12 Best Things to Do in Somerset, England (for Charm and Adventure)

by Jen
Best Things to Do in Somerset, England
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Somerset awaits with its blend of historic wonders and natural splendor. From the mystical Glastonbury Festival to the lively buzz of Frome’s market, we’re covering it all. Gear up for an unforgettable exploration of Somerset’s best things to do!

Ever wondered what makes Somerset a must-visit destination in England? I’ve explored it firsthand, and trust me, it’s a blend of history, nature, and culture that’s hard to beat. From the ancient Roman Baths to the lively Glastonbury Festival, Somerset offers a unique experience for every traveler.

Walking through Bath’s historic city center is like stepping back in time, while the natural beauty of the Mendip Hills is a breath of fresh air for adventure seekers. And let’s not forget the starry nights at Exmoor Dark Sky Reserve – they’re truly magical.

In this guide, we dive into the coolest things to do in Somerset. Each spot we’ll explore holds its own charm and excitement. Ready to discover Somerset’s wonders with me? Let’s get started!

The top places to visit in Somerset, England right now

Coolest Places to See in Somerset

Ready to dive into Somerset’s best places? From the historic allure of the Roman Baths to the natural splendor of the Mendip Hills, this guide has it all. We’ll explore all of the fun and free things to do in Somerset, uncovering hidden gems and popular hotspots in one of the top places to live and visit in the UK.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or just in for some good old festival fun, Somerset’s diverse attractions are sure to captivate you, making it a must-visit destination for those who fly to England. So, get ready for a journey through Somerset’s best, starting with the timeless charm of the Roman Baths!

1. Visit the Roman Baths

A trip to Somerset isn’t complete without experiencing the Roman Baths. Situated in the heart of Bath, these ancient baths are a window into a bygone era. I recommend booking your visit in advance, especially during the summer. This way, you’re guaranteed a spot without the hassle of long lines.

Visiting early in the summer is my personal favorite. The morning light creates a serene ambiance, perfect for soaking in the history without the crowds. In winter, the Baths take on a quieter, more mystical feel. Plus, it’s often less expensive, which makes it a great time to visit.

Wandering around these ancient baths, especially when the steam rises into the crisp winter air, is incredible. You’re right in the heart of where Romans once gathered. While you can’t bathe in the waters, the atmosphere alone is worth the visit.

If you’re searching for cool places to visit in Somerset, the Roman Baths are a no-brainer. They’re not just old ruins. They’re a slice of history you can see, feel, and walk around in. Trust me, it’s an experience you won’t forget.

Visiting the Roman Baths is one of the best things to do in Somerset, England.
Experience the Roman Baths, book in advance to skip the lines and ensure a hassle-free visit.

2. Wander Around Bath’s Historic City Center

If you’re in Somerset, a visit to Bath, its largest city, is a must. One of the most beautiful places to visit in Somerset, I always suggest spending at least two days here to really soak in its charm. The city center, a blend of history and lively culture, is where it all happens.

Start your exploration at Bath Abbey, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. Its towering spires and intricate stonework are a sight to behold. A short walk away is the Royal Crescent. This sweeping curve of Georgian townhouses against a green lawn is picture-perfect. Nearby, the Circus is another architectural wonder, with its circular layout and classical details.

As you wander, don’t miss Bath’s unique restaurants tucked away in charming streets. They’re a delightful mix of history and modern culinary creativity. I highly recommend checking out Chai Walla for a quick, affordable, and delicious lunch in Bath.

In planning your Bath visit, consider dedicating a full day to the city center. It’s walkable and each corner offers something new. For a deeper dive into Bath’s history, guided tours are available, revealing stories you won’t find in guidebooks. And if you’re a fan of shopping and art, the city’s boutique stores and galleries are a treasure trove of unique finds. Don’t miss it!

Visit Bath, known for its blend of history and lively culture.
Visit Bath, known for its blend of history and lively culture.

3. Explore Cheddar Gorge and Caves

Cheddar Gorge is a natural wonder you can’t miss in Somerset. I recommend spending a day here to fully appreciate its beauty. The gorge, with cliffs rising over 450 feet, is a breathtaking sight. And the caves? They’re like stepping into another world!

