Focus on South West: Something for everyone in Somerset
For gorgeous Georgian architecture you can’t get much better than Bath – the only UK city to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Head to the Royal Crescent and the Circus for buildings straight out of a Jane Austen novel. To walk among the Roman relics and on 2000-year old pavements you need to be in the city centre, where there’s the Roman Baths, the Abbey and Pulteney Bridge.
Further south into Somerset is the town of Glastonbury, famous for its music festival but also home to the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey and the imposing Glastonbury Tor, with St Michael’s Tower atop it. The views of the surrounding countryside from the top are astounding.
And don’t forget Wells! England’s smallest city packs a punch with its grand cathedral, moated Bishop’s Palace and medieval Vicars’ Close.
Glastonbury Tor ©VisitBritain/Jason Hawkes
THE COASTAL COLLECTION
If days at the seaside are what you’re after, then Somerset won’t disappoint. For a traditional seaside resort there’s Weston-super-Mare, known for its Grand Pier with indoor theme park, amusements, restaurants and cafés. The huge sweep of Weston Bay has miles of sandy beaches, a promenade and traditional seaside attractions.
For a more wild and untamed beach, go south from Weston and you’ll find Brean, with one of the most dramatic landmarks on the Somerset coastline – Brean Down. In the care of the National Trust, this peninsula points out 1.5 miles into the Bristol channel.
Breath-taking views, plentiful wildlife and a fascinating history combine, with a Victorian fort at the Down’s end to explore.
Cheddar Gorge ©VisitBritain/Stephen Spraggon
WHERE TO WALK
In the north of the county, Exmoor National Park’s footpaths and bridleways allow you to experience this rugged and unspoilt landscape at your leisure for a few hours or the whole day. You can also try wild swimming, coasteering, riding, falconry… The list is endless!
To the east of Exmoor are the Quantocks. The first place in Britain to be designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, these hills offer woods, rolling heathland and coastal paths that can keep you occupied for hours. Look out for wild ponies, too.
ADVENTURE AND EXPLORATION
Only at Cheddar Gorge can you be deep underground one minute, exploring the network of stalactite show caves, and then on top of the world the next, at the plateau of these limestone hills. Fantastic views of the gorge are available from the open-top Gorge Tour Bus and from the three-mile cliff-top gorge walk.
Continuing with the subterranean theme, there’s Wookey Hole Caves. With over 20 attractions in one ticket, including a labyrinth of cave chambers, a circus, animatronic dinosaurs, a mirror maze, penny arcade and crazy golf, this is a place the whole family can enjoy.
Main image: Weston-super-Mare, ©VisitBritain/Stephen Spraggon