Things to do in Somerset for the Family
Somerset is a popular holiday destination for families. Located in the south-west of England, the county often has warmer weather than in other regions and has plenty of activities and attractions to fill a short break or a long holiday. Outdoor activities are popular – this is a beautiful region – but there are also plenty of indoor options if the weather does take a turn for the worse.
Towns and seaside resorts in Somerset
Taunton is the county town of Somerset. Dating back to Saxon times, it has an interesting historical Heritage trail that guides you on a walk through the town. Vivary Park is a nice place for a picnic lunch and a relax. Glastonbury, well known for its music festival, is a good place for a day trip (though maybe not when the Festival is on!). Take a walk up to Glastonbury Tor for some spectacular views over Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire. No trip to Somerset is complete without a trip to the seaside.
Minehead and Weston-Super-Mare offer traditional seaside fun right down to the donkey rides. If you want to try something a little quieter and old-fashioned try Burnham-on-Sea with its nine-legged wooden lighthouse and one of the shortest piers in Britain and the Victorian resort of Clevedon.
Historic sites in Somerset
Somerset is steeped in history; it is most famous for its connections with King Arthur. Castle Neroche on the edge of the Blackdown Hills is a settlement that pre-dates the Saxons. Dunster Castle, near Minehead, was originally built as a stronghold but is now a family home. It is perched on the edge of a hill by the Bristol Channel – you can look round the castle and its gardens and take in the view of the water.
Glastonbury Abbey is in ruins but is still worth a visit as they are very impressive ruins. This was once the largest and richest Abbey in Britain. Look out for actors in character as you walk around – they’ll have a chat and really make history come to life.
Museums in Somerset
If you have any car and racing fans in your family, then a visit to the Haynes International Motor Museum in Yeovil is an absolute must. The museum is home to 400 cars and bikes and is the largest exhibition of its kind in the country. The museum also has a handy play area and soft play bus. Air transport buffs will also enjoy the UK’s only helicopter museum in Weston-Super-Mare and the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Ilchester. You can see the original British built Concorde here – visitors are even allowed in the cockpit.
Somerset is also famous for its cider. You may not want your children to start drinking this just yet, but you’ll all still enjoy a visit to the Sheppy’s Cider Farm, Shop and Museum near Taunton. Adults can stock up in the Farm Shop; everyone will find the museum area interesting.
Glastonbury’s Somerset Rural Life Museum is a great place to show children how history works. It has room reconstructions and regular events. Don’t forget to make a trip to Montacute – the town has a TV, Radio and Toy Museum that is popular with adults and kids. You can reminisce about your favourite old TV shows; your children can mess with a Dalek and a performing Homer Simpson.
Animal Parks in Somerset
The Animal Farm Adventure Park is close to Burnham-on-Sea. It runs across 23 acres in some beautiful countryside. This is a very hand-on experience. You can hold a variety of small animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs and chicks and, if you’re lucky you can help feed them. There are also outdoor and undercover play areas. Court Farm Country Park near Weston-Super-Mare has farm animals and, if you are there in the summer, free tractor rides, a maize maze and pony rides.
Exmoor Owl & Hawk Centre, near Porlock, is a 15th century farm that is now home to farm animals and birds of prey. You can pet the farm animals and watch flying displays. The Exmoor Pony Centre gives you the chance to get up close to these famous horses.
Outdoor activities in Somerset
Somerset is home to the Exmoor National Park. This is an exceptionally beautiful area that stretches from the coast into the heart of the county. It is popular with walkers and nature lovers – look out for roaming Exmoor ponies and red deer. The Cheddar Gorge, in Cheddar, is the biggest gorge in Britain. You can take a walk and enjoy the scenery here or get a little more active. You can explore the gorge itself and join in caving and rock-climbing activities.
If you have the stamina, take a walk up to Dunkery Beacon – you’ll get the best views of the county from there. At 1,706 ft, this is the highest point of Exmoor National Park – it used to be a beacon warning site.