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Pocket Guide: Somerset

From the rocky cliffs of the Cheddar Gorge to the heather-covered rugged uplands of Exmoor, Somerset has a wide range of scenery that reflects the varied underlying geology. Each part of the county contributes its own unique cultural experiences, too, and great historic cities and towns such as Wells and Yeovil have an atmosphere all their own. It's a predominantly rural region characterised by charming villages, rolling hills and the unique Somerset Levels, enriched by architectural and historical attractions that bring visitors here throughout the year. There are many different kinds of accommodation available, from tiny, family-run B&Bs to larger guesthouses and smart hotels.

Somerset for History and Culture

With a preponderance of natural beauty in the gently rolling landscape and a liberal sprinkling of cultural treasures, Somerset has always attracted visitors. The first of these were the prehistoric chieftains, probably from mainland Europe, who built monuments like Stonehenge in nearby Wiltshire, and left other standing stones all over the landscape. Glastonbury has intimate associations with Arthurian legend, and is a reminder too of the hordes of invading Saxons from the Continent with whom this British chieftain struggled.

The Kingdom of Wessex, of which Somerset forms part, was created by King Alfred, and more recent history has been responsible for the remains of abbeys and stately homes that are such an attractive feature of the Somerset landscape. Book in to a guesthouse or hotel in this endlessly fascinating county and you'll never be short of things to see and do.

Carnivals and Events in Somerset

Somerset is perhaps best renowned for its numerous festivals and carnivals such as Bridgwater's illuminated carnival and the world-famous Glastonbury Music Festival. There are plenty of more local celebrations also going on throughout the year, many of them with deep traditional roots, and all are packed with colour and local interest. From the agricultural to the arty, check out the local events before you book in to a Somerset hotel or guesthouse and you'll not be disappointed.

Somerset Hotels for the Great Outdoors

The Somerset Levels and Exmoor are just two of the more important natural features of Somerset that offer unbeatable opportunities if you're a fan of cycling, walking or climbing. Somerset is also one of the best places in the country to indulge in bird watching, particularly in winter when the region attracts vast numbers of wildfowl. Pony trekking in the more hilly country is also a popular activity here, as is the timeless pleasure of riding donkeys on the beach.

For food lovers, Somerset is a real paradise on earth, with endless farmers' markets selling home-made cider and traditional cheeses, with Cheddar of course springing immediately to mind. Stay at one of the numerous Somerset hotels or guesthouses and you'll be ideally located to indulge all that this agriculturally diverse county has to offer, as well as explore some wonderful historic cities and have easy access to a wealth of outdoor activities. Whatever time of year you choose to visit, you're guaranteed a great West Country welcome and a world of interest and excitement for all the family.