Exploring the North
The area we call the North can boast two networks of underground caves, four seaside piers, Britain’s biggest gorge and England’s smallest City.
Just a short hop from the M5, not far from Bristol Airport and with excellent rail links, this part of the map is crammed with family attractions from places to see exotic creatures and natural wonders to a theme park and shopping village. At the same time as offering all this excitement, there are plenty of opportunities to slow down and contemplate the miles of unspoilt countryside and panoramic views.
The northern end of our Coast is where you will find the sand and lots of it. You can picnic on it, build castles out of it, watch artists make spectacular patterns and sculptures with it, walk dogs, ride horses and play games on it. You can wander among the Berrow dunes and admire the wildlife. These shorelines, with their views across the Bristol Channel and its islands, have been attracting holiday makers for several hundred years and the draw of the amusements, bandstands, ices and fresh air is as strong as ever.
As the name suggests, the Somerset Levels and Moors are flat but far from uninteresting. They are fascinating! They offer a rare glimpse into our earliest attempts at managing the land. From the various ‘mumps’ and ‘knolls’ - these were islands in the days when this area was under water for many months of the year - there are extraordinary views. Be sure to check out our Visit Somerset 360 Views.
Much of the scenery is grassland, criss-crossed by ditches (or rhynes as we call them) and lined by our famous willows. The Moors were worked for peat and this is where you’ll find the world’s oldest known track way which our ancestors used to navigate the swamps. Today the roads lead to charming towns, villages, cafes and craft shops.
This part of Somerset is steeped in myth and legend. When Alfred the Great was defending his people from Vikings he hid on the Levels and allegedly burned some cakes! Glastonbury is associated with King Arthur’s stories and to see its Tor rising from the mists is to understand why. Joseph of Arimathea is said to have visited Glastonbury and where he put his staff in the ground it grew into a thorn tree.
Miles of sand, donkey rides, candy floss and entertainment on tap keep people coming back to our seaside resorts year after year. Whether you stay in a caravan park, hotel or B&B, you are sure of a warm welcome. Both Weston-super-Mare and Burnham-On-Sea have their own theatres and piers while Brean has a Theme Park with roller coaster rides and Ghost Train.
Inland there are plenty of options for a great day out from Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm where you can meet elephants to Rich’s Cider where you can sample our famous beverage made the traditional way. We are spoilt by having not one network of amazing caves full of incredible and ancient rock formations but several! We have Wookey Hole and Cheddar Gorge, both of which have much more for you to see and do than merely admire the majesty of nature. At Wookey there are Circus Shows and Cheddar takes on a journey back in time to meet the primitive people who lived there once.
They say small is beautiful and that is certainly true when it comes to England’s smallest city. Wells has a fabulous cathedral, remarkable old clock, swans that ring for their food, a moated Bishop’s Palace, historic market place and the oldest residential street in Europe.
With the reed beds of the peat moors, the salt marshes and sand dunes of the coast, the re-introduced cranes on the Levels and the rare butterflies of the Mendip Hills, Somerset is one of the best places for wildlife in Britain with more than 100 reserves.