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Jewel of the Southwest
Many people refer to modern Somerset as the "Jewel of the Southwest," but the ancient Welsh Celts often described it as the "Land of the Summer People." Authentic and cozy country pubs are scattered throughout this county, which is known for its rolling rural landscapes. Somerset’s major business is sheep and cattle farming, so make sure your trip includes a sample of its most notable product, the world-famous Cheddar cheese. Extend your gastronomical itinerary by tasting Somerset's well-known strong ciders, brewed using traditional methods. With its landscapes of meadows, hills, and hedgerows, Somerset is a picture-perfect representative of a simpler world, where you can enjoy a holiday far from the bustle of the big cities and overcrowded tourist attractions. Plan your visit to Somerset and other destinations in United Kingdom using our United Kingdom driving holiday planner.
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Top Somerset tours
BOOK WITH VIATOR Walking Tour of Bath with Blue Badge Tourist Guide
Duration: 1h 30min
Tours from $20 ›
Likely to sell out BOOK WITH VIATOR Stonehenge, Avebury, Cotswolds. Small guided day tour from Bath (Max 14 persons)
Tours from $95 ›
Likely to sell out BOOK WITH VIATOR Cotswolds Experience - full day small group day tour from Bath ( Max 14 persons)
Tours from $95 ›
Likely to sell out BOOK WITH VIATOR Stonehenge Private Tour - Half-Day Tour from Bath
Tours from $204 ›
BOOK WITH VIATOR Bespoke private tours of Stonehenge and Avebury by car with local guide
Duration: 3h - 8h
Tours from $418 ›
Places to visit in Somerset
BathTrip planner Best for: World heritage site, History Museum, Spa WellsTrip planner Best for: Architectural Building, Religious Site, Landmark GlastonburyTrip planner Best for: Geologic Formation, Ruin, Historic Site CheddarTrip planner Best for: Cave, Gift & Specialty Shop, Mini Golf YeovilTrip planner Best for: Military Museum, Specialty Museum, Theater
Regions of Somerset
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Where to stay in Somerset
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Recently planned trips to Somerset
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Somerset Holiday Planning GuideSomerset is known for its rolling rural landscapes, dotted with authentic and cozy country pubs. The county's major business is sheep and cattle farming—make sure to sample its most notable product, the world-famous Cheddar cheese. Extend your gastronomical itinerary by tasting Somerset's well-known strong ciders, brewed using traditional methods. With its landscapes of meadows, hills, and hedgerows, Somerset is a picture-perfect representative of a simpler world, where you can enjoy a holiday far from the bustle of England's big cities and overcrowded tourist attractions.
Places to Visit in SomersetBath: Known for its healing waters, Bath is an essential stop on your Somerset itinerary. This World Heritage Site boasts a combination of ancient Roman bathhouses, historical architecture, and modern comforts such as fine dining, shopping, and of course, luxurious spas.
Glastonbury: Glastonbury's natural beauty and historical sites make it an ideal stop for a relaxing holiday in Somerset. Music lovers can get their fill at the famous Glastonbury Festival, held every summer.
Weston super Mare: A classic English seaside resort, Weston super Mare offers miles of beautiful sandy beaches, piers, and amusement parks, as well as activities for rainy days, including an aquarium and the Helicopter Museum.
Exmoor National Park: Outdoor enthusiasts will love Exmoor National Park's 693 sq km (268 sq mi) of gorgeous landscape, where visitors can hike along breathtaking sea cliffs, go for a trail run across moorland filled with heather, and canoe or kayak.
Wells: Often called "England's Smallest City," Wells offers all the fun of touring a city without the stress. Explore cathedrals, stroll between the city's famous wells dedicated to St. Andrew, and bring the kids along to enjoy the city's numerous youth clubs.
Dunster: The small medieval village of Dunster entices visitors with its charming beach chalets and historical sites, such as Dunster Castle.
Things to Do in Somerset
Popular Somerset Tourist AttractionsThe Roman Baths: Visit the world-famous Roman Baths Museum to tour a beautifully preserved temple and bathhouse fed by natural hot springs.
Thermae Bath Spa: Plan a relaxing day at Thermae Bath Spa for a soak in the legendary mineral-rich waters of Bath. Sit in the steam room or select from their menu of luxurious spa treatments.
Bath Abbey: Take a trip back to medieval times at Bath Abbey, an unusually light-filled cruciform church.
Grand Pier: Grand Pier is a popular tourist attraction in Somerset, boasting an amusement park and beautiful nighttime views.
Butlins Minehead: Somerset holiday camp Butlins Minehead provides a range of outdoor facilities, including pools and waterslides, and hosts music and theater performances.
Cheddar Caves & Gorge: The geology and history of Cheddar Caves & Gorge make it ideal for hiking, cave exploration, and cheese tasting. Learn about Cheddar Man, the oldest complete human skeleton found in England.
The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa: A prime example of Georgian architecture, this crescent-shaped street is a great place to stroll during your Somerset vacation.
The Jane Austen Centre: Learn about Bath's most famous resident at the Jane Austen Centre, where you can peek into the writer's daily life.
Glastonbury Tor: Climb up the hill of Glastonbury Tor, considered sacred as far back as the Iron Age, to see sweeping views of the city below.
Wells Cathedral: Twelfth-century Gothic Wells Cathedral offers numerous guided and themed tours, a fantastic view of the city, a library filled with 500-year-old books, and a stunning collection of stained-glass windows.
