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Why you should have a staycation in Somerset in 2024

Explore Somerset's sleepy villages of thatched cottages. Image: olliemtdog/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Explore Somerset's sleepy villages of thatched cottages. Image: olliemtdog/Getty Images/iStockphoto

When most people think ‘Somerset’ they usually go down two trains of thoughts. They’ll either envision a cider-swilling, combine harvester-driving farmer with straw dangling from the corner of his mouth, or they’ll picture a happy hive of festival revellers dancing through wades of mud at Glastonbury Festival. Both depictions are completely true, but these Somerset characters will also be joining the countless other country folk in cheerfully welcoming you to our hidden jewel of the West Country.

When one tends to think of the key wishes for a fabulous staycation, ‘good food’ will invariably top most people’s checklists. Thankfully, as we have already established, Somerset is awash with farmers and where there’s top-notch food suppliers, there are inevitably top-notch chefs so there’s your first tick on your checklist right there! As we neatly segue into what you’ll be supping alongside your award-winning meal Somersetians won’t fall short on keeping your glasses filled either. If locally brewed ales; and ciders from our apple orchards will suit your taste buds then Somerset most certainly has your favourite tipple covered, but let’s not also forget the advancement of the English vineyard and our south westerly-facing hillsides as you enjoy popping a cork of the county’s finest sparkling wine too.

Once you’re fed and watered, you’ll likely to be looking for some entertainment to fill your days. If you’re after a shopping fix, your time can be well spent exploring the architectural beauties of Bath (a UNESCO World Heritage Centre) or Wells (the smallest city in England) both with a mix of independent and national brands. There’s ample opportunity to enjoy our history and heritage with many a museum and tour on offer here too. If you’re keen to reconnect with nature and you’re searching for uninterrupted views our diverse landscape is all encompassing so your camera will undoubtedly be busy. Exmoor National Park gifts you rugged moorlands (complete with ponies and red deer), coastal views (good enough for many a poet; Coleridge and Wordsworth included), and those uninterrupted and celebrated big skies (we’re an International Dark Sky Reserve - perfect for stargazing). Then we have our Mendip Hills, the Quantocks and the Blackdown Hills; all of which brandish their Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty accolades, and rightly so because there’s never been a disappointed hiker, horse-rider or mountain biker known in these parts!

And finally, when your day calls for a slower pace, a riverside stroll along the River Parrett is a recommended must. As she weaves through the Somerset Levels passing sleepy villages of thatched, honey-coloured cottages; she’ll inevitably guide you towards one of our cosy pubs. Expect the doors to be thrown open in welcome because those farmers, and festival goers, and country folk we spoke of earlier will be beckoning you into the bar while asking you, ‘what are you having?’ Now, there’s a thought.

5 Secret Spots in Somerset to visit in 2024

 

Stanton Drew Circles and Cove
Step aside Stonehenge because Somerset is home to the third largest set of prehistoric standing stones in England. Pop a £1 in the honesty box and walk freely amongst this ancient megalithic site. No queues and no tourists here, you’ll have the stones completely to yourself, unless the farmer has sheep grazing the grass at the time.
english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/stanton-drew-circles-and-cove

Burrow Mump
The slightly smaller sister to Glastonbury Tor but offering equally good views across the county, without the crowds. ‘Burrow Mump’ means ‘Hill Hill’ – it’s so good they named twice. Expect unbroken landscape views which makes it the ideal picnic spot or sunrise/sunset destination.

Steep Holm
Sail across to Somerset’s ‘secret’ island. Catch a RIB from Weston-super-Mare and explore the island which is a naturalist’s delight. The island is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, bird sanctuary and nature reserve while also being home to some very rare plants.

See the Chained Library
Built in the 1450s, the ancient wooden bookshelves of Wells Cathedral are graced with huge heavy leather-bound books affixed with metal chains. If you think ‘Harry Potter’ you wouldn’t be far off.
wellscathedral.org.uk

Visit Somerset’s beach waterfall
St Audries Bay Waterfall plunges off the edge of the cliff straight onto the beach and can be only seen by foot at low tide. Follow the coast path along to the quaint harbour town of Watchet for an art fix, or for a nostalgic ride on the steam train.

Great British Life: Great British StaycationsGreat British Staycations (Image: Newsquest)

This article appeared in the Great British Staycations magazine.

You are sure to find some inspiration for your next staycation within the 172 pages of this FREE magazine.

Great British Staycations: click here to read the free online magazine.



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