The Cheddar Caves hold secrets of our prehistoric ancestors. I found the Gough’s Cave particularly fascinating for its history and impressive stalactites. Don’t skip the Cheddar Man exhibit, either. It’s a glimpse into the life of Britain’s oldest complete human skeleton.

For the adventurous, there are cliff-top walks offering stunning views of the Somerset countryside. If you’re a fan of stargazing, a visit here is one of the best things to do at night in Somerset. The night sky here is a canvas of stars, thanks to the minimal light pollution.

For a complete Cheddar experience, consider the guided tours available in the caves. They offer insights into the geological and historical significance of this site. If you’re visiting with family, the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company is a fun stop – watch cheddar being made and sample some too!

Explore Cheddar Gorge, a breathtaking natural wonder with towering cliffs and captivating caves.
Explore Cheddar Gorge, a breathtaking natural wonder with towering cliffs and captivating caves.

4. Discover the Town of Frome

Frome, a charming town in Somerset, is a delightful discovery. I found myself enchanted by its cobbled streets and independent shops. It’s a town that perfectly blends the old with the new.

One of the highlights is the independent market, held on the first Sunday of the month from March to December, between 10 am and 3 pm. This market is a vibrant hub of local crafts, foods, and arts. It’s the perfect place to find unique gifts and savor local flavors.

The town’s architecture is a mix of medieval and modern, offering a picturesque backdrop for a stroll. For those looking for places to go in Somerset, Frome’s market days are especially lively, filled with the buzz of local activity and community spirit.

In addition to the market, Frome’s art scene is thriving. The town hosts various galleries and creative events throughout the year. Believe me, it’s a haven for art lovers. Frome combines the charm of a small town with the vibrancy of a creative community, which makes it a must-visit destination in Somerset.

Frome's vibrant art scene makes it a must-visit, blending small-town charm with creative energy.
Frome’s vibrant art scene makes it a must-visit, blending small-town charm with creative energy.

5. Relax in the Thermae Bath Spa

Just a stone’s throw away from the historic Roman Baths, the Thermae Bath Spa is a modern twist on Bath’s ancient bathing tradition. It’s a perfect spot to unwind after exploring the city.

The spa’s centerpiece is the rooftop pool, offering panoramic views of Bath’s skyline. Soaking in the warm, mineral-rich waters while gazing out over the city is an experience I highly recommend. It’s especially enchanting at dusk when the city lights begin to twinkle.

Inside, the spa offers a range of treatments and thermal baths. The Minerva Bath, with its gentle currents and whirlpools, is a personal favorite. For a unique experience, try the steam rooms, each infused with different aromatic essences.

Visiting the Thermae Bath Spa is a must for anyone looking for relaxing things to do in Somerset. Remember to book in advance, as this popular spot can get busy, especially on weekends.

Thermae Bath Spa, a modern twist on ancient bathing tradition near the Roman Baths.
Thermae Bath Spa, a modern twist on ancient bathing tradition near the Roman Baths.

6. Hike the Mendip Hills

The Mendip Hills are a hiker’s paradise in Somerset. This Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty offers trails that cater to all levels, from easy walks to challenging hikes. I found the views from the hilltops simply breathtaking, with vistas stretching across the Somerset countryside.

One of the highlights is the Cheddar Gorge walk. Starting from the gorge, the trail winds up through unique limestone landscapes, offering spectacular views. Keep an eye out for the diverse wildlife, including rare species of birds and butterflies.

If you’re interested in fun places to visit in Somerset, head to the Mendip Hills. The hills are dotted with quaint villages, perfect for a post-hike meal or a relaxing drink.

If you’re an avid hiker or just enjoy a casual stroll, the Mendip Hills offer a refreshing escape into nature. The trails are well-marked, and there are plenty of spots for picnics. It’s one of the best things to do in Somerset for families, couples, or solo adventurers.

Explore the Mendip Hills, a hiker's paradise, offering trails and breathtaking views of the countryside.
Explore the Mendip Hills, a hiker’s paradise, offering trails and breathtaking views of the countryside.

7. Visit the Haynes International Motor Museum

Located near the charming town of Yeovil in Somerset, the Haynes International Motor Museum is a must-visit for car enthusiasts. It’s a journey through the history of motoring, showcasing over 400 cars and motorcycles.

