Whether you’re staying here for an overnight excursion or, a longer stay, Somerset has something for everyone. We want to make sure that visitors get to experience Somerset in it’s full glory, which is why our Team at The Swan Hotel have put their heads together to come up with this carefully curated list of activities. We hope you find it useful💜
1. Explore Wells
Wells may be the smallest city in England, but it has a lot to offer visitors and could easily take up an entire weekend! To start with, we recommend a stroll around the historical city, taking in Vicars Close (the oldest purely residential street with original buildings surviving intact in Europe) before then heading to the one and only Wells Cathedral. After this, you could head to Bishops Palace, taking in the moat before then entering the grounds & stunning gardens (Bishops Palace is a ticketed activity but if you’re staying with us, let them know and you’ll get an exclusive discount!).
Once you’re done with the above, in our humble opinion, we recommend taking a rest on The Swan Hotels terrace (or indoor bar if the weather isn’t great!), where you can enjoy many snacks and drinks, including afternoon tea and much more, all whilst enjoying the view of Wells Cathedral.
Next up, you could take a wander around The Market Place & down the bustling High Street, finishing at the stunning St Cuthbert’s Church (often mistaken for Wells Cathedral).
And if you’re a fan of Hot Fuzz, there is also a film tour around the city, exploring key filming areas.
2. Visit a local event
Throughout the year, Somerset is packed with activity so, it is well worth planning ahead to see what is happening whilst you’re here. A few of the biggest events include Glastonbury Festival, the Bath & West Show, Wells Comedy Festival & Frome Independent Market (1st Sunday, every month).
3. Take a ride on a steam engine
Like most of the country, much of the rail network here in Somerset was stripped back as a result of the Beeching cuts during the 1960s. One silver lining of this today is that the county boasts some excellent heritage railways. 20 minutes away from the hotel sits The East Somerset Railway which is 2.5 miles long and has steam engines running all year round. There is also the 22.75 long West Somerset Railway, which is the longest heritage railway in the UK!
4. Get into nature
There are multiple books just on this point alone so, it goes without saying that what we cover here really is just the tip of the ice berg.
If you’re serious about your walking, The West Mendip Way could be the outing for you. Starting in Wells (meters from our hotel!) and finishing by the cliffs at Uphill, this 30-mile adventure takes in the stunning Somerset countryside, Cheddar Gorge and the cliffs of Uphill. As a bonus, once you’re done you are a mere 1 mile walk from Weston Super Mare beach (if starting at Wells).
If you’re looking for something a little lighter, Cheddar Gorge has walks for walkers of all levels whilst RSPB Ham Wall is another great alternative, offering easy walks all while being surrounded by birds.
5. Visit a nearby attraction
There are many popular attractions across the county but several stand out as must visits for most trips.
Just 20 minutes away, the mystical site of Glastonbury Tor offers an unparalleled past & views across the county. Once you’ve finished your stroll, why not head into one of the many delicious cafes in Glastonbury’s town center?
35 minutes from The Swan sits the City of Bath, which is host to the next attraction on our list – The Roman Baths. Rebuilt in the 1800’s, this site was originally a place for the Roman people to bathe, roughly around 60AD. The official tour takes about 90 minutes and once you’re done, you are free to explore the many sights of this beautiful city.
15 minutes from the hotel is the town of Shepton Mallet which is known for it’s now non-operational prison. If only walls could talk, this place would have a lot to say… now offering prison tours, escape rooms and paranormal tours, Shepton Mallet Prison has something for everyone.
6. Go Shopping
There are a plethora of shopping opportunities in Somerset, although the one that stands head and shoulders above the rest is Clarks Shopping Village, located in Street. This shopping village is jam packed with designer outlets & eateries, making it the perfect place to spend a morning/afternoon. Not too far away in Shepton Mallet is Kilver Court, a much smaller but equally enjoyable designer village.
Alternatively, you will find hundreds of independent shops scattered across our towns & villages. For a bigger shopping trip, we recommend the nearby cities of Bath, Bristol and Taunton.
7. Visit our Museums
If you’re staying with us at The Swan, we’d certainly recommend taking a trip to the Wells & Mendip Museum where you can learn about local history from archaeology to geology and much more. Elsewhere, the Rural Life Museum in Glastonbury is great for learning about the evolution of rural life in the county and the Museum of Somerset in Taunton will give you an overview of how the county has changed over the centuries.
If you’re looking for something a bit different, Fleet Air Museum which is located in Yeovilton provides a full history of British naval aviation while The Helicopter Museum (located in Weston Super Mare) showcases 80 helicopters from across the world.
This isn’t to mention the many more local museums across the county, as well as the museums in Bath & Bristol!
8. Honorable mentions
We wish we could have mentioned more but ultimately, there is just so much to do here that we couldn’t possibly get it all in. See below a list of more recommendations with links. We hope this guide has helped and that whatever you end up doing, you have a great time in our beautiful county.
- Cycle Somerset
- Thatchers Cider Farm
- The Avon & kennet Canal
- Chew Valley Lake
- Brean & Weston Super Mare Beach
- Quantock Hills
- Skiing (yes, really)
- Climbing & Bouldering
Wrote & developed by The Swan Hotel team💜