Somerset might be famous for cider, wide open spaces and a charming accent, but there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye. Beautiful cities steeped in history, an endless expanse of verdant green rolling hills and a decidedly funky edge – much like a good cider, in fact – make this a fascinating destination for a trip. Here’s Plum Guide's pick of places to visit in Somerset.
Going to this town's namesake festival is, of course, one of the best things anyone could do in England, but there’s much more to the town of Glastonbury than the several days a year it becomes the coolest, most popular, most self-expression-filled place in the world. Yes, Glastonbury town does take its hippy roots quite seriously, so if you’re a serious, boots-and-braces type, don’t say we didn’t warn you. But you never know – maybe all of the tie dye, scented candles and crystals you’ll find on the high street will finally chill you out.
Glastonbury Tor, Somerset, UK
Glastonbury has been around since the 7th century, which is when Glastonbury Abbey was built. The whole town is inextricably linked with King Arthur and the Holy Grail, and you’re sure to find plenty of info and memorabilia on the subject as you walk the streets. Browse the head shops and perhaps try some meditation before climbing Glastonbury Tor, the famous and photogenic 500 ft-tall hill and monument close to the town. Then head to one of the excellent local pubs, settle in for a drink and listen to the locals gripe about the festival.
This charming house is the ideal spot to host your own mini-festival – with the decidedly necessary luxuries of running water, skylights and a wood burning stove.
This landmark should definitely make your list of places to visit in Somerset. The Cheddar gorge is in the Mendip Hills and is one of Britain’s most famous natural wonders. From huge cliffs to interlinked caves with impressive stalactite displays, you can rock climb, go caving or simply wander the cliff tops taking in the view. And yes, when your kids ask if this is where Cheddar cheese is from, it is. Knowing that fact might just win you some parent points for the rest of the day.
An aerial view of a road winding through Cheddar Gorge, Somerset, England, UK,
If you’re after the perfect house to entertain and luxuriously accommodate a large brood, this pad is the answer to your questions. A hot tub and games room mean you’ll have to persuade your kids to even leave the house.
The jewel of Somerset, Bath really lives up to the hype. Without a doubt the finest Georgian city in England, history can be found down every street here. Definitely check out the Abbey, a beautiful example of gothic design. Visiting the thermal baths is one of the most fascinating things to do in Somerset. You can learn about the history of bathing in Bath (no snickering in the back, please) – just try and resist jumping into the baths themselves, which are monuments rather than in use. If you were hoping for a dip, try the more modern Thermae Spa, which offers three floors of spring water-based bathing plus a rooftop pool – guaranteed to make your friends jealous when you show them your holiday snaps.
Other landmarks include the Jane Austen museum (bonnets optional), the residential streets of the Royal Crescent and Circus – both full of the gorgeous, warm-hued stone buildings that the city is famous for – and the incredibly photogenic Pulteney Bridge, with its terrace of shops over the River Avon.
Chic accommodation comes in the form of this truly one-of-a-kind former river toll house dating from 1827. Sit on your veranda with a glass of wine in the evenings while gazing out over the river, counting your lucky stars that you found such a magical place to stay.
If you’re looking for more of a countryside getaway, this stunning stone house means you’ll have the Somerset vacation of your dreams. Light a fire in the wood burning stove, enjoy the views of the garden from the roll top bath and turn off your phone, because this property really lets you relax.
Famous for ponies and wild, windswept landscapes, Exmoor is unmissable when you’re looking for places to visit in Somerset. Ranging from the highest sea cliffs in the country at the Bristol Channel to sheltered valleys holding ancient woodlands, Exmoor has many faces. This is the kind of place where you could scream out the frustration from your boring office job and no-one would hear you.
Horses at Exmoor, Somerset, England
Exmoor is dotted with small hamlets and medieval villages, as well as sheep, the aforementioned ponies and red deer. Otherwise, though, it’s all about the wild, uninhabited spaces.
For a retreat that the Famous Five would be jealous of, head to Oak Lodge, a sunlit, well-equipped paradise that sleeps 16, perfect for discerning guests such as yourself. When you’re not trying to spot the Exmoor ponies, you can relax on the lakeside jetty, play the upright piano and enjoy the unspoiled views of countryside from all of the giant windows.
Now you know the best places to visit in Somerset, it's time to think about accommodation. Plum Guide has dozens of gorgeous rental homes in this part of the UK, all professionally vetted by our fastidious home critics, so you're guaranteed a great night's sleep.