SOMERSET TRAVEL GUIDE
In Somerset, nature and history effortlessly fuse together.
I lived in Bristol for six years (walking distance to North Somerset) and Bath for one, which enabled me to spend plenty of time exploring this wonderful county.
Nowadays, I live in nearby Devon, so I’m well-positioned to explore Southern Somerset.
Somerset boasts epic landscapes, from the rolling Mendip and Quantock Hills to the stark beauty of Exmoor’s moorland and coastline.
Walk through hills echoing with the call of wildlife and get lost amongst the hills.
Each town and city tells a unique story.
Glastonbury resonates with spiritual significance, while Wells’ historical charm is amplified by its majestic cathedral.
Then there’s Bath, a city of Georgian elegance where Roman history springs to life in its iconic baths.
Let’s take a look at my top places in Somerset, along with plenty of travel tips!
Where is Somerset?
Somerset shares its borders with Gloucestershire to the north, Wiltshire to the east, Dorset to the south, and Devon to the west. The Bristol Channel and the River Severn form the county’s northern coastline.
This geographic location means Somerset has a diverse range of landscapes, from the fertile orchards in the lowlands to the rugged terrains of the hills and moors.
How to get to Somerset
Getting to Somerset is relatively hassle-free, thanks to its strategic location and well-connected transport links.
If you’re driving, the M5 motorway extends from Birmingham through Bristol and into Somerset.
Once you’re in the county, a-roads like the A303, A37, and A39 lead you to specific destinations.
The A303 is your best bet if you’re driving from London.
Rail services in Somerset are fairly comprehensive, connecting towns like Bath, Taunton, and Weston-super-Mare with larger cities, such as London, Bristol, and Exeter.
The train journey from London to Taunton can take less than two hours.
On a budget? Book tickets in advance and invest in a railcard.
For an even cheaper option, National Express and Megabus offer services to several towns in Somerset, including Bath and Taunton, from various UK cities like London and Bristol.
Buses aren’t as comfortable as trains but, they are often the more economical option, typically taking around three to four hours from London to Taunton.
Bristol Airport, located just north of Somerset, offers a variety of UK and international flights.
Where to stay in Somerset
Selecting the ideal place to stay in Somerset depends on your interests and what you want to get out of your trip.
Here’s a helpful guide to towns and areas in Somerset suited for various activities and tastes:
- Best for outdoor activities: Quantock Hills
- Best for history: Bath
- Most picturesque market town: Frome
- Most family-friendly: Weston-super-Mare
- Best for hiking: Exmoor National Park
- Most romantic: Glastonbury
- Best hidden gem: Wells
- Best for shopping and dining: Bristol (not technically in Somerset, but close!)
Each area has its own unique attractions and experiences, so you can pick based on what you’re looking to explore or accomplish during your stay.
Best hotels in Somerset
- Gainsborough Bath Spa Hotel, Bath
- Bannatyne’s Charlton House Spa Hotel, Shepton Mallet
- The Ancient Gatehouse, Wells
- The Swan Inn, Winscombe
- Ships Mews Self Catering, Porlock
- YHA Cheddar
Best cities, towns, and villages in Somerset
From charming villages to bustling cities, Somerset’s brimming with noteworthy destinations.
During my time living in Bath and Bristol, and my frequent visits to South Somerset, I’ve explored the best that this county has to offer.
Below are my top picks for cities, towns, and villages in Somerset.
|Bath||Bristol (not in Somerset, but very close!)||Frome|
Feel free to click on each destination to learn more in my detailed guides. Whether you’re drawn to history, outdoor activities, or coastal retreats, Somerset has a location that will fit the bill.
Best things to do in Somerset
Whatever your inclinations, Somerset boasts a diverse range of activities and attractions. Take a look at my full list of the top things to do in Somerset, or check out the list below:
- Tour the Roman Baths in Bath
- Explore Glastonbury Tor and Abbey
- Visit Wells Cathedral
- Discover the Cheddar Gorge and Caves
- Hike the Mendip and Quantock Hills
- Stroll around the historic harbour in Watchet
- Hike the South West Coast Path
- Enjoy Exmoor National Park
- Experience the annual Glastonbury Festival
- Meander through the streets of Frome
- Climb up to Alfred’s Tower for panoramic views
- Enjoy the arts scene in Bruton
- Discover the prehistoric sites of Stanton Drew Circles
- Visit Dunster Castle and its watermill
When to visit Somerset
While Somerset enjoys its best weather in the summer, the increased number of visitors during July and August can make for a hectic experience.
Accommodations and popular restaurants are often fully booked, and prices can escalate.
For a more peaceful visit, aim for May, June, or September. These shoulder months offer pleasant weather but with fewer crowds, giving you a better chance to explore at your own pace.
The county has a year-round appeal. Visiting during the cooler months comes with the bonus of quieter tourist attractions. Even in the off-season, Somerset retains its charm and offers an array of indoor and outdoor activities.
Check out my blog post about Bath in winter for just some of the cool-season activities in this country!