Are you planning a family holiday in the West Country and want to discover some of the great days out In Somerset? If so, here is the perfect guide.
Somerset is a beautiful, rural county in the South-West of England. It is a diverse county with a rich history, spectacular nature and beautiful sandy beaches.
We’ll show you some of the best things to do in Somerset, including popular places of interest, historical sites and top attractions for families.
Read on to discover our best suggestions for 10 great days out in Somerset:–
Have a magical day out in Glastonbury
Although many associate Glastonbury with its famous music festival, it’s actually a fascinating town in its own right. To be honest, it’s also one of the most interesting, quirky places to visit in Somerset.
Glastonbury is an intriguing, mystical place with strong links to legend and folklore. This is apparent in its High Street, with its eclectic choice of weird and wonderful shops.
You can also get a feel for the mysticism of the place with a stop at The White Spring and the Chalice Well. These are two natural springs with the geological phenomenon that one runs with white water and the other with red.
Glastonbury is steeped in history. A visit to the Glastonbury Abbey will lead you to the burial place of King Arthur. Alternatively, if you’re feeling energetic, you should climb Glastonbury Tor and admire amazing views from the summit.
Explore England’s largest gorge
Just 14 miles from Glastonbury is one of England’s most impressive natural sights, Cheddar Gorge.
Amazingly, Cheddar Gorge is 3 miles long and 400 ft deep. It’s England’s largest gorge and really worth the steep walk up to the top, where you’ll be rewarded with magnificent views for miles around.
The gorge has a road running through it and it’s worth a drive through to see the impressive cliffs from the bottom.
The Cliffs Walk
To really appreciate how impressive this natural wonder is, you should do The Cliffs walk.
This circular walk starts in the lower gorge area, opposite the National Trust Information Centre and is 3 miles long. It begins with a steep ascent on a rather stony path. Later, it levels out allowing you to absorb views from both sides of the cliffs and down into the gorge.
The gorge offers a treat for nature enthusiasts, with its diverse habitat and variety of plants and wildlife. If you are lucky, you will spot the feral goats and Soay sheep who freely roam here.
Geocaching at Cheddar Gorge
There is some great geocaching to done up on the cliffs. Without giving any spoilers, there are some interesting hiding places and some rather unique caches to be found. Watch out for muggles though!
If you are a geocaching novice, find out more in a beginner’s guide to geocaching. You don’t know what you’re missing!
Tea in the village
Eventually the walk will take you back to the village, where you can stop for tea and scones. We enjoyed a lovely cream tea at Cafe Gorge.
Of course, you can’t leave Cheddar without buying some of its famous cheese. You could also get some local cider to go with it.
A visit to the Cheddar Caves
Cheddar Caves are an astounding 500, 000 years old! That being said, the largest of the caves, Gough’s Cave wasn’t excavated until the 19th Century. Nowadays, a visit will take you exploring the astounding geographical features hidden in these immense rock caverns.
It was here, in Cheddar Caves, that Britain’s oldest complete skeleton, the aptly named Cheddar Man, was found in 1903. He is estimated to be over 90 000 years old!
Tour the tiny city of Wells
Wells is England’s smallest city (excluding the tiny City of London) and has a population of only 12 000 inhabitants. It is an attractive, medieval city on the southern side of the Mendip Hills and has a history dating back to Roman times.
Well’s most popular attraction is its magnificent cathedral. This spectacular building was built between 1175 and 1490. It was the first cathedral in England to be built completely in the new Gothic style.
Admission to Wells Cathedral is free, but you can buy a ticket for a climb up the spiral staircase to the tower. Here you can take the High Parts Tour and go behind the scenes of the cathedral.
As well as the impressive architecture, take some time to admire the cathedral’s stunning clock. Wells’ Cathedral Clock is an astronomical clock and is one of the oldest surviving clocks of its type. A tour up the tower will give you access to the space behind Well’s famous clock.
Visit the Bishop's Palace & Gardens
Close to Wells Cathedral is The Bishop’s Palace & Gardens. This moated medieval palace was the former home of the Bishop of Bath and Wells for over 800 years.
In addition to the ancient palace, visitors can enjoy 14 acres of landscaped gardens, with waterfalls, ponds and an arboretum. There are often family events in the school holidays, such as gardening, crafts and story telling.
