Somerset is a county in South West England boasting a multitude of iconic landscapes, from rolling hills to sandy beaches, as well as historic sites, art galleries and bustling towns.
Located alongside Gloucestershire and Bristol, Somerset’s boundaries are marked by the stunning Severn Estuary and Bristol Channel.
From the diverse flora found along its coastline stretching from Minehead to Burnham-on-Sea, to the iconic Glastonbury Tor standing proud above the Somerset Levels, this rural county has something for everyone.
Alongside its nature reserves and National Parks like Exmoor and The Quantocks, Somerset also hosts many cultural hotspots including Cheddar Gorge.
Great for a family holiday, there’s so many fantastic things to see and do in Somerset, read on to find out my favourites!
Things To Do In Somerset
1. The Roman Baths
The Roman Baths are located in the centre of Bath and are one of the most remarkable historical sites in Britain.
The site has been in continuous use since its construction by the Romans between 60-70AD, and is still one of the most popular places to visit today.
These baths are not only a great example of how advanced Roman engineering was at the time but they also offer a glimpse into what life was like during their rule.
With a fascinating history, the Baths consist of four main features: the Sacred Spring, the Roman Temple, the Roman Bath House and a museum housing artefacts from Aquae Sulis.
Visitors can take tours around the baths and observe its fascinating architecture up close.
Unfortunately for safety reasons, people are not allowed to enter any water within the complex itself.
The natural hot spring which lies beneath provides some of Britain’s hottest water and is sourced from rainfall on the Mendip Hills.
There is also an adjoining Grand Pump Room where visitors can enjoy afternoon tea or traditional English meals while admiring beautiful views out over Somerset’s countryside.
Address: Abbey Churchyard, Bath BA1 1LZ
2. Brean Leisure Park
Brean Leisure Park is the ideal destination for a fun-filled family day out when you visit in Somerset.
Located in the town of Brean, near Burnham-on-Sea, and spanning more than 20 acres, the Park offers over 40 rides and attractions, providing something to suit everyone’s tastes.
Whether you’re seeking thrills and spills on one of the exhilarating roller coasters, looking to take on the fierce waters on the river boat ride, or opting for a more laid back experience with mini coasters – you’ll be sure to find your perfect adventure.
There is also Brean Play which is one of the regions largest indoor play centres, with soft play areas for babies, toddlers and children up to the age of 11.
If it’s food you’re after they have plenty of stalls available throughout the theme park offering a range of snacks and treats to keep your energy levels up throughout the day.
Great to keep the kids entertained, the park is open from the end of March to October so there is plenty of time to visit.
Address: Richard’s Wy, Brean, Burnham-on-Sea TA8
3. Glastonbury Abbey
Located in the centre of Glastonbury town, Glastonbury Abbey is a majestic site with an illustrious history in the English county of Somerset.
Founded in the 8th century, it was destroyed by a fire in 1184, but was then rebuilt, becoming one of the most important and influential monasteries of its time.
Throughout its long history, it enjoyed great wealth and popularity due to its extensive landholdings as well as its involvement with drainage projects on the Somerset Levels.
Today, Glastonbury Abbey is open as a visitor attraction and is renowned for its stunning ruins – many parts still standing since they were originally built centuries ago.
The 36 acres of grounds, accredited museum and ancient ruins are open daily throughout the year for visitors.
Address: Magdalene St, Glastonbury BA6 9EL
4. Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm
Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm is a unique and exciting animal experience for the whole family.
Located in the North Somerset countryside, this zoo and farm offers visitors an immersive and interactive encounter with a range of animals.
From African Elephants to Giraffes, Lions, and White Rhinos, there are plenty of majestic creatures to observe up close.
The zoo provides daily keeper talks, where you can learn more about the various species that call this place home.
For something truly special, don’t miss the birds of prey flying display – a mesmerising show that will leave you in awe of these magnificent winged creatures.
If you’re travelling with children in the school holidays, there are several outdoor play areas to keep them entertained and a large farm animals area.
Plus, they can test their skills in the Great British Wildlife Maze, which provides an educational way for kids (and adults!) to have some fun.
Address: Clevedon Rd, Wraxall, Clevedon BS48 1PG
5. Somerset Rural Life Museum
Somerset Rural Life Museum is an interactive, educational experience, located in a 14th-century Abbey Barn.
This unique museum offers visitors an insight into the rich rural and social history of Somerset.
The museum contains Farmhouse Galleries that explore various themes related to rural life, from Somerset food production and industry to trades and leisure.
