Somerset Day was launched in 2015. The date for Somerset Day was determined by a public vote in which over 7,000 people took part. Three dates were in the running; 19 May (in honour of St. Dunstan), 6 July (to commemorate the Battle of Sedgemoor) and 11 May (in honour of King Alfred the Great who gathered the people of Somerset to march against the invading Viking army). The latter ran out a clear winner polling over half of all votes cast. King Alfred certainly had a strong case. He was a dominant ruler and the only English monarch to have been accorded ‘the Great’ in his title. Pretty good going.
The idea behind Somerset Day is to celebrate all that is great about our wonderful county. For the uninitiated, there is far more to Somerset than the Glastonbury Festival, cider and The Wurzels, (although all of these things are certainly worth sampling at least once…)
Sitting in an hotel that faces the magnificent West Front of Wells Cathedral obviously makes us biased towards the beautiful city of Wells, but the county of Somerset really does offer something for everyone. Hopefully the images below will inspire you to visit Somerset (or return once again). Don’t leave it until Somerset Day to arrive and please allow plenty of time to sample some of these delights.
We’ve got to start with some images from our favourite part of Somerset, Wells. This beautiful cathedral city is in the running to be UK City of Culture in 2021!
Some of Somerset’s delights
Wells Cathedral is the seat of the Bishop of Bath and Wells. Work began on the cathedral in around 1175. The Wells clock in the cathedral is considered to be the second oldest clock mechanism in Britain and the clock face is the oldest surviving original of its kind in the world. The West Front of Wells Cathedral is stunning.
The wells or springs in the garden at the Bishop’s Palace are the reason people originally settled in the area. It’s also why this beautiful city is called Wells.
Take a stroll down Vicars’ Close in Wells. It’s considered to be the oldest, continuously inhabited, residential street in Europe!
We’re heading a couple of miles outside Wells to Glastonbury. Mention Glastonbury and most people think of the music festival (despite the fact that this takes place a few miles away from the town). The Tor sits on National Trust land, but it’s free to visit. The views can be wonderful. The Rural Life Museum lies close by. After a major refurbishment, the museum is scheduled to re-open in Easter 2017.
A visit to Glastonbury wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Abbey. The guided tours are very informative and great fun.
Head a couple of miles from Wells in the other direction and you’ll find the Royal Bath and West Showground on the outskirts of Shepton Mallet. This is the venue for the largest agricultural show in England and the only 4 day Royal Show. The venue also plays host to numerous antique fairs, classic car get-togethers and flea markets.
The gorgeous gorge at Cheddar offers stunning scenery, abseiling and caving. The road that cuts through Cheddar Gorge usually crops up in top 20 lists of stunning British roads. It’s about 10 miles from us and you can still see cheese being made at the Cheddar Gorge Cheese company.
Wookey Hole lies on the outskirts of Wells and makes for a great family day out. You can stroll through the caves without owning any specialist equipment.
Like shopping (or know someone who does)? Close to Wells are Clarks Shopping Village and Kilver Court’s designer shopping outlet. Mulberry make their designer wares in Somerset and you’ll find the Mulberry factory shop just down the road in Shepton Mallet.
We had to mention cider. Alongside some very well known brands, you can also discover some cracking farms which are producing amazing cider.
There are lots of fantastic National Trust properties and gardens to enjoy in Somerset.
Somerset Day – Planes, trains and automobiles
The vibrant city of Bristol is home to a plethora of bars, restaurants and shops. In the summer of 2017, Aerospace Bristol will be opening. Among the exhibits in this new, £19 million museum will be Concorde 216!
Zip down to Yeovil and visit Haynes Motor Museum.
Like a bit of art? Time your visit right and you could visit lots of local studios that throw open their doors during Somerset Art Weeks. The Hauser and Wirth art gallery is not far away from us in Bruton.
We’ve mentioned Bristol, so it’s only fair to mention another very well know city in Somerset, Bath. Home to Roman Baths, Georgian crescents and an enormous amount of shops!
Wildlife abounds in our beautiful county. See it up close in one of the RSPB nature reserves that lie nearby. The starling murmurations are incredible (these usually take place in March and September).
Ahhh, the rolling green fields of Somerset… The Mendip Hills are on our doorstep and designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There are plenty of well-marked trails and footpaths or you could hire your own guide.
Keep driving and you’ll arrive at the coast. Somerset has some beautiful, rugged coastlines. Young kids love riding the donkeys on the beach at Weston-super-Mare.
We hope to be able to welcome you to Somerset soon. Enjoy Somerset Day wherever you are.