If you are hankering after peace and quiet in the countryside, escape to Somerset for a laid-back break. Being just a couple hours drive from London, it’s an easily reachable holiday destination. As soon as you’ve ventured into Somerset’s countryside, the Quantock Hills and the valleys, streams and hills of Exmoor, you’ll feel as though you’ve entered a different world.
From Exmoor in the west, across to Frome in the east, Somerset’s holiday cottages enjoy views of rolling hills and greenery. If you prefer to be beside the sea Porlock, Minehead, Dunster and Watchet, are excellent choices for a seaside holiday.
Exmoor is wonderful to explore whatever the season. From the first flowers in February at Snowdrop Valley to the turning leaves of late autumn, Exmoor’s natural beauty puts on a year round display. A holiday cottage on Exmoor is a popular base for walkers exploring the trails that criss-cross Somerset’s coastline and moorland.
With 680 miles of footpath through stunning woodland, moors, valleys and hills, Exmoor is a walker’s paradise. With few roads, all that disturbs the peace is the song of the 243 native species of wild bird here. The South West Coast Path cuts across Exmoor, giving walkers the best of both worlds – amazing coastal views on one side and rolling moorland on the other. The Quantock Greenway and the Mendip Way are two excellent traffic-free walking routes; the terrain for both tends towards the hilly, with some challenging climbs for serious walkers.
Once you’ve walked to your heart’s content, there are Somerset’s towns and villages to explore. Taunton, Yeovil and Wells all have distinct characters that reward exploration and offer shopping, galleries, theatres and cafes. The medieval town of Dunster draws those looking to soak up some Somerset culture and history. High on a hill overlooking Exmoor, Dunster Castle has real romance with its turrets and towers and over 1,000 years of history to discover.
There are plenty of things to do in Somerset with the family too. Visit Wookey Hole to meet the infamous Wookey Witch. Leave plenty of time to explore Cheddar Gorge where you can meet the Cheddar Man, Britain’s oldest complete skeleton, learn the ancient skills of flint-knapping and fire-lighting from hunter-gatherers at the Museum of Prehistory and see cannibal remains and jaw-dropping stalactite and stalagmite formations. There are beginner sessions in caving, climbing and abseiling, as well as nature walks and open-top bus tours of Britain’s biggest gorge to keep the whole family entertained.
A self-catering holiday in Somerset is the perfect opportunity to sample the county’s famous Cheddar cheeses, apples and cider. Stock up on fresh supplies at one of Somerset’s many farm shops, or take advantage of being in the countryside to snag yourself a trout or pick your own strawberries or raspberries at a pick-your-own farm.
From perfect little Exmoor villages like Withypool to seaside getaways like Watchet and bustling towns such as Frome, Somerset has a delightfully diverse array of places to stay on your Somerset holiday.