Tranquil Somerset will astound
The quieter southwest county has lots to shout about
THERE ARE many great reasons to visit beautiful Somerset, not least because it’s so much closer for many of us than its popular southwest cousins.
As you pass Taunton you’re still 150 miles from Penzance, much of it on the A30, so we say jump off the M5 in Somerset and enjoy its many delights.
First stop should be dramatic Cheddar Gorge (see p26/27). From here, it’s a short trip to Wookey Hole and its famous caves. The caves are among the most spectacular in Britain, and kids will also love the animatronic dinosaurs, 4D cinema, Magical Mirror Maze and Mystic Fairy Garden. On day two, explore deepest Somerset: Taunton town, Haynes’ brilliant motor museum in Sparkford, the amazing Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton, or travel back in time on the West Somerset Railway.
The railway is England’s longest heritage line, rolling 20 miles from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead, through stunning countryside and pretty villages. Plan your trip for steam action, as heritage diesels do also run. The car park has a 2.1m-high barrier at Bishops Lydeard. Minehead parking has no restrictions.
Then you have the appeal of a visit to mystical Glastonbury with its many unique shops and, of course, a climb up its famous Tor from which you are treated to amazing views across the Somerset levels.
Finally, no visit to Somerset would be complete without spending a few hours visiting the city of Wells and its stunning cathedral.
Make Your Stay Better
6 to 8 September 2019 - The Southwest Motorhome Show
Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet, Somerset BA4 6QN
Price: From £40 for weekend camping plus show entry. Day visitors: Adults from £7, Children free
The biggest and the best motorhome show in the southwest.
July - Weston Lions Club Real Ale & Cider Festival
Beach Lawns, Seafront, Weston-super-Mare BS23 1AT
Price: £1 (day) £3 (evening)
Three days of music, dance, food, but mainly testing Somerset and the southwest’s tastiest tipples. Pace yourself, it could get messy!
August - Have a go archery at Dunster Castle
Dunster Castle TA24 6SL
T: 01643 821314
Price: Castle admission, plus £4 for eight arrows or 10 pistol shots
Castle admission, plus £4 for eight arrows or 10 pistol shots Visit wonderful Dunster Castle and try your hand at archery or pistol shooting.
Places of Interest
Cheddar BS27 3QF (Jct 22 on the M5)
Price: All-attractions ticket Adult £16.95, Child 5-15 £12.70 (in adv)
Parking: £5 per day, £3 from 3pm (ticket stub secures Costa Coffee discount). See p26 for more on Cheddar Gorge
Wookey Hole Caves
The Mill High Street, Wookey Hole BA5 1BB
T: 01749 67224
Price: Adult £16.95, Child 3-14, £13.55, Senior £15.25 (three days in advance
Haynes International Motor Museum
Sparkford, Yeovil BA22 7LH
Price: Adult £15, Child 4-15 £9, Conc £13.50
Fleet Air Arm Museum
RNAS Yeovilton, Ilchester BA22 8HT
T: 01935 840565
Price: Adult £13.50, Child 5-15 £10, Conc £12 (online)