Burnham-on-Sea holds what we think is one of the seaside’s most bizarre titles. The pier here is said to be the smallest in the world, cutely hosting amusements and home to some of the best fish and chips in Somerset. A classic seaside resort that was originally designed to rival Weston-super-Mare, its small-scale offering can only charm those that head here.
The promenade is lined with Victorian and Edwardian homes that host Somerset staycation enthusiasts. Lively in the summer, homely in the winter, the town is a great escape away from the hustle and bustle of busier places. There are great opportunities to try something new, with jet skiing particularly popular on this stretch of the Somerset coast.
Arguably Somerset’s most famous landmark, Cheddar Gorge stands an impressive 450 feet above sea level, affording incredible views of the wide county in what is some of Britain’s loveliest countryside. Consistently regarded as one of the greatest natural wonders in the country, caves beneath the rock host stalagmites and stalactites that have formed over thousands of years.
An underwater river helped form the gorge, part of an Area of Specific Scientific Interest and above ground within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Exposed limestone cliffs loom over the visitor centre and restaurant, giving you an immediate insight into the scale of this incredible site. If you’re an enthusiastic cyclist, the hilly area is a popular climb, with a maximum gradient of 16%.
*Please note: Cheddar Gorge will reopen when restrictions have been lifted.
Dunster Castle has stood on the same site since medieval times, strategically positioned on a hill to give it the largest possible standpoint over the town of the same name. The 13th-century gatehouses hark all the way back to its time as a fortification. It was gradually converted into a stately home between the 17th and 19th centuries and remained property of the same family right until the dawn of the millennium.
Over 21 generations of the Lutrell family lived here before it was passed to National Trust ownership. Since then, it's been open to the public. Dramatic vistas and subtropical gardens pave the way the luxurious interior of the castle itself. One of the top castles in the country, a walk around the now stately home is one of our favourite things to do in Somerset.
Like many of its fellow heritage railways, the West Somerset Steam Railway has a proud history as a commuter line. It fell victim to the infamous Beeching cuts of the 1960s, a scheme designed to improve the efficiency of British Railways. Finally closing to passengers in 1971, it reopened as a heritage line five years later. Since then, it’s gone on to be a favourite with locals and visitors from afar.
Stretching around 24 miles from Minehead to Taunton, a ride along the route feels like a journey back in time as charming carriages ferry you through some of Somerset’s lush countryside. You’ll pass the lovely Quantock Hills, the Bristol Channel coast and Dunster’s imposing castle before arriving in Minehead. A ride along one of the UK’s best leisure railways like this is always a favourite thing to do of ours.
Somerset really is the home of stalagmites and stalactites, shown by Wookey Hole Caves’ inclusion on our list of favourite things to do. Near the village of the same name, the caverns are on the southern edge of the Mendip Hills. The River Axe flows through the cave, curiously disappearing into the abyss. There is proof that these caves have been used by humans for around 45,000 years, with evidence of occupation from the Stone and Iron Age.
The temperature inside is constantly low, even allowing Cheddar Cheese, (a food with clear origins in the area) time to mature. Today, the caves remain astounding and are one of the most spellbinding places to visit in the county. The award-winning Wild Wookey experience is a favourite of ours, giving you the chance to boat and climb your way through the caves.