Each gallery displays artefacts, photographs and memorabilia that demonstrate the development of the county’s traditional agricultural practices since the Middle Ages.
In addition to the permanent exhibition, numerous events are held at the museum throughout the year such as traditional craft workshops as well as art classes for all ages.
The museum grounds also feature a variety of outdoor spaces containing sculptures and family trails which interpret the history of the site and its buildings.
These informative trails provide a great way to get up close to nature while learning more about Somerset’s heritage.
Address: Somerset Rural Life Museum, Abbey Farm, Chilkwell St, Glastonbury BA6 8DB
6. Barrington Court
Barrington Court is an iconic and distinctive Tudor manor house located in the stunning south Somerset countryside.
The manor has a great deal of history and has been owned by several families since 1745.
In the 1920s, Colonel Lyle and his wife ‘Ronnie’ accepted a ninety-nine year repairing lease from the National Trust to restore the building to its former glory.
During this period, they remodelled the stable block into a residence and constructed various outbuildings such as gateways and gardens.
The result of their hard work is a magnificent building with a rich history that stands out among the beautiful surrounding countryside of Somerset.
Nowadays, visitors can explore the stunning rooms which contain some spectacular collections of decorative arts including furniture, tapestries, paintings and textiles from the 16th to 20th centuries.
Many people visit Barrington Court to explore the beautiful gardens with expansive views over lawns and water features.
Address: Ilminster TA19 0NQ
7. Fleet Air Arm Museum
The Fleet Air Arm Museum, located in Yeovilton, Somerset is Europe’s largest naval aviation museum.
With four exhibition halls it houses a remarkable collection of over ninety aircraft including early bi planes, iconic jets and legendary supersonic aircraft.
There are more than two million records and thirty thousand artefacts, which tell the stories of the brave aviators who served in the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm.
Visitors can step inside the first British Concorde to witness its magnificence up close.
Then experience the thrills of a working flight deck as well as witness a dramatic air-sea rescue on the Aircraft Carrier Experience – an award-winning simulation that has been designed to replicate real life conditions on board a warship aircraft carrier.
In addition to its interactive displays, the museum features exhibits that allow visitors to explore several centuries of naval aviation and maritime history.
Open Wednesday to Sunday, this exciting museum is great for anyone interested in Royal Navy history and aircraft.
Address: Fleet Air Arm Museum, RNAS Yeovilton, Ilchester BA22 8HT
8. The Jane Austen Centre
The Jane Austen Centre is located in a classically decorated Georgian townhouse in the centre of Bath.
It offers an immersive experience where you can explore the world of 18th century England in which Jane Austen wrote her beloved novels.
The Centre provides visitors with an intimate insider’s look into the writer’s life and work.
Upon arrival, you will be greeted by a friendly member of staff who will give you a warm welcome and provide an enjoyable introduction to the fascinating exhibition.
Exploring the centre allows visitors to get acquainted with the various aspects of Regency society that inspired Austen’s iconic works, such as fashion, food, and social events.
You can dress up in costumes from this period, take photos with friends, and even come face-to-face with a lifelike waxwork depicting what Jane Austen would have looked like!
The city of Bath was also intimately linked to the author’s life and highly influenced her writing with many famous scenes from Northanger Abbey and Persuasion set here.
The Centre not only celebrates her talent but also encourages people to learn more about the historical context in which she lived and worked.
Address: The Jane Austen Centre, 40 Gay St, Bath BA1 2NT
9. The Museum of Somerset
The Museum of Somerset is located in the historic Taunton castle, and tells the story of the county’s history from its prehistoric times to the present day.
It is a place that brings alive the stories and traditions which make up Somerset’s rich cultural heritage.
The museum features nine captivating galleries, each with its own distinctive character and exhibits, taking visitors on an insightful journey through time.
The Museum is also home to Somerset Military Museum which boasts a wide range of artefacts showcasing military history from World War I to modern times.
Good for all the family, there are plenty of interactive exhibits which will appeal to all ages.
Address: The Museum of Somerset, Taunton Castle, Castle Green, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 4AA
10. West Somerset Railway
The West Somerset Railway is a stunning heritage railway line located in Somerset.
It first opened in 1862 as a branchline of the Bristol and Exeter Railway, which stretched from Minehead to Bishops Lydeard.
In 1874, it was extended by around 5 miles to its full length at 22 miles.
The longest standard gauge independent heritage railway line in the UK, it offers stunning scenery and a unique transport experience.
