Things to do in Somerset

Things to do

Things to do in Somerset

Making up the heart of the West Country, Somerset is home to some truly spectacular sights, whether your interests lie in rolling countryside, staggering coastlines, or something a little more curated. Yep, from cars to planes, art to animals, you’ll find some of the biggest and best collections in Somerset, which make for a great day out with the family as these bogglingly big museums, zoos, and art galleries boast something for everyone.

Hidden amongst the bountiful countryside you’ll find some beautiful stately homes and gardens that provide a more refined day trip, with tearooms and farm shops waiting to fill you up and acres of woodlands and parklands ready to tire you and the dog out. Somerset is also known for its orchards and deliciously crisp ciders, which somehow manage to create the feeling of a sunny Saturday afternoon regardless of when you’re taking a sip. Try a glass yourself at one of the county’s many great eateries.

Excited to discover what awaits in the rural realms of cider country? Here’s our list of the best things to do in Somerset to keep your itinerary full during your stay…


Cheddar Gorge, Cheddar

Someone cycling through the impressive limestone cliffs of Cheddar Gorge, one of the best things to do in Somerset

Situated in the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Cheddar Gorge has become one of the most visited natural landmarks in the UK - and with good reason! From the dizzying heights of the iconic limestone cliffs to the depths of the subterranean stalactite show caves, there are some boggling sights to be seen here - not to mention the fascinating discovery of the oldest skeleton found in Britain.

Rock climbing and caving are popular pursuits at this dramatic destination, as well as walking, which takes you across the varied and awe-inspiring landscape. Nearby in Cheddar, you’ll find some of Somerset’s best restaurants, which provide plenty of delicious dishes to refresh you after a day exploring the gorge. Where else can you gorge on actual cheddar cheese next to Cheddar Gorge! 


Dunster Castle, Minehead

Looking out over the fields at Dunster Castle with the dramatic woods behind

Often playing host to a fabulous open air theatre extravaganza and home to one of Somerset’s most enviable sub-tropical gardens, there’s always something amazing to see at Dunster Castle. There has been a castle situated on top of this wooded hill since Norman times, meaning the historically minded among you will love the chance to delve into the past of this ancient castle. Once a medieval stronghold and now a family home, Dunster Castle affords visitors a fascinating tour around its impressive interiors, which benefit from some incredible views across the surrounding countryside.

The Mediterranean garden is also worth a gander, with its subtropical plants and incredibly restored borders that make the most of the four separate microclimates. Once you’ve soaked up all the ancient history you can, pop into the Watermill tea room for a bite to eat, the Stables Shop for a memorable trinket, or Gatehouse Books for something you can read back at your cosy cottage.


Brean Leisure Park, Brean Sands

The incredible water park at Brean Leisure Park, one of the best things to do in Somerset with kids

If you’re looking for a family day out in Somerset then look no further than Brean Leisure Park, which boasts a whole host of fun attractions, rides, and things to do for every member of the family. Throw on your cossie and dive into the splashy fun of the waterpark, pull out your very best polo shirt for a round of golf, or head straight to Brean Theme Park for some hair-raising rides that are sure to stick a smile on your face.

Every age is catered for here, with a soft play area and some great gentle rides ensuring the little ones can take part in the fun as well. You’ll also find ten mouth-watering eateries across the park from curries to carveries to a café that not only welcomes dogs but caters to them with an entire dog-friendly menu – pawfect!


West Somerset Railway, Minehead

One of the beautiful vintage trains at the West Somerset Railway station in Minehead

When you’re travelling through 20 miles of jaw-dropping Somerset countryside on a historic steam locomotive, the destination pales in comparison to the gentle chug-chug of the journey. Tootle past stretching coastal scenes, through the rising beauty of the Quantock Hills, and marvel at the many unspoilt villages that make up your view as you ride along a historic branch of the Great Western Railway.

While you’ll start and finish in some of Somerset’s most-beloved towns and villages, it's not just about getting from A to B. With countless foodie experiences, from cream teas to cheese and cider – not to mention a fun-filled calendar of themed events – every journey is a ride to remember with West Somerset Railway.


Fleet Air Arm Museum, Yeovil

Looking down across the hangar at the Fleet Air Arm Museum, which is full of different aircrafts

If you’re aching to leave the land behind, even if it’s only through your imagination, a visit to the Fleet Air Arm Museum is a must. Providing an incredible glimpse inside the flying arm of the Royal Navy, you can expect to find all manner of flying machines here from early bi-planes to the first British Concorde. It’s also totally undercover making it a perfect rainy-day activity – there’s also a great café for those all-important refuels!

As you explore the fascinating halls, you’ll be able to walk through the history of naval aviation as you marvel at the many ways people have taken to the skies. If you really want to immerse yourself in aeronautical history, head to the award-winning Aircraft Carrier Experience, which will see you encounter a working flight deck, an air-sea rescue, and even a nuclear bomb.


Shepton Mallet Prison, Shepton Mallet

Looking across the yard at the stone building at Shepton Mallet Prison

When it comes to things to do in Somerset, you might be surprised to see the words ‘go to prison’ on our list, but when a prison is as interesting as this one your shock won’t last long and you’ll be fighting over the ‘Go to jail’ Monopoly card. Shepton Mallet Prison is a captivating experience whether you just want to look around or you fancy testing your metal by spending a night in the most haunted prison in the world.

