Somerset tourism first took off with the advent of the railways and the birth of the seaside resort. Weston-Super-Mare and Minehead became particularly popular holiday destinations and many of the hotels and guesthouses today date back to the Victorian and Edwardian eras.
The tourism appeal of Bath dates back even further to the Georgian Era. It was the place to see and be seen in the second half of the 17th Century among society’s gentry. Jane Austin is one of Bath’s most famous residents at this time. The City has world heritage status due to its splendid Georgian architecture. Bath’s origins date back to Roman times, the famous Roman Baths and Pump Room are a must-see visitor attraction.
Somerset has a wealth of history and tradition and some of the most glorious countryside in Britain. Somerset tourism has suffered from being less well known and marketed than its neighbors Dorset and Devon and yet this county has so much to offer the visitor.
History lovers will marvel at the splendid Georgian architecture of Bath and enjoy visiting the many museums in the City. The City of Wells is also full of historic buildings including the magnificent Wells Cathedral that makes this the smallest City in Britain. There is also the historic Bishops Palace and Gardens. Elsewhere in Somerset, there are many places of historical interest such as Glastonbury Abbey and a number of National Trust properties including Dunster Castle, Montacute House, and Lytes Cary Manor to name just s few. There are also the beautiful gardens of Hestercombe and East Lambrook Manor.
Country lovers will enjoy the beauty of the scenery and will be amazed by the variety of the county’s geography. There are many quaint villages with thatched ham stone cottages down winding country lanes. You will find plenty of traditional pubs serving appetizing meals often made from locally grown produce. Try some of the local “scrumpy” – traditional Somerset cider. Or you may prefer a cream tea with scones, jam, and clotted cream at one of the local tearooms.
Somerset is the ideal holiday destination for walkers, cyclists, and horse riders. All these activities are a great way of really appreciating the beautiful scenery and nature. Exmoor National Park is definitely not one to be missed with its dramatic views and diverse wildlife.
Bird watchers will not be disappointed by a visit to the Somerset Levels. Amongst many other species the Levels are known for the millions of starlings that roost here in the summer months, they can appear together in a great dark cloud and are a dramatic sight not to be missed.
Train enthusiasts will not want to miss the West Somerset Steam Railway which runs from Minehead to Bishops Lydeard just outside Taunton. The train station at Minehead also has on sale a huge array of railway memorabilia.
There is also plenty for children to enjoy from the glorious sandy beaches at Brean to Wookey Hole Caves near Wells. There are numerous wildlife and adventure parks and a number of fascinating museums. Whatever the weather you will always find something to keep the children amused in Somerset.
One of the aims of this Guide is to promote Somerset Tourism. Once you visit this fascinating “county of contrasts” we are sure you will want to come back again and again…