Brilliant Somerset: 10 sensational activities for kids
My family have been traced back to living in Somerset from the 13th century and are still there today. It’s an area of the country I know well and love. My children love visiting museums and attractions but also enjoy the space of the countryside and there’s such variety in Somerset including coastline and rolling countryside so my list of favourites contains a real mix.
Kids (and grown-ups) of all ages will love being bounced around in the back of Daphne’s Land Rover as she drives off road in search of the best of the Exmoor wildlife. When we took a trip, we didn’t come across the Exmoor Beast thankfully (although you might, Daphne’s seen it three times!) but we did see plenty of gorgeous animals from Highland Cows to birds of prey and red deer to spot along the way.
2. Climb the hill to Glastonbury Tor
There’s something alluring about Glastonbury Tor for all ages and it’s a great place to get kids to unplug and have a good old-fashioned ramble. It’s steeped in history and legend and my kids love imagining its role and links to King Arthur. After walking to the top of the tor, we usually stop in one of the many Glastonbury cafes for some hearty food and crystal shopping afterwards.
We love our seaside trips to Weston Super Mare, it’s the perfect place for a wander, particularly on to the Grand Pier, which is packed full of penny slot machines and rides. The beach here isn’t the most beautiful but my children love getting out their buckets and spades and the large stretch of sand can occupy them for ages. There are plenty of shops for sticks of rock and candy floss too.
Younger children will adore Ferne Animal Sanctuary, where you can spend time with all of the abandoned animals. Set in 51 acres of Somerset countryside it’s a great place to have a walk around the grounds with its numerous lakes and play in the fun children’s play area. We always like to support the charity with a trip to the cafe afterwards.
The Quantocks are a truly beautiful area of England and riding across them has to be the best way to experience them. I have to admit I felt a little unsteady when we gave it a go but my kids loved it. Try Quantock Trekking for rides for all experiences from beginners upwards. They only take children from age 12 but will recommend local places for younger children to ride.
Hestercombe is one of our favourite English gardens to explore at any time of the year -- the children really like the space here. They have regular workshops and activities but it’s just lovely to walk by the lake and then stop for cake afterwards.
The Fleet Air Arm Museum contains Europe's largest naval aviation collection of helicopters and aircraft. It’s really interactive and a wonderful space for children of all ages to find out more about the flying arm of the Royal Navy and the amazing vehicles they use. It’s also a perfect rainy day activity.
We love our steam trains and the West Somerset Railway is a fab trip out in all weathers - and we’ve done it in rain and shine! Chug along with the steam blowing out of the chimney and horns blowing -- it really is a glimpse into holidays of yesteryear. On sunny days you can explore stops at Minehead or Dunster, on rainy days just watch the world go by and enjoy the classic steam train experience.
There are a number of great National Trust properties across Somerset but our favourite is Montacute House. This late Elizabethan Mansion is wonderful to explore and the gardens are great to run around with plenty of fun activities to keep all ages entertained.
Cheddar can feel a little bit tacky but the Gorge itself is breathtaking and kids will love the cliffs, which stand over 450 feet high. This is Britain’s biggest gorge and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. As well as the cliffs you can get underground and see some truly beautiful caves. By the end of any trip I try and embrace the touristy nature of the town with cream tea before leaving with bagsful of fudge.