11th May is Somerset Day! This is thought to be the date of King Alfred the Great's defeat of the Danes in the Battle of Edington in 878 (although the exact date of this is unknown). We thought this was a great chance to reflect on some of Somerset's fantastic destinations and attractions. The county of Somerset offers a magical blend of history and legend, from geographical landmarks to Christian monuments. There are plenty of things to do in Somerset, which is easily explored from nearby Bath…
Start your Somerset Sojourn in Beautiful Bath
The historic city of Bath is the perfect base for exploring Somerset.
Be sure to visit the Roman Baths, one of the world’s best preserved Roman remains. Walk in the footsteps of the Romans and watch the steam rising from the spa water in which they would bathe – you can even take a sip of the water, which is believed to have healing powers, at the end of your visit. Following your trip to The Roman Baths, head to Thermae Bath Spa to bathe in the spa water, and enjoy the incredible views from their open-air rooftop pool.
Experience Bath’s Georgian history with a trip to The Royal Crescent, which celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2017. Get a glimpse of what life was in the eighteenth century at No. 1 Royal Crescent, with guides in every room to help bring the house to life and offer insight into the lives of those who lived and worked in the house.
Extend your stay in Bath with visits to Somerset’s nearby sites and attractions, which each have their own unique stories to tell.
Take a Trip to England’s Smallest City
The medieval city of Wells, famous for its majestic cathedral, is remarkably unspoilt and the perfect destination for a day trip out of Bath.
Internationally-renowned Wells Cathedral is the earliest Gothic style English Cathedral. Built between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries, the stunning cathedral has been described as ‘the most poetic of the English Cathedrals’. Wells Cathedral Choir sings daily services, and the cathedral is perhaps best enjoyed during their afternoon Evensong. You can take in the view of the majestic cathedral whilst enjoying a picnic in the lovely Cathedral Green.
Opposite the cathedral, The Bishop’s Palace and Gardens has been home to the Bishops of Bath and Wells for over 800 years, and this stunning medieval palace is open for all to enjoy. Visitors can cross over the beautiful moat, walk under the portcullis and experience 14 acres of peaceful landscaped gardens.
Built over 650 years ago, nearby Vicars’ Close is one of Wells’ most iconic and photogenic roads, and is definitely worth a visit.
Beautiful Wells has featured in a number of film and television productions, including Hot Fuzz, Jack the Giant Killer, The Huntsman Winter War and Poldark.
Explore Britain’s Biggest Gorge in Cheddar
The picturesque village of Cheddar is best known for three things – its gorge, caves, and cheese.
Cheddar Gorge boasts the highest inland cliffs in the country, which reach up to 500 feet. These can be viewed from both the base of the gorge and from footpaths along the cliff tops. You can also explore the stunning stalactite caverns below the gorge. For a challenging way to explore the beautiful surroundings, you can try rock climbing or adventure caving.
The world famous beauty spot is both a National Nature Reserve and a famous site of prehistoric discoveries. You can visit a replica of the skeleton of the Cheddar Man, whose remains date to the Mesolithic era. It has even been found that descendants of the Cheddar Man live in the village to this day!
World-renowned Cheddar Cheese originates from farms in the Cheddar region. Visit the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company in the lower gorge to watch the only authentic Cheddar Cheese in the world being made in traditional style.
Experience Spiritual Somerset and Climb Glastonbury Tor
Steeped in Christian and Pagan legends, Glastonbury is Somerset’s most famous town. Glastonbury Tor overshadows the modern-day town, and is a dominant feature of the local landscape. The town has a rich history - reputedly the birthplace of English Christianity, with great Abbey ruins, and associations to the legends of King Arthur.
As you will already know, Glastonbury is now perhaps most famous for its eponymous music festival. If you’re fortunate enough to get your hands on a sought-after ticket to Glastonbury Festival, you will no doubt want to return time and time again!
Enjoy a Family Day Out in Stunning Surroundings
For those who are keen on motoring, head to the prestigious Haynes International Motor Museum at Sparkford. With more than 400 cars and bikes on display, dating from 1885, it is the UK’s largest exhibition of great cars from around the world. For the kids, there are go-karts, diggers and a soft play area in the museum’s motor themed family entertainment zone, Haynes Motorland.
If aircraft are your family’s thing, The Fleet Air Arm Museum offers a day out guaranteed to please. Boasting Europe’s largest collection of Naval aircraft, you can even take part in the museum’s award winning Aircraft Carrier Experience. ‘Fly’ by helicopter to the replica flight deck on the HMS Ark Royal and enjoy being at the heart of the action.