Throughout its history, the line has carried passengers and freight between Minehead and Bishops Lydeard.
Today, visitors can enjoy over 22 miles of outstanding natural beauty on board historic steam engines or diesel multiple units.
The journey between Minehead and Bishops Lydeard takes over an hour depending on the type of train – stopping at 10 stations, allowing plenty of time to admire the views across Exmoor National Park and Delabole Quarry.
Address: West Somerset Railway, Minehead TA24 5BG
11. Cheddar Gorge and Caves
Rising from the heart of the Mendip Hills, Cheddar Gorge and Caves are one of the most spectacular natural attractions in Britain.
The majestic limestone cliffs, towering 400 feet above sea level, provide stunning panoramic views, while the myriad of caves offer a fascinating insight into early man’s prehistoric past.
Visitors can explore Gough’s Cave to admire its impressive rock formations and discover more with its new lighting system.
At Cox’s Cave you can take part in the Dream hunters audio-visual experience and journey through time to uncover the secrets of early man’s Ice Age survival techniques.
There’s also a museum of early man which has the things discovered in the caves.
For those who are feeling energetic, there is Jacob’s Ladder – an exhilarating 274 step climb from the bottom of Cheddar Gorge to the top.
From here, you can embark on a 3 mile circular Cliff-Top Walk offering incredible views across the Mendip Hills from its highest point – Lookout Point.
Address: Cheddar Gorge & Caves, Somerset, BS27 3QF
12. Haynes Motor Museum
Haynes International Motor Museum is a world-renowned auto museum that was established in 1985 by John Harold Haynes, it has grown to become one of the largest auto museums in the UK.
Boasting an impressive collection of over 400 cars and motorcycles, the museum is split into fifteen exhibitions which explore many aspects of motoring history.
The Dawn of Motoring exhibition offers visitors a chance to explore the beginnings of motoring and its impact on society, while the Vintage exhibition looks at vehicles that have been produced before 1945.
Wheels around the World examines how vehicles vary across cultures, while Minis and Micros displays numerous small vehicles that have been produced over time.
Great British Marques celebrates some of Britain’s most famous car brands, such as Bentley, Rolls Royce and Jaguar.
Other exhibitions look at Custom and Bespoke vehicles, American Dream cars, Motorcycle Mezzanine bikes, Formula One racers, Memory Lane classics and Luxury Cars from all around the world.
Finally Ferrari: The Man Machine Myth looks at this supercar brand’s incredible achievements throughout history.
This fascinating museum is great day out for a rainy day or any day for car enthusiasts.
Address: Haynes International Motor Museum, Sparkford, Yeovil BA22 7LH
13. Castle Cary
Castle Cary is located in Somerset, three miles south-west of the county town of Bruton.
The area is known as one of the most attractive Somerset market towns with historic buildings, high-quality shops, delicatessens, cafes, inns and restaurants.
There is also a small museum, Castle Cary Museum, located within the Market House, which has a large collection of agricultural, archaeological and historical information and artefacts.
Address: Castle Cary, South Somerset
14. Weston-Super-Mare Beach
Weston-super-Mare Beach is a well liked destination for a family day out on the Bristol Channel coast of the southwest of England.
This popular seaside resort town is a captivating seascape that lies at the gateway to the Southwest, and its spectacular beach offers an unforgettable experience for visitors.
The beach itself has a wide range of activities to enjoy, with Uphill Sands offering those wishing to brave outdoor water sports and kite surfing, an opportunity to do so in a safe environment.
Known for its unique tidal range, visitors are invited to take advantage of low tide when exploring rock pools or discovering marine life amongst seaweed and kelp.
High tide brings more traditional water sports such as sailing, paddle boarding and surfing.
Meanwhile, visitors can also make the most of their time by taking part in leisurely walks along the shoreline or enjoying some delicious local seafood freshly caught.
Address: Weston-super-Mare Beach, North Somerset
Is Somerset good for family days out?
Somerset has a host of great day trips including beaches, fantastic countryside, market towns, award winning gardens, theme parks, zoos and great museums.
Does the south west coast path pass through Somerset?
The south west coast path starts in Minehead in Somerset and then runs along the coastline of Exmoor, it then continues along the coast of North Devon into Cornwall.
Can you buy authentic Cheddar Cheese in Cheddar?
These days Cheddar Cheese is only made by one producer in the small village of Cheddar, which keeps a tradition that is hundreds of years old alive.