Idyllic Somerset can feel like being in a bygone world. Its historic towns, traditional, thatched villages and pretty countryside have changed little in many years and, as with the rest of Wessex, prehistoric sites are in good supply.
In the centre of the county, Wells, Britain’s smallest city, houses a stunning medieval cathedral, cobbled streets, medieval houses and good shopping and restaurant options. To the north, the impressive caves of Cheddar Gorge and Wookey Hole sit in beautiful countryside and showcase other-worldly stalactites and stalagmites.
Now something of a bohemian enclave, pretty Glastonbury has long had spiritual associations. The remains of beautiful Glastonbury Abbey, which lays claim to being Britain’s oldest Christian foundation, sit in the middle of the village. Many myths surround the abbey – is it the burial site of King Arthur and Guinevere? Was the Holy Grail brought here after the death of Christ? The answers are unknown but the questions lend a mystical feel to the ruins. Outside the village, a walk up Glastonbury Tor offers excellent views over the surrounding countryside.
Somerset is also Britain’s most well-known cider producing region and it is possible to visit orchards and cider houses as well as to try local cider in the many country pubs.
The majority of rugged Exmoor National Park lies within Somerset (the remainder is in Devon). The heather moorland, woodland and valleys are home to a wide variety of wildlife, including many bird species and England's only wild population of red deer, as well as the famous Exmoor ponies and a large number of walking, cycling and horseriding trails.
Image © VisitBritain / Simon Kreitem