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Days Out

Starting at the east end of the Path, a day out from Brean could include a drive inland to explore the limestone Mendip Hills of which the promontory known as Brean Down is an extension – as is the island of Steep Holm.


An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Mendip Hills has plenty of viewing points from which to look out over the Bristol Channel as well as lakes, caves and nature reserves to explore. Walkers revel in the variety of landscape here from open grassland to narrow gorges and thick woodland. It is the perfect place to try a whole host of outdoor activities such as climbing, foraging, wildlife watching and caving.


The Mendips are famous for their strawberries, cheese and cider but equally proud of all their local produce which means that there are some great shops, pubs, tea rooms and cafes for sampling the delights.


Bridgwater became a Borough in 1200 with a castle to protect it and although the castle no longer survives there are numerous Listed buildings and Blue Plaques making for an excellent trail around the town.


The secret is to look up as Bridgwater was once famed for its brick and tiles which still decorate a number of properties. There are two museums, an Arts Centre, Theatre and a fine Georgian terrace.


The town has retained its medieval street pattern and has a statue to one of England’s most famous admirals, Robert Blake. Running through it is the tidal River Parrett which has its own bore. It was from the tower of St Mary’s Church that the Duke of Monmouth watched the royal forces assemble before the Battle of Sedgemoor.


Britain’s biggest new coastal wetland is Steart Marshes run by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust. It was created by allowing sea water to flood the land via creeks to encourage salt marsh which attracts a rich cast of wildlife while also protecting nearby homes and businesses from rising sea levels.


Steart Marshes has hides, ponds, a sculpture trail and circular walks. It attracts migrating birds in the autumn and winter and in summer is a breeding site for egret, avocet, plover and lapwing. Spring is the time to see dragon flies and wildflowers. There are toilets on site but no refreshments.


One idea might be to combine your visit with a trip to the Walled Gardens of Cannington where there are Tea Rooms. This Royal Horticultural Society partner garden is in the grounds of a medieval priory and many of its ancient walls survive.


A day out to Dunster can include a ride on a steam train. The West Somerset railway is the longest heritage line in England and has its terminus and a turntable at Minehead. From here you can hope aboard a train to Dunster where you can walk up to the castle or wander round the village with its medieval buildings and views over the Bristol Channel.


It is easy to spend a whole day exploring this historic place but if you want to hop back on the train there are eight more stations to visit before you rumble your way back to the seaside resort.

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