Hunt the witch of Wookey Hole Caves
Not far from the city of Wells is a village called Wookey Hole. The village is home to one of the UK’s most popular family attractions, Wookey Hole Caves & Attractions.
In fact, Wookey Hole Caves have existed for millions of years, but a full excavation didn’t take place until 1914. Nowadays, a guided tour of the show caves takes about 45 minutes and departs every 20 minutes.
In truth, the actual show caves at Wookey Hole are not dissimilar to Cheddar Caves. However, since its early days, it has greatly diversified to appeal to the family market.
Now, you have an additional 20 children’s attractions and the unforgettable story of the Wookey Witch! I went as a child and still remember the legend.
Adults might be more interested to hear about the 400-year tradition of how Wookey Hole cheese is matured in the caves.
For families, it is probably one of the best rainy-day things to do in Somerset, as it’s predominantly inside or underground.
Things to do at Wookey Hole
Today, Wookey Hole attractions include a live circus show, animatronic dinosaurs, 4d cinema, a monster mill, a magical mirror maze and a cave museum. There is also a giant King Kong, a play castle, a mystic fairy garden with fairies, dragons and elves, a paper mill, a valley of the dinosaurs and a pirate zap zone.
On top of all these attractions, there are woodland walks and picnic areas for you to explore at lunch time.
Wookey Hole Hotel
Adjacent to the Wookey Hole attraction is the family-friendly Wookey Hole Hotel. This has a range of family rooms and offers hotel and attraction ticket packages.
Hit the beach at Weston-super-Mare
One of the best free places to visit in Somerset is the beach. Somerset has a good coastline, offering wide sandy beaches that are ideal for families.
Weston Super Mare is a popular English seaside resort in North Somerset. It has a long golden sandy beach, and lies on the Bristol Channel. However, if you’re going for a swim, check the tides, as the sea can go out a very long way.
Also, remember to look out on the beach for the famous donkeys who will take little ones for a short tide.
Weston is an archetypal Victorian resort and is famous for its Grand Pier, which opened in 1904. This popular pleasure pier offers its own indoor theme park, with hundreds of family amusements. The Grand Pier has arcades, rides and a large indoor play area.
The admission fee to the Grand Pier is £1.
Of course, Weston isn’t the only lovely beach in the area. Somerset has many other beautiful golden beaches, such as Minehead, Brean and Burnham-on-Sea.
Exmoor National Park
Exmoor National Park is the perfect day out if you want breathtaking natural beauty and countryside. It has a wild and rugged landscape, which stretches over Somerset and Devon.
The Exmoor landscape is very diverse and covers heather moorlands, farms, rivers and ancient woodland. You should look out for the wild Exmoor ponies who roam wildly here.
Exmoor also has 37 miles of rugged coastline if you want to go for a hike along the cliff tops.
West Somerset Railway
If you want to enjoy the stunning views at a more leisurely pace, you could take a nostalgic ride on the West Somerset Railway. This heritage steam railway runs for 20 miles from Minehead to Bishops Lydeard.
Children under 5 can travel for free and they offer a discount for family groups. Remember, it is cheaper to buy your tickets online in advance.
Step back in time in Bath
Bath will probably be high on your list of great days out in Somerset.
This beautiful, historic city became a World Heritage Site in 1987. It is famous for its Roman Baths and other historic attractions, such as Bath Abbey and Paulteney Bridge. The Royal Crescent is a great place to see some of the finest Georgian architecture in the UK.
As well as historic sites, Bath has lots of museums and art galleries. In addition, it also has plenty of green space in its many parks and public gardens. For instance, these include the Royal Victoria Park, Sydney Gardens and Prior Park.
Take a tour of Haynes International Motor Museum
For motor enthusiasts, the Haynes International Motor Museum in Sparkford is a must-do visit. My petrolhead husband couldn’t miss the opportunity to visit when we were looking for things to do in Somerset.
Haynes Museum showcases a massive collection of cars and bikes and other automobilia from throughout the ages. It has British and world classics and some modern-day super cars.
Things to do for kids at Haynes Museum
Haynes Motor Museum is very modern and has made a good effort to provide something for all the family.
There are trails for children to follow whilst looking at the cars. In addition, there is a fun dress up zone, where you can model clothes from bygone eras.
When the kids have had enough of cars, Haynes Museum has several indoor and outdoor play areas. It also has a construction zone, climbing frame, vintage games and go karts for older kids.
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