Stunning coastal scenery, ancient countryside and excellent cider
omerset means Land of the Summer People, which is a perfect way to sum up this über-friendly part of the West Country. The good vibes may well have something to do with the stunning coastal scenery, ancient countryside and the excellent local cider. With Arthurian legend to explore in Glastonbury , Cheddar’s spectacular show caves and an abundance of bustling market towns and cities to explore there’s never a dull moment. Welcome to the west.
History and Heritage
It’s impossible to separate legend from fact in Somerset, but that’s what makes the history so much fun. In the mythical land of Avalon, you’ll find Glastonbury Tor , which has been an important religious site for over a thousand years. Visit the final resting place of King Arthur at the nearby Glastonbury Abbey or meet Cheddar man at the gorge, whose skeleton dates from 7150 BC. Somerset is also home to fascinating castles at Dunster , Nunney and Farleigh Hungerford .
Arts and Culture
Explore arty Frome, being sure to take in the Black Swan and Rook Lane galleries. Head to the Courthouse Gallery in Somerton which showcases the best art, craft and design produced by members of the Somerset Guild of Craftsmen . The Brewhouse Theatre and Arts Centre in Taunton is great for comedy and innovative theatre. And simply don’t miss Westcountry legends The Wurzels serving up a slab of Scrumpy and Western music.
Must See Attractions
Climb Glastonbury Tor for stunning views over the Somerset Levels and a healthy dose of local legend. Wells may be England’s smallest city, but it certainly packs a punch with its stunning Cathedral and Bishop's Palace . Cheddar Gorge’s show caves never fail to impress nor does the 16th century Montacute House , and the tiny medieval village of Dunster with its ancient castle and inns is a must visit.
Food and Drink
Okay this is Somerset so be prepared to sink some thirst-quenching cider and eat your body weight in authentic Cheddar cheese . The region is also home to top restaurants making the most of the fresh local produce. Foodies will love the bold and brilliant cooking at Little Barwick House near Yeovil and the Old Spot restaurant in Wells which has an ever-changing menu of seasonal fayre with a French twist.
Glastonbury has more new age shops than you can float a crystal over whereas Taunton is home to fantastic street markets including Thursday’s farmers’ market. For art, vintage clothing and the vinyl-lovers’ paradise that is Rave from the Grave hit the cobbled streets of Frome . The Willows and Wetlands Centre in Stoke St. Gregory is a great place to learn about the Somerset tradition of basket-making and buy handcrafted willow.
Arguably the world’s greatest music festival, where else but Glastonbury can you watch the biggest acts in the world perform as the sun sets over the Tor? Get down to Wraxall in May for the North Somerset Show that has been celebrating all things agricultural for over 150 years. Art lovers shouldn’t miss July’s Frome Festival or September’s Somerset Art Weeks . Witness Somerset’s streets burst into life as carnival season kicks off at the end of September.
The kids will love discovering their inner-Neanderthal at Cheddar Gorge ’s spectacular show caves – the Crystal Quest in Cox’s cave is full of surprises. Ride the ponies at the Exmoor Pony Centre or go old school with a donkey ride at Weston-Super-Mare after amusing yourself on the pier. Hunt for fossils at Kilve Beach or cycle around the Levels and Moors for active family fun.
Psst... Handy Hints
To get in the Christmas mood, experience Dunster by Candlelight . Each December the Medieval village bathes its streets in the soft glow of lanterns.
Hire bikes from the Langport and River Parrett Visitor Centre before exploring the Somerset Levels and Moors.
Follow in the footsteps of Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge on the Coleridge Way .
Thermae Bath Spa
Swimming outdoors on the roof top of Britain's only natural thermal spa.Thermae Bath Spa
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