A county rich in history and beautiful tranquil landscapes, there are so many must see places to visit in Somerset! Whether you are interested in ancient monuments, elegant cities or dramatic natural sights, Somerset has you covered. Below are 5 Somerset attractions that you cannot miss during your visit to the county and some of our favourite campsites in the region for your perfect motorhome hire getaway.
#1 Cheddar Gorge
An iconic natural wonder and one of Somerset’s top attractions, Cheddar Gorge is a spectacular sight located in the Mendip Hills. At 400 feet deep and 3 miles long, it is the largest gorge in England and was formed during the last Ice Age. Melting glaciers fed the Yeo river, which eroded the rock creating the dramatic cliffs and crags that you can see today. The river gradually made its way into the depths of the limestone to form the unforgettable Cheddar Gorge showcaves, where the UK’s oldest complete human skeleton, Cheddar Man was discovered in 1903. Gough’s cave is the largest in the network and is a cathedral of stalagmites and stalactites! Cheddar is even matured on shelves in the cave due to its stable 11 C temperature which gives the cheese it’s distinctive flavour. Make sure to give it a try! Cheddar Gorge is at the top of the list of things to do with the kids in Somerset as there is just so many different things to do. There is the caves themselves, a museum of prehistory and wonderful nature all with dedicated well thought out children’s activities and guides.
The elegant city of Bath is an ancient centre of pleasure and relaxation. The city’s natural hot springs have been taken advantage of since at least Roman times and visitors can still see the remains of the baths that they built. Learn about Roman Bath and how the Romans used the site in the site museum and make sure to check out the beautiful Georgian Pump House restaurant where you can try a tipple of the sulfurous hot spring water! But that is not all that this World Heritage Site has to offer. A trip to Bath would not be complete without seeing the impressive Georgian architecture of the Royal Crescent and Circus. Stroll in the footsteps of the Georgian gentry and imagine yourself in a Jane Austen novel - who knows maybe you’ll bump into Mr. Darcy! The city is also home to many quaint independent shops, hosts frequent events and notable museums and galleries.
#3 Exmoor National Park
Exmoor national park is a place full surprises and is one Somerset attraction that you cannot afford to miss! With expansive moorlands and huge skies, rocky river valleys, and dramatic coastlines with England’s highest sea-cliffs, Exmoor has so much to offer! It is the ideal location for those looking to explore the wonders of the universe as Exmoor is Europe’s first Dark Sky Reserve. Due to its very low light pollution, stargazers can see thousands more stars than is possible in most locations, just with the naked eye. Wimbleball Lake is one of the best locations to set up camp with telescopes available to hire at the national park centres. One of the most enjoyable things to do with the kids in Somerset is discovering this amazing area and with the Exmoor Story Walks there is added excitement. Simply download to a mobile phone or tablet and read aloud the chapters from the story which leads to a new location after every chapter finishing with the discovery of the hidden journal for you to sign. The walk takes you to some of Exmoor’s most dazzling locations, including Dunkery Beacon, the highest point on Exmoor with spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.
#4 Brean Down
Brean Down is a huge natural pier jutting out into the sea with lovely views over the Bristol Channel to South Wales and the Somerset Levels. Make sure to venture to the top of this 97 meter high pier and take the 1.5 mile walk along its edge! Once you have had your high flying excitement, head on down to the beach at its foot which is the longest in Europe and where you can relax on the golden sands or enjoy a beverage at the Cove Cafe. There is also much of scientific and historical interest at Brean Down. Evidence of mammoths and wooly rhinos have been found on the Down as well as evidence of human occupation since the Stone Age, including a Roman temple. In more recent history the impressive Victorian Palmerston Fortress was built on the Down to defend against a possible Napoleonic invasion and it was also used as a location for gun platforms to defend the country in the Second World War. Brean Down certainly offers a packed day out!
#5 West Somerset Railway
Built in 1874 and now the UK’s longest heritage railway, the West Somerset Railway begins at Bishops Lydeard and finishes at the coastal town of Minehead. Passengers can sit back and enjoy a journey in one of its vintage carriages pulled by beautifully restored steam engines. The line winds its way through the picturesque Somerset Quantock Hills and along the Bristol Channel coast passing through charming old stations and offering a wonderful journey into the past. Stops include Crowcombe Heathfield, where the Beatles filmed ‘A Hard Day’s Night’, Washford where you can visit Cleeve Abbey and Torre Cider Farm and the medieval village of Dunster with its impressive castle. There are 10 stops along the line making it a great way to explore the area in a more relaxed style. There are fun Steam Galas aroganised in Spring and Autumn and at Christmas there are Santa services on the line with mince pies and sherry for the grown-ups!
Places to Stay in Somerset
As well as many must see places to visit in Somerset, there are plenty of nice places to stay with a variety of different campsite options to fit your needs. We have narrowed down a list of our 3 favourite campsites in the county, which we think will make a perfect campervan or motorhome hire getaway!
Petruth Paddocks, Cheddar
'Freerange camping’ is the mantra at family run Petruth Paddocks where everyone and anyone is welcome and encouraged to feel at home! This award winning campsite is situated in Cheddar, just a short stroll from Cheddar Gorge and the Mendip Hills (Area of Outstanding Beauty) and a short drive to the charming cathedral city of Wells. There are 12 hard-standings for motorhomes with hook-ups, great amenities including showers, toilets, a washing up area, WiFi and campfires and barbecues are positively encouraged! With few rules, children are encouraged to be children and have fun with freedom to run around and explore, play ball games and make new friends. Sit back and relax in the live and let live atmosphere of this lovely campsite.
Diamond Farm, Brean
Diamond Farm offers the best of both worlds being located on the stunning coastline between Brean and Burnham-on-sea and surrounded by the peaceful Somerset countryside. Both Brean Down and Cheddar Gorge are a short drive away, as well as many lovely walking routes in the local area. This 100 acre farm has pitches with commanding views over Western Super Mare and the Mendip Hills with high quality shower and washroom facilities, including separate facilities for the disabled. There is also a children’s play area and guests can even have a go at fishing in the river Axe which runs through the site.
Burrowhayes Farm Caravan and Camping Park, West Luccombe
Located in the heart of Exmoor national park in the wooded Horner Valley, Burrowhayes Farm is the ideal base to explore this unmissable region. The South West Coastal Path is easily accessible and there are many wonderful walks through the local woodland and moorland where you can encounter Exmoor’s renowned wildlife. It is also a good location for seaside excursions to Minehead and nearby Porlock. The touring pitches have hook-ups and are next to the tranquil pony grazing fields with superb facilities include a heated toilet and shower block, laundry rooms and a well stocked shop. There is also a popular riding stables on site where you can get a riding tour of the local countryside.
Discover your next Somerset motorhome hire adventure with Goboony!