10 Great Alternative Ideas to Explore and Enjoy when you Visit Somerset
Somerset is often by-passed as many head to the West Country and down to Devon and Cornwall. By doing so a lot is missed in this picturesque county famed for its cider, Glastonbury, Cheddar Gorge, a lovely coastline and the famous Cathedral City of Wells.
This beautiful countryside is home to the Mendips, Quantock Hills and Exmoor National Park. There is much to do and see in Somerset so we have listed 10 alternative things to do when you visit this wonderful county.
- Climb Glastonbury Tor for Wonderful Views over the Somerset Levels – One of the most famous landmarks in Somerset is a terraced conical hill near the popular town of Glastonbury topped by the roofless St Michael’s Tower. The Tor is mentioned in Celtic mythology, particularly in myths linked to King Arthur and has many other mythological and spiritual associations.
- Wells Cathedral High Parts Tours in the Medieval City of Wells – Climb the stunning and beautiful Wells Cathedral in England’s second smallest city. Go up the spiral staircase behind the scenes in the footsteps of Wells Cathedral masons. Discover the hidden spaces, galleries and chambers, including right behind the Wells clock, the Singing Gallery and the South transept roof space. After your adventure, head off for ‘Ham, Egg and Chips’ at the City Arms Pub which was the old City Jail!
- Visit ‘Cheddar Man’ at Britain’s Biggest Gorge, Dramatic Cliffs and Stalactite Caverns – The Cheddar Gorge, part of the Mendip Hill range is a limestone gorge in the Mendip Hills and houses the largest underground river network in the UK. The gorge is the site of the Cheddar show caves, where 9,000 year old ‘Cheddar Man’, Britain’s oldest complete human skeleton, was found in 1903. The caves also provided the ideal humidity and steady temperature for maturing the world famous Cheddar cheese.
- Visit the Witch of Wookey Hole – The Wookey Hole Caves are a series of limestone caverns or caves up to 90 metres in depth and 3,890 metres in length and offer a very good cave tour. There is a roughly human shaped stalagmite that, according to legend, is a witch turned to stone by a Glastonbury monk. The River Axe flows through the cave.
- Walk to Culborne Church and the Fairytale Tunnels at Porlock Weir – A lovely 4.7 mile walk, which is a diversion off the South West Coast Path through woodland and old carved out tunnels to the remote 1,000 year old Culborne Church, England’s smallest complete church. Grab a pie and a pint and enjoy the salty sea air at the Ship Inn at Porlock Weir which is a picturesque hamlet and pretty little harbour for yachts and fishing boats.
- Donkey Ride on the Beach at Burnham on Sea – Burnham-on-Sea is one of Somerset’s classic seaside resorts with its wonderful stretch of sandy beach which is the second longest strip of sand in Europe! It also boasts the UK’s shortest pier at 37 metres long and has a lovely promenade lined with Victorian and Edwardian guest houses
- Take a Seat on Concorde at the Fleet Air Arm Air Museum, Yeolvilton – The Fleet Air Arm Museum is devoted to the history of British naval aviation and has the first of the British Concordes (002) on display and to climb on board. The museum also houses an extensive collection of historic military and civilian aircraft, aero engines and models of aircraft and Royal Navy Try out the Aircraft Carrier experience and land on the famous Ark Royal flight deck
- Take a Tour of Thatcher’s Cider Myrtle Farm in North Somerset – One of the country’s leading cider producers with over 500 acres of apple bush orchards and hedgerow styled apple trees. Thatchers Cider Farm offers guided tours of the farm, the mill and the exhibition orchard in Winscombe. Try a tasting session too and check out the gift shop.
- Visit the Legendary ‘King Arthur’s Tomb’ in the Ruins of Glastonbury Abbey – Thought to be the last resting place of the mythical 5th century King Arthur and his wife Queen Guinevere. Glastonbury has been the setting of its fair share of myths and legends. In 1086, when the Domesday Book was commissioned to provide records and a census of life in England, Glastonbury Abbey was the richest monastery in the country.
- Brave the Tarr Stepps Bridge on Exmoor National Park – The Tarr Steps ‘Clapper Bridge’ near Dulverton within the Exmoor National Park is the longest and oldest bridge of its kind. It is made of a closely connected series of 17 large stone slabs spanning 55 metres across the river Barle that date back thousands of years and is rumoured to be where the devil sunbathes.
Come and visit Somerset and this lovely part of the country. Have a great time in Somerset!
Author – Waterside Breaks, Holiday Cottages & Lodges by Water across the UK