Nestled in the picturesque countryside of southwestern England, Somerset offers a delightful blend of natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture. With its charming villages, rolling hills, and stunning coastline, this county is the perfect destination for a weekend getaway. If you're wondering what to do in Somerset, we've got you covered. Here's a guide to help you make the most of your time in this enchanting region.
Explore Historic Sites
Start your weekend adventure by immersing yourself in Somerset's fascinating history. Begin with a visit to the iconic Glastonbury Abbey. This ancient abbey, steeped in legends of King Arthur and Joseph of Arimathea, boasts beautiful ruins and stunning gardens. Take a guided tour to uncover the abbey's rich past.
Next, make your way to Wells, England's smallest city. Don't miss the awe-inspiring Wells Cathedral, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. Marvel at its intricate stained glass windows and climb the cathedral's tower for panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
Experience Natural Wonders
Somerset is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, and Cheddar Gorge is a prime example. Embark on a scenic hike through the dramatic limestone cliffs, or for an adrenaline rush, try rock climbing or caving in this stunning natural wonder. Be sure to sample the region's famous Cheddar cheese while you're here.
Another must-visit location is Exmoor National Park. Lace up your hiking boots and explore the park's diverse terrain, from sweeping moorlands to deep valleys. Keep an eye out for the park's wild residents, including the iconic Exmoor ponies and red deer. You can also enjoy cycling, horseback riding, or even stargazing in this designated Dark Sky Reserve.
Indulge in Local Delights
Somerset is a food lover's paradise, offering a plethora of delicious local treats. Start your day with a traditional West Country breakfast featuring locally sourced bacon, sausages, and eggs. Don't forget to try the region's famous cider, made from Somerset's abundant apple orchards.
For lunch, head to a local pub and savor a hearty Ploughman's lunch, featuring crusty bread, cheese, pickles, and cold meats. Wash it down with a pint of locally brewed ale. If you have a sweet tooth, treat yourself to a slice of Somerset apple cake or a scrumptious cream tea with freshly baked scones, clotted cream, and jam.
Immerse Yourself in Culture
Somerset boasts a vibrant cultural scene, with a variety of art galleries, museums, and festivals. Visit the Museum of Somerset in Taunton, which showcases the county's rich heritage through interactive exhibits and fascinating displays.
If you're a fan of contemporary art, make a stop at the Hauser & Wirth Somerset gallery in Bruton. This world-class art center features thought-provoking exhibitions, stunning gardens, and a fantastic farm-to-table restaurant.
If you happen to be in Somerset during the summer, don't miss the Glastonbury Festival. This legendary music event attracts thousands of music enthusiasts from around the world and offers an unforgettable experience of live music, arts, and culture.
Relax by the Coast
No visit to Somerset is complete without exploring its stunning coastline. Head to the charming town of Minehead and stroll along its beautiful sandy beach. Take a ride on the West Somerset Railway, a heritage steam railway that winds through picturesque countryside and seaside towns.
For a tranquil escape, visit the Quantock Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Enjoy a leisurely walk along the coast, taking in panoramic views of the Bristol Channel and the rolling hills. With its unspoiled beauty and peaceful atmosphere, this is the perfect place to unwind and connect with nature.
If you're looking for some beachside fun, make your way to Burnham-on-Sea. This bustling coastal town offers a wide stretch of golden sands, perfect for sunbathing, building sandcastles, or enjoying a leisurely beach walk. Don't forget to sample some traditional seaside fish and chips for a true British experience.
For a touch of maritime history, visit the historic port town of Watchet. Explore the picturesque harbor, browse through quaint shops and art galleries, or take a boat trip along the coast. Don't miss the chance to visit the fascinating Watchet Museum, which tells the captivating stories of the town's maritime past.
Discover Gardens and Countryside
Somerset is renowned for its stunning gardens and idyllic countryside. Hestercombe Gardens near Taunton is a horticultural masterpiece, combining three centuries of garden design. Take a leisurely stroll through its formal landscapes, vibrant flower beds, and tranquil water features. The gardens also house a contemporary art gallery, providing a unique blend of nature and culture.
If you're a fan of horticulture, don't miss the world-famous RHS Garden at Wisley. Explore the beautifully landscaped gardens, glasshouses, and stunning flower displays. Join a guided tour to learn more about the plant collections and pick up gardening tips from the experts.
For a taste of rural charm, visit the picturesque village of Dunster. Take a leisurely walk through the medieval streets, admire the well-preserved thatched cottages, and visit the magnificent Dunster Castle. This historic castle offers breathtaking views of Exmoor National Park and hosts various events throughout the year, including falconry displays and medieval reenactments.
Get Active Outdoors
If you're seeking adventure, Somerset offers plenty of outdoor activities to get your adrenaline pumping. Head to the Mendip Hills and explore the vast network of caves. Join a guided tour of Wookey Hole Caves, where you can marvel at the underground chambers, impressive stalactites, and an underground river.
For water sports enthusiasts, the Somerset Levels and Moors provide excellent opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, or paddleboarding. Glide along the peaceful waterways, spot wildlife, and immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature.
If you prefer a slower pace, hire a bicycle and cycle along the picturesque country lanes. Discover hidden villages, charming pubs, and enjoy the beautiful rural landscapes at your own pace.
Conclusion on What to Do in Somerset for a Weekend Getaway
A weekend in Somerset is a perfect escape for nature lovers, history enthusiasts, foodies, and culture seekers alike. From exploring historic sites to indulging in local delights, experiencing natural wonders to immersing yourself in the vibrant cultural scene, Somerset has something for everyone.
Whether you choose to wander through picturesque gardens, hike the breathtaking countryside, relax on sandy beaches, or delve into the county's rich heritage, Somerset promises a memorable weekend getaway. So pack your bags, plan your itinerary, and get ready to embark on a delightful journey through one of England's most captivating counties.