beautiful Dunster Castle.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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