Tours are led daily by knowledgeable guides, who can tell you everything you want and need to know about life at the prison over the last 400 years. Think you’re smart enough to break out of prison? Find out as you take on one of the two escape rooms, or really test your wits with Turf Wars, a combination of mental and athletic tests you must complete while avoiding the ‘Hunter’. Finish your visit off with a trip to the gift shop and café, where you can refresh after your time behind bars.


Ferne Animal Sanctuary, Wambrook

Two of the sheep at Ferne Animal Sanctuary in Somerset

If you’re looking for somewhere quiet you can take the dog, the peaceful and oh-so-welcoming Ferne Animal Sanctuary is for you. Home to over 300 resident animals, Ferne is a charity-run sanctuary where animals can find safety and visitors can enjoy some quality time away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Although it’s never a guarantee who you’ll meet when visiting Ferne (the quieter you can be the better your chances are of meeting the residents), a mixture of farm animals, horses, donkeys, birds, and a whole host of small creatures from rabbits to chipmunks all call this haven home. Pop along to the onsite shop to pick up a lovely trinket while supporting the sanctuary or head over to the café for some homemade cake and a cuppa.


Haynes Motor Museum, Yeovil

One of the beautiful Ferraris in the Ferrari exhibition at Haynes Motor Museum

From the man that brought us the invariably useful Haynes Manuals, comes the spectacular and continually growing Haynes Motor Museum, a world-renowned collection of vehicles and automobilia that entertains everyone from die-hard enthusiasts to families looking for a fun yet fascinating day out.

Starting life as John Haynes’ personal collection, the museum has grown from a modest 29 vehicles to around 400 in just 30 years, a remarkable feat indeed. Today, you can walk around the many collections, which vary from vintage to veteran, British to American, motorbikes to motorsport, and the stunning red room, where seemingly every red car ever created sits, waiting to be admired. A calendar of events adds even more interest to the Haynes Motor Museum, from car boot sales to The Breakfast Club, where you can grab a bacon bap as you enjoy the cars on show.


Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, Clevedon

An Andean Bear and her two cubs at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm, one of the best things to do in Somerset

Round up, round up, one and all to see a zoo full of creatures, great and small! Cheesy rhymes aside, Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm is a fab place to bring the kids for a bit of entertainment that’s secretly educational. You’ll come face to face with some incredible animals, from bears to buffalo, giraffes to goats, and lions to lemurs as you stroll around this family-friendly zoo.

Catch one of the live talks to learn about the animals that surround you or head to the play areas to let your little wildlings run off some steam. The onsite café is a great spot for a feed while the maze offers you the chance to put your sense of direction to the test.


The Roman Baths, Bath

The beautiful and ancient Roman Baths, with stone pillars and incredible carvings

When it comes to a bath, no one does it quite like the Romans! Here in the aptly named city of Bath, you can walk around one of the original Roman baths as you (metaphorically) soak up the power of the Sacred Spring that’s been keeping the mineral-rich pools here filled for thousands of years. The museum is full of fascinating facts and remnants from the baths and temple, which provide an intriguing glimpse into the past.

While you can no longer swim here, you can always pop over to Thermae Bath Spa, which is the only remaining day spa in Britain to feature Bath’s natural thermal waters and the many minerals they contain.


Glastonbury Abbey, Glastonbury

The incredible ruins at Glastonbury Abbey, one of the best things to do in Somerset

Said to be the final resting place of King Arthur, Glastonbury Abbey is rich with myths and legends waiting to be uncovered, alongside the beautiful yet eerie ruins. Situated in the town centre, the abbey is a great place to learn more about the area’s history as well as its wildlife, with badger walks taking place regularly during the summer months.

Historical plays and performances also take place within the abbey, providing fantastical entertainment for the whole family. The grounds here are great for leisurely strolls with the kids and dog and nearby Glastonbury is home to a fantastic array of shops, restaurants and art galleries, making it a great location for a day out with the family.


Glastonbury Tor, Glastonbury

Looking across the Somerset Levels at Glastonbury Tor

When visiting Glastonbury Abbey, we wholeheartedly recommend extending your day with a walk around Glastonbury Tor. Not only is it one of the best walks in Somerset, this historical trundle is also a great opportunity to extend your tour of the ancient sites of Glastonbury. The walk itself is nice and easy with views from St Michael’s Tower reaching out across Somerset Levels.

Aside from the eye-popping views, you’ll find a few fascinating remnants from the past including two springs and the Chalice Well, all of which are shrouded in myth, legend, and folklore. Do they have healing properties or were they just a useful source of clean water for the people of Glastonbury - you’ll have to find out!


Sheppy’s Cider Farm, Taunton

The red bricked House of Cider at Sheppy's Cider Farm in Somerset

Did you really think we’d forgotten to signpost you to a cider house? Never! At Sheppy’s Cider Farm, you can toast to the delicious result of fermenting apples before browsing the award-winning farm shop, deli, and butchery where you can stock up on all manner of local treats, from artisan cheeses to a lip-smacking selection of their famous ciders you can enjoy back at your home from home.

If you fancy stretching your legs during your visit, there are some lovely, dog-friendly walks around the grounds, which take you past a playground, duck pond, and even some of the intriguing cider production areas. You’ll also find some farm animals on your travels so keep your eyes peeled for curious faces and furry ears.


Excited to make the most of the West Country? Explore our beautiful cottages in Somerset and start building your list of family-friendly days out.

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