Top 10 Things to do in Somerset

Top 10 Things to do in Somerset

Somerset perfectly encapsulates the ideal of an English county full of rolling green hills. This makes it a great choice for those seeking a rural escape but who still crave their creature comforts.

Somerset serves up country living at its finest with historic estates, underrated coastline, spectacular gorge walks and a sprawling national park, all complemented by a slice of city style from chic and historic Bath.

So, what are the best things to do in Somerset during your luxury getaway? Read on to find out our recommendations…

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1. A day trip to Bath

Guests in Somerset can have the best of both worlds by unwinding in a countryside cottage, while still making a day trip to bustling Bath.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site-come-open air museum is ideal for exploring on foot. Victorian architecture, gardens and an imposing Abbey will all look spectacular in your family photo book.

Of course you’ll want to visit the Roman Baths – what the city is most famed for – as well as treating yourself to a dip in the Thermae spa, followed by a spot of afternoon tea. Literature buffs can also see the city through Jane Austin’s eyes via the author’s dedicated centre.

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2. Walk the Cheddar Gorge

One of the UK’s most famous and biggest gorges, this limestone site in the Mendip Hills is one of Somerset’s biggest attractions. Bring a pair of binoculars and you may spy free-roaming goats, cliff-clinging Soay sheep, horseshoe bats and numerous birds of prey.

The official walking trail through the craggy, forested outcrop is suitable for moderate walkers and dog-friendly to boot. So, don your walking shoes, allot four hours for the circular route and make it back in time for tea. Other popular walks include descending the Jacob’s Ladder steps or tackling Black Down – the highest point in the hills.

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3. Go caving

Gorges are not only good for walking, they’re great for caving too. Adventure seekers can also head underground in Somerset, where the Cheddar show caves once housed Britain’s oldest complete human skeleton, estimated to be 9,000 years old.

There are plenty of rocksports to be enjoyed in those Cheddar caves, including Gough’s Cave, which contains an underground river system. Wookey Hole Caves – with their lights, stalagmites, chambers and caverns, as well as children’s attractions – are a perfect pick for families.

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4. Exmoor National Park

Exmoor – where Somerset meets Devon – offers adventurers a large expanse of moody moorland, woodland and coastline to wander.

As well as following walking trails, visitors can book guided foot safaris to try and spot the area’s famous ponies and deer, or opt for horse riding, mountain biking, canoeing and star gazing.

For those who prefer to take life at a more peaceful pace, there’s plenty of sightseeing to be done via the Exmoor Steam Railway, too.

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5. Fossil-hunting

Somerset certainly isn’t short of historic houses and gardens but Hestercombe is arguably the pick of the bunch.

Located in Taunton, the stately house features temples, lakes and gardens galore. Ideally suited for those with green fingers, the mansion is famous for its centuries of garden design and has 50 acres of greenery to enjoy.

As well as a rich history, a second-hand bookshop, garden centre and a restaurant with a locally sourced menu, the house also boasts an art gallery with regular exhibitions, workshops and events.

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6. Dunster Castle

Somerset also has a number of castles for visitors to tour and The National Trust’s Dunster Castle, on the outskirts of Exmoor, is one of the best and most impressive.

From a medieval castle with over 1,000 years of history, to a luxurious country house, the estate’s position atop a hill means there are sensational views. Other highlights include a subtropical gardem, working watermill, medieval stables, family activities and plenty of places to shop and snack – all of which makes it a great and full day out.

If you love Arthurian legend, Cadbury Castle, is also worth a visit as the most likely location of Camelot.

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7. Glastonbury

If you time your trip right, you could even attend Glastonbury – the music festival of all music festivals. However, if you’d rather avoid the thrill of the crowds and the mud, you can still say you’ve been – by visiting the small but world famous town outside of music season.

Take a relaxing walk around Glastonbury Abbey, the Tor or learn about the natural mineral spring and Chalice Well. In the town itself you’ll also find plenty of quirky shops and hip eateries. However, if you happen to visit in the peak summer months, don’t forget your day-tent and your wellies.

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8. Haynes International Motor Museum

Somewhere to take the car lover in your life. This motor museum is close to Yeovil and showcases over 400 cars and motorcycles, as well as a collection of automobilia. You’ll be spoilt for choice with exhibitions and replicas of classic cars from across the globe and different eras. There’s also a fantastic gift shop with models, kits, books and toys for kids both big and small.

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9. Somerset beach strolls

Somerset is not best known for its beaches but there are some lovely choices if you fancy mixing up your countryside walks and moorland meanders with a stroll along some sand. Spacious and usually uncrowded, Berrow Beach is a great shout for dog owners, while Dunster beach makes for a nice detour from the castle.
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10. Hestercombe House

Somerset certainly isn’t short of historic houses and gardens but Hestercombe is arguably the pick of the bunch.

Located in Taunton, the stately house features temples, lakes and gardens galore. Ideally suited for those with green fingers, the mansion is famous for its centuries of garden design and has 50 acres of greenery to enjoy.

As well as a rich history, a second-hand bookshop, garden centre and a restaurant with a locally sourced menu, the house also boasts an art gallery with regular exhibitions, workshops and events.