One of the highlights is the Haynes Breakfast Club, held on the first Sunday of each month. It’s a unique event where car lovers gather to showcase their vehicles and share their passion. Admission is by pre-booked tickets only, costing £5 per vehicle or up to 4 people on foot if booked in advance, and £7 the day before the event.

The museum itself boasts an impressive collection of over 400 cars and motorcycles. From vintage classics to modern supercars, the exhibits are beautifully presented and informative. I particularly enjoyed the interactive displays, which are great for visitors of all ages.

One of the best Somerset attractions, the Haynes Motor Museum offers a fascinating day out. It offers more than just car viewing – it’s an immersive experience into automotive history. With a café and gift shop on site, it’s a perfect outing for families and solo travelers.

Haynes International Motor Museum boasts over 400 cars and motorcycles for enthusiasts to explore.
Haynes International Motor Museum boasts over 400 cars and motorcycles for enthusiasts to explore.

8. Take a Boat Trip on the River Avon

A boat trip on the River Avon is a delightful way to see Somerset from a different perspective. I personally recommend Pulteney Cruisers for this experience. Their boats, seating up to 70 people, offer both a sundeck and a heated cabin. Plus, there’s a café on board for refreshments as you cruise.

The journey starts from Pulteney Weir, taking you on a scenic hour-long cruise to the village of Bathampton. Gliding under the historic Pulteney Bridge, you enter the serene Avon valley. The river is alive with wildlife – swans, herons, kingfishers, and if you’re lucky, otters!

What I love about this cruise is not just the views but also the insights. On the return journey, the crew provides live commentary, sharing fascinating details about the river’s history, architecture, and points of interest. It’s both educational and relaxing.

This boat trip is one of the best Somerset things to do for a reason. It’s perfect for all ages, offering a blend of natural beauty, wildlife, and local history. Whether you’re on the sundeck snapping photos or cozy in the cabin sipping a hot drink, it’s an experience that captures the essence of Somerset’s charm.

Experience the River Avon with Pulteney Cruisers, offering spacious boats and onboard refreshments.
Experience the River Avon with Pulteney Cruisers, offering spacious boats and onboard refreshments.

9. Attend the Glastonbury Festival

The Glastonbury Festival is an iconic event in Somerset, known worldwide for its incredible music and vibrant atmosphere. Set against the picturesque backdrop of the Somerset countryside, this festival is a melting pot of music genres, art installations, and performances.

Glastonbury brings together a diverse mix of music genres, art installations, and performances. From world-famous headliners to emerging artists, there’s something for every music lover. Previous headliners have included legends like David Bowie, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift, and Beyonce.

I recommend planning your visit well in advance, as tickets sell out fast. The festival offers a variety of camping options, so you can fully immerse yourself in the Glastonbury experience. Remember to pack for all weather conditions – this is England, after all!

Without a doubt, attending Glastonbury is one of the most fun things to do in Somerset for a truly unforgettable experience. If you’re dancing in front of the main stage or exploring the myriad of smaller venues, Glastonbury promises moments of joy and discovery.

The Glastonbury Festival is renowned worldwide for its music and vibrant atmosphere amidst picturesque countryside.
The Glastonbury Festival is renowned worldwide for its music and vibrant atmosphere amidst picturesque countryside.

10. Hot Air Balloon Ride over Somerset

I recently had the thrill of soaring over Somerset with Fly Away Ballooning, and it’s an experience I can’t recommend enough. Imagine floating up in the sky, with stunning 360-degree views of the countryside – it’s like being in a different world!

Fly Away Ballooning offers both private and shared flights, perfect for any occasion. Whether it’s a romantic getaway or a fun outing with friends, they’ve got you covered. The feeling of serenity as you drift over the rolling hills and historic towns of Somerset is unmatched.

Their commitment to safety and the sheer joy of the experience make Fly Away Ballooning a top pick for unique things to do in Somerset. It’s not every day you get to see the world from such a majestic vantage point. Believe me, the views, the tranquility, and the overall experience are things you’ll talk about for years!

Soar over Somerset with Fly Away Ballooning for breathtaking 360-degree views of the countryside.
Soar over Somerset with Fly Away Ballooning for breathtaking 360-degree views of the countryside.

