Things to do in Somerset

Somerset, a county in South West England, is known for its significant historical landmarks, picturesque countryside, and coastal scenery. This region boasts a rich tapestry of medieval cities, ancient market towns, and large tracts of unspoiled natural landscapes, including the Somerset Levels and the Exmoor National Park. Its history is deeply intertwined with tales of King Arthur and the legend of Glastonbury Tor, making it a fascinating area for both historians and myth enthusiasts alike.

The county’s economy historically revolved around agriculture, but today it has diversified into light industry and tourism. Somerset is famous for its traditional cider production and Cheddar cheese, originating from the village of Cheddar within the county. The diverse cultural heritage, combined with its festivals, local cuisine, and crafts, contribute to Somerset’s unique charm that attracts visitors from all over the world.

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  • Glastonbury Abbey: Explore the ruins of one of England’s earliest and most important abbeys. Glastonbury Abbey is steeped in legend and myth, often associated with King Arthur. A visit here offers not just a glimpse into early Christian history but also an atmospheric experience among extensive grounds believed to be Avalon from Arthurian legend.
  • Montacute House: This magnificent Elizabethan mansion set in beautiful gardens is a masterpiece of English Renaissance architecture. Managed by the National Trust, Montacute House provides an exquisite example of a stately home while offering insights into Tudor life through its impressive collection of portraits on loan from the National Portrait Gallery.
  • Cheddar Gorge & Caves: Discover Britain’s biggest gorge with its dramatic cliffs rising over 450 feet. Inside Cheddar Gorge are stunning stalactite caverns where you can explore underground rivers and learn about prehistoric inhabitants who once lived here.
  • Exmoor National Park: Covering 267 square miles across Somerset and Devon, Exmoor National Park offers breathtaking landscapes, dark sky reserves for stargazing, wild ponies roaming freely, and numerous walking trails that traverse through woodland valleys and along rugged coastlines.
  • Dunster Castle: Perched on a hilltop with sweeping views over Exmoor National Park and the Bristol Channel, Dunster Castle has existed since Norman times. Today’s visitors can enjoy beautifully furnished rooms that tell stories from over 1,000 years of history alongside terraced gardens that bloom throughout the year.
  • Weston-super-Mare Beach: Enjoy traditional seaside fun at Weston-super-Mare Beach. With its long stretch of sandy beachfront promenade lined with cafes and amusements parks including The Grand Pier offering indoor funfair rides makes it perfect for family outings.
  • SS Great Britain: Although located in nearby Bristol Harbour Museum & Art Gallery offers an opportunity to step aboard Brunel’s SS Great Britain – the world’s first great ocean liner. The museum brings to life maritime history through interactive exhibits surrounding this revolutionary ship.
  • Somerset Railway Museum: Train enthusiasts will love exploring Somerset Railway Museum which houses an extensive collection of locomotives steam engines carriages wagons railway artefacts memorabilia providing insight into region’s industrial heritage rail transport evolution.
  • The Bishop’s Palace & Gardens: Located in Wells next to cathedral moated Bishop’s Palace dates back over 800 years home bishops city garden itself features well pools swans medieval structures making peaceful retreat heart city.
  • Quantock Hills: An Area Outstanding Natural Beauty Quantock Hills offer vast landscape heathland oak woodlands agricultural land providing opportunities hiking cycling horse riding wildlife watching simply enjoying panoramic views across Bristol Channel Wales beyond.
  • Clevedon Pier: Recognized as one Grade I listed piers UK Clevedon Pier exemplifies Victorian engineering elegance stretching out into Severn Estuary pier provides lovely spot walking fishing enjoying sunset views towards Wales Severn Bridge distance.