The southwest, or the West Country, as it’s often known – offers something for everyone, buzzy big cities, iconic monuments, green countryside and golden beaches.
Rolling hills meet wildflower meadows and seemingly never-ending chalk downs. Thatched cottages nestle into picturesque villages, while towns and cities are watched over by iconic architectural landmarks like Salisbury Cathedral, Bath’s Roman Baths and Glastonbury Tor.
Somerset is also full of wonderful villages and towns offering some lovely holiday cottages all within easy reach of the major cities, which offer heritage and culture combined with a cosmopolitan lifestyle.
Discover the cathedral city of Wells is an atmospheric base for exploring the limestone caves and gorges around Cheddar, while the hippie haven of Glastonbury is handy for venturing on to the wetlands of the Somerset Levels and the high hills of the Quantocks.
Here we feature four destinations in Somerset where we showcase a selection of fabulous places to stay on holiday.
Bath is one of Britain’s most appealing cities. Exquisite Roman and Georgian architecture, hipster hang-outs and swish spas make it hard to resist.
Bath’s extraordinary array of architectural treasures has earned the whole city Unesco World Heritage Site status. It’s easy to see why. Bath is home to one of the world’s best-preserved Roman bathhouses.
In the Circus and Royal Crescent, the city has some of Britain’s grandest Georgian buildings. Their construction turned Bath into the destination for 18th century society. That sophisticated spa town tradition continues at Thermae Bath Spa, a luxurious new/old building combo that offers views of the cityscape from its alfresco roof-top pool.
As befits a city that’s long been a leading light in the cultural scene, contemporary arts make a strong showing in Bath. A batch of quality festivals include those themed around theatre, classical music and literature – they’re scheduled away from the main (and very crowded) summer season and are a great focus for a visit.
Ley lines converge, white witches convene and every shop is filled with the aroma of smouldering joss sticks in good old Glastonbury, the southwest’s undisputed capital of alternative culture. Now famous for its musical mudfest of a festival, held on Michael Eavis’ farm in nearby Pilton.
Glastonbury has a much more ancient past: the town’s iconic tor was an important pagan site, and is rumoured by some to be the mythical Isle of Avalon, King Arthur’s last resting place. It’s also allegedly one of the world’s great spiritual nodes, marking the meeting point of many mystical lines of power – if you feel the need to get your chakras realigned, this is definitely the place.
Whatever the truth of the various legends swirling round Glastonbury, one thing’s for certain – watching the sunrise from the top of the tor is an experience you won’t forget in a hurry.
Wells, small is beautiful. This is England’s smallest city, and only qualifies for the title thanks to a magnificent medieval cathedral, which sits beside the grand Bishop’s Palace – the official residence of the Bishop of Bath and Wells since the 12th century.
Tucked away at the foot of the Mendhip Hills in Somerset lies the small medieval city of Wells with it’s stunning architecture, iconic Gothic cathedral and a wealth of interesting shops and galleries.
Medieval buildings and cobbled streets radiate out from the cathedral green to a marketplace that has been the bustling heart of Wells for some nine centuries. Film buffs might also recognise it from the hit British comedy Hot Fuzz – the film’s final shoot-out was filmed here.
Best known for its dramatic gorge and as the origin of cheddar cheese, the parish of Cheddar is situated in the county of Somerset and lies within the boundary if the Mendhip Hills; an Area of Outstanding Beauty. Walkers can enjoy the dramatic gorge, which is almost 400 feet deep and three miles long.
The gorge started forming one million years ago during the last Ice Age and is a sight to behold. The best place to start and explore Cheddar Gorge starts at the National Trust shop and stretches for 4 miles.
The village is set south of the Mendip Hills, making it one of Somerset’s most beautiful rural areas. Cheddar is very popular, so expect traffic during summer and school holidays. Foodies will love it here, as the village gave its name to Cheddar cheese and unsurprisingly you can pick up some delicious cheese from the aptly named The Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company.
Holidays in Somerset South West England
South West England is one of nine official regions of England. It is the largest in area, consisting of the counties of Bristol, Cornwall, Dorset, Devon, Gloucestershire, Somerset, and Wiltshire, as well as the Isles of Scilly.
If your planning a visit, our self-catering holiday homes and cottages to rent are the perfect base for Somerset holidays, from bijou holiday homes just right for couples’ to grand cottages to rent in the hills, ideal for a group getaway.
Explore our hand picked range of holiday rentals and cottages in Somerset.