Things to do in Somerset

A visit to the South West is never dull, so if you’re planning a trip to Somerset and you’re looking for things to do, we just hope you have enough time to take it all in!

Seo-mere-saetan means ‘settlers by the sea lakes’ - believed to be the origin of the name Somerset. But while the lakes and rivers in the county are beautiful, they’re just two of many reasons why Somerset is held in such high regard across the UK.

A visit to the South West is never dull, so if you’re planning a trip to Somerset and you’re looking for things to do, we just hope you have enough time to take it all in!

The Roman Baths

There’s a reason that the amazing city of Bath is called what it is. As a spa, the Romans built baths here as far back as AD 60, benefitting from the multiple geothermal springs. Today, the Roman Baths complex is a major tourist attraction – and rightly so.

You might not be able to get into the Great Bath water, but can you can drink the spa water in the onsite restaurant. There are also fascinating tunnel tours, themed family activities, costumed characters, and torch-lit summer evenings for you to enjoy. It’s well worth a visit to this historic landmark.

Image courtesy of romanbaths.co.uk

Image courtesy of romanbaths.co.uk

Image courtesy of thespatraveller.com

Image courtesy of thespatraveller.com

Thermae Bath Spa

If you are desperate to swim in the natural spring water, you can do so over at the nearby Thermae Bath Spa. The same water which fills the Great Bath is used here (it’s just been treated, making it safe to swim in), and relaxing spa packages are available, giving you access to both locations.

With amazing features like the Minerva Bath, the Aroma Steam Rooms, and even an open-air rooftop pool, the Thermae Bath Spa is the place to be if you’re looking to unwind in Somerset, just like the Celts and Romans did more than 2,000 years ago.

Wookey Hole Caves and Cheddar Gorge

The ongoing debate between Wells locals and Cheddar residents over what’s more impressive – the Wookey Hole Caves or Cheddar Gorge – will never be resolved; but we think they’re both fantastic. Luckily, you’ll be able to make your own mind up, as they’re only a 20-minute drive or a leisurely two hour stroll along the Rodney Stoke National Nature Reserve away from each other.

Image courtesy of wookey.co.uk

Image courtesy of wookey.co.uk

The Wookey Hole Caves are a sensational series of limestone caverns which benefit from the River Axe flowing through them. You’ll learn all about the pagan and Christian legends which link to the caves, and there are several tours a day, starting at 10am and finishing at 5pm.

Meanwhile, just down the road, the Cheddar Gorge attracts its own fair share of visitors. The limestone gorge in the rolling Mendip Hills is part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest; it’s also where the oldest complete human skeleton, estimated to be over 9,000 years old, was found back in 1903. Besides the history, it’s just a beautiful place to spend a day. For the more adventurous among you, there are also adventure caving and rock climbing experiences available.

Cheddar Gorge - Image courtesy of cheddargorge.co.uk

Cheddar Gorge - Image courtesy of cheddargorge.co.uk

Brean Leisure Park

If you are indeed a thrill-seeker, you might also fancy a daytrip to Brean Leisure Park. It’s one of the leading family attractions in the South West, and it’s not hard to see why; there’s the Brean Theme Park, the Brean Splash Waterpark, the Brean Golf Club, and a large indoor play zone for the kids.

Wells Cathedral

Fans of architecture will love a visit to Wells Cathedral, with its grand designs and unique ‘scissor arches’. There are plenty of concerts and events being hosted throughout the year, so there’s the potential to time your visit with one of these.

Considered “the most poetic of the English Cathedrals,” it’s also one of the most fascinating. It was built sometime between 1175 and 1490, and there’s a real of sense of the history of the place when you walk inside.

Montacute House

While you’re on an architecture-theme, you could also stop by the Montacute House – a jaw-dropping mansion considered a masterpiece of Elizabethan Renaissance architecture and design. You might even recognise it from its use as a location in the BBC drama Wolf Hall.

Built back in 1601 by Sir Edward Phelps, the house and its gorgeous gardens make for a wonderful place to spend a morning or afternoon. On the premises you’ll find the Long Gallery, which exhibits more than 60 Tudor and Elizabethan portraits courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery. When you’ve had a good look around, make sure you stop for a bite to eat at the Courtyard Café.

Glastonbury Festival

Arguably the biggest surge of people entering Somerset at once is when the legendary Glastonbury Festival takes place in June each year. The Worthy Farm is transformed into a musical mecca, but there’s really something for everyone; from fantastic live theatre and comedy to literature readings and family rides. For a closer look, check out our article on the biggest British music festivals.

Wander through Exmoor National Park

Don’t forget to take comfy shoes or boots for walking, because you’ll definitely want to go for a stroll through Exmoor National Park. The stunning landscape has been formed over thousands of years; moorland, woodland, valleys, farmland – it’s all here, stretching for some 267 square miles. Local wildlife is a particular draw, boasting “majestic” red deer, “elusive” otters, and many rare butterflies and bats. Oh, and how could we forget the Exmoor ponies?

Do a country pub crawl

At the end of great day of walking, you’ll not want to take the boots off just yet. There are some fantastic bars and pubs throughout Exmoor National Park, and it would be a shame to not see at least a few of them. From the Pebbles Tavern in Watchet to the Beggars Roost Inn in Lynton; the Bridge Inn in Dulverton to the Village Inn Pub in Lynmouth - you’re never too far away from a drop of ale and some tasty grub.

Heading to Somerset, or maybe you’ve just come back? Let us know where you’re going or where you went – we’re always looking for new, fun things to do that we can share with our readers!

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