Planning a Somerset Vacation with Kids
Places to Visit in Somerset with KidsA family holiday in Somerset can offer a combination of fun, exploration, and relaxation. Bath has much to offer the whole family. Children will love imagining themselves as ancient Romans while touring The Roman Baths and enjoying theater or music performances. The small city of Wells is the ideal size for traveling with children, who will have fun exploring Wookey Hole Caves and Wells Cathedral. Add Weston super Mare to your Somerset itinerary, where beaches, piers, and museums provide activities for your family in rain or shine.
Things to Do in Somerset with KidsThere are numerous activities that children and adults can enjoy together on your trip to Somerset. In Bath, children will be delighted to catch a magic show at Krowd Keepers Magic Theatre or Minerva Magic Theatre. Somerset's attractions include many zoos for younger animal lovers, including the car safari at Longleat. Campgrounds and amusement parks are sure to keep your family entertained on your Somerset holiday. Options in the area include beachside Fun City at Brean Leisure Park and refreshing Water adventure park.
Tips for a Family Vacation in SomersetFor your family vacation in Somerset, you have the option of staying at a traditional hotel, staying at one of the region's family-focused camps such as Butlins Minehead, or even renting your own beach chalet on the seashore. While trains provide some transportation in the area, renting a car is recommended on a trip to Somerset, as it will allow you and your family to more easily explore smaller towns and attractions off the beaten path.
Dining and Shopping on Holiday in Somerset
Cuisine of SomersetWhile the cuisine here is similar to standard British cuisine, your tour of Somerset would not be complete without sampling some of the area's regional specialties. Somerset is famous for its hard cider—the area's many orchards produce cider influenced by the soil and climate. Visit one of the many cozy local pubs to sample cider and beer, and to meet new friends. The very popular Cheddar cheese originated in Somerset, and cheese and history lovers alike might want to add a trip to Cheddar Caves & Gorge to their Somerset itinerary. In Bath, visitors can sample a number of local baked goods attributed to 16th-century physician William Oliver, including sweet Bath buns and Bath Olivers, crackers often eaten with cheese.
Shopping in SomersetWhile planning things to do in Somerset, make time to shop at some of the region's independent stores and markets—bring back souvenirs or get something special for yourself. Bath has the most options for shopping, including shops such as the popular The Fine Cheese Shop and Ora Et Labora, which sells artisanal goods made by monks in the region. Shoppers may want to include a trip to the monthly Frome Independent market in Frome, where visitors can shop for souvenirs and antiques, sample local delicacies, meet craftspeople, and enjoy the bustle of a small-town market day.
Know Before You Go on a Trip to Somerset
History of SomersetSomerset's rich history dates back to Paleolithic times. People have lived in the region for thousands of years, first settling in caves and in the wetlands known as the Somerset Levels. You can explore this ancient history on your trip to Somerset by visiting sites such as Cheddar Caves & Gorge and Wookey Hole Caves. Roman occupation of the area from 47–409 CE added another layer of history still evident today in numerous ruins and buildings, most notably in Bath.
The Romans withdrew from Somerset in 409 CE, focusing their energy and soldiers on defending other parts of their large empire from increasing raids and attacks. With the Romans gone, Anglo-Saxon peoples invaded Britain, and while they had occupied the majority of modern-day England by 600 CE, Somerset remained under native British control for another hundred years. The next few centuries saw the development of a feudal system in the area. Many buildings and monuments remaining from this time period are worthwhile additions to your Somerset itinerary, such as Dunster Castle and numerous cathedrals.
With the advent of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, Somerset's cottage industries declined, although agriculture persevered and remains important to the region today. During World War II, the county was used as a base for troops before the invasion of Normandy on D-Day, and a number of “decoy towns” were constructed to lure Axis bombers away from actual inhabited towns.
Landscape of SomersetSightseers in Somerset are rewarded with a beautiful natural landscape. Seaside areas offer sweeping views of dramatic cliffs and sparkling blue water. The area boasts gorgeous rolling green hills, valleys well suited to the region's agriculture, and wetlands such as the Somerset Levels and moors. Your trip to Somerset might include an exploration of the area's vast network of caves, which have been used for human activities for thousands of years, or an outdoor adventure at Exmoor National Park, which offers a vast array of activities from sea kayaking to rock climbing.
Holidays & Festivals in SomersetYou might consider planning your Somerset trip to coincide with one or more of the local festivals that give flavor to the region. Every June, the town of Pilton holds the world-famous Glastonbury Festival, where visitors gather on picturesque farmland to hear popular music. Summertime brings the Sand Sculpture Festival to the beaches of Weston super Mare, where international artists create impressive works of art with just sand and water. In autumn, a series of local parades and fairs known as West County Carnivals appear throughout the area. These include nighttime parades of illuminated floats, called “carts” by locals.
Somerset Travel Tips
Climate of SomersetThe best time to visit Somerset is in the summertime, when average temperatures rest in the low 20s Celsius (around 68°F), with occasional clouds and rain. Fall often has cool periods interspersed with warm, sunny days. Winter is cold and wet, with frequent rain and occasional snow. In springtime, temperatures are warmer and sudden rainstorms are common.
Transportation in SomersetRental cars are the easiest way to get around on your Somerset holiday, as many smaller towns and attractions are difficult to access by bus or train. There are ten train stations in the area, which offer an alternative to renting a car. To get to the region, take the train or a bus, called a “coach line” by locals.