11. Take a Cider Farm Tour

For one of the most unique things to do in Somerset, I highly recommend the Thatchers Cider Tour at Myrtle Farm. It’s a fascinating journey into the world of cider making, a craft deeply rooted in Somerset’s heritage.

Thatchers has been crafting cider here for over 115 years, and their tour is both informative and enjoyable. You’ll explore the mill, see the cider-making process from start to finish, and learn about the Thatcher family’s rich history in the craft. The tour, lasting about 2 hours, is a deep dive into over a century of cider-making expertise.

What makes this tour special is the chance to sample a variety of Thatchers’ ciders at the end. From well-known brands to limited edition ranges, the tasting experience is a highlight. The tour costs £15.00 per person and is available for individuals or groups.

Visiting Myrtle Farm for the Thatchers Cider Tour is more than just a tasting experience. It’s a glimpse into the heart of Somerset’s cider-making tradition. It’s a perfect way to spend a couple of hours immersed in the local culture and flavors. Check it out!

Explore the Thatchers Cider Tour at Myrtle Farm for a unique insight into Somerset's cider-making heritage.
Explore the Thatchers Cider Tour at Myrtle Farm for a unique insight into Somerset’s cider-making heritage.

12. Stargazing in Exmoor Dark Sky Reserve

When thinking about what to do in Somerset, stargazing in the Exmoor Dark Sky Reserve should be high on your list. This reserve, the first in Europe, offers some of the UK’s darkest skies. They’re perfect for astronomical viewing.

The clarity of the night sky here is astounding. On a clear night, you can see the Milky Way, thousands of stars, and other celestial sights with the naked eye. It’s a breathtaking experience that connects you with the vastness of the universe.

The Exmoor Dark Skies Festival, held from October 13th to 29th, is a fantastic time to visit. One of the best things to do in Somerset with kids, the festival features events for both families and adults across Exmoor. This makes it a great opportunity to learn more about astronomy and enjoy the night sky in a festive atmosphere.

Some top spots for family stargazing include County Gate and Wimbleball Lake. For a more enhanced experience, telescopes can be hired year-round from National Park Centres at Dunster and Dulverton.

Experience stargazing in Europe's first Exmoor Dark Sky Reserve, offering some of the UK's best astronomical viewing.
Experience stargazing in Europe’s first Exmoor Dark Sky Reserve, offering some of the UK’s best astronomical viewing. | Image Source: https://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Best Things to Do in Somerset:

Are you still curious about where to go in Somerset? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to Somerset.

What is the most beautiful part of Somerset?

In my travels through Somerset, the most beautiful part is subjective, but for me, it’s the Exmoor National Park. The diverse landscapes here, from rugged coastlines to rolling hills and deep wooded valleys, are simply breathtaking. Each visit reveals a new aspect of its beauty, whether it’s the wild ponies grazing on the moors or the stunning views from places like Dunkery Beacon, making it an unforgettable stay in England.

What is Somerset best known for?

Somerset is famous for a few key things. First, its cider – the county has a rich tradition of cider making, with numerous orchards and cider farms. Then, there’s the iconic Glastonbury Festival, one of the world’s most famous music and arts festivals. Somerset is also known for its historical sites, like the Roman Baths in Bath and the medieval village of Dunster, offering picturesque backdrops for Instagram-worthy photos.

Dunster Castle, Minehead, UK: Historic castle atop lush hill.
Dunster Castle, Minehead, UK: Historic castle atop lush hill.

What is the main city in Somerset?

The biggest city in Somerset is Bath, a true gem in the UK. Known for its Roman-built baths, Bath is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s a stunning city with Georgian architecture, the famous Royal Crescent, and a rich history that dates back to Roman times. Bath is not just a historical gem – it’s also a vibrant city with a lively cultural scene.

Somerset’s popularity stems from its diverse attractions. It offers something for everyone. History buffs can explore ancient sites, nature lovers can enjoy the beauty of Exmoor and the Mendip Hills, and culture enthusiasts can immerse themselves in festivals and local arts. The blend of natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture makes Somerset a unique and appealing destination.

The top things to do in Somerset, England for all types of travelers
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