Somerset Towns and Villages
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Welcome to South Somerset; unspoilt English countryside in all its glory. Here you will find space to think, away from the hustle and bustle of busy life, and a natural environment to revive your spirits.
Explore winding lanes with wildflower verges, picturesque villages of thatch cottages and village greens. Discover bluebell woodlands in the spring, misty mornings over the Somerset Levels. Ramble through country parks, or float down the meandering rivers, Parrett and Yeo.
Our vibrant towns and villages offer plenty of old worldly charm for lovers of history and heritage. There are eleven market towns across South Somerset, each distinct and many with weekly markets which have long been the lifeblood of our farming communities, a place to meet and share news and produce – not much has changed in that sense. Come and experience a bit of living history by stocking up on your groceries and picnic treats at one of our markets.
South Somerset is the real deal, working, living countryside. Farming runs through our veins and our connection to the landscape is a strong one. You’ll see thatchers working on the roofs, cows crossing the roads at milking time and you’ll soon learn to be patient behind tractors in country lanes.
Wassailing ceremonies are an important part of our cider heritage. In mid-January, you’ll find ancient ceremonies taking place in orchards across South Somerset. There is singing, poetry, dancing, and of course, much cider consumption; everyone is welcome. You’ll also discover Mayday Celebrations, festivals and village fetes a-plenty in South Somerset, plus the curious custom of punkie night (our version of Halloween). The South Somerset Whats on events page has all the details you need.
Our agricultural shows make a fantastic day out, showcasing the very best of livestock, crafts, food, and rural activities. The Abbey Hill Steam Rally, Yesterdays Farming and the Somerset Steam and Country Fair at Low Ham are all great days out for all the family and a perfect opportunity to chat to the locals. Or, how about our Scything Festival, we can’t guarantee Poldark, but there’s music, children’s events and green crafts on offer.
Visit during the autumn to witness the famous Somerset Carnivals nearby Bridgwater is the largest but many South Somerset market towns have their own versions, including those for children. If you are looking for something a little different to do after the sun has set, take a blanket, wrap up warm and marvel at the stars from Burrow Hill. Or experience a show on the national circuit at the Octagon Theatre or Westlands Entertainment Venue or an inspiring arts project, brought to village halls by Take Art.
South Somerset has lots of things for children as well. From large museums, railways and play centres to a whole host of free options. Children can climb, run, jump, bike, and play; in fact just be children. Our unspoilt natural environment is the perfect playground for families. Get closer to nature with a forest school or ranger activity. Play hide and seek, or build dens at Ham Hill Country Park. Cycle along quiet country lanes or along river paths. Explore the Ranger Rik Nature Trail in Yeovil Country Park or bug hunting at Chard Reservoir. The South Somerset Countryside website is full of ideas.
Whatever your budget, we can help you find a wonderful place to say in South Somerset. From exquisite country house hotels to simple rooms with a hearty breakfast, farm stays to boutique bed and breakfasts, pubs with gorgeous rooms to hostels, shepherds’ huts, yurts, converted cow sheds and thatched holiday cottages a plenty. Your dog would love South Somerset to, don’t worry there is plenty of dog-friendly accommodation.
We look forward to welcoming you to South Somerset
As classically Somerset as you can find, Somerton evokes memories of country life at its most quintessential. It’s conveniently walkable: start at the historical heart of Market Square and take in the town’s many landmarks like the rare octagonal-tower Church of St Michael and All Angels.
This ancient market town lies at the heart of the Somerset Levels, strategically placed at a crossing point over the River Parrett.
The quintessential English village, with wide streets and glowing hamstone buildings, many of which are thatched which welcomes visitors to its many attactions.
Known as Ivell in Thomas Hardy’s Wessex, Yeovil is mentioned in the Domesday Book as a thriving market community and is still a country town at heart surrounded by beautiful countryside. An important centre for the leather industry in the 19th century, the town is famous for its glove-making with its football club nick-named the Glovers and for making helicopters. It has numerous shops, a country park, theatre and entertainment centre.Settled in ancient times on a major Roman route through the West Country, Yeovil means ‘town on the river’. It’s south Somerset’s centre for entertainment and shopping, and is a centre for everything from top-league football to leather goods to military technology.
Bruton is a bit of a one off, even more so than every Somerset town.Miles from anywhere, it’s a tiny and intense place, with shops, houses and chapels crowded close together even though it stands in the middle of tracts of rolling hills, and this gives it a very special character.
Chard is geographically the highest town in Somerset and nestles in a corner of South Somerset between Dorset and Devon.
Castle Cary - one of the most attractive of Somerset's market towns.Tucked away in a secluded spot a few miles off the A303, the golden stone of Castle Cary and Ansford exudes a warm glow complemented by its glorious setting in the South Somerset countryside and its friendly inhabitants.
Most people have heard of Judge Jeffreys and the Bloody Assize but perhaps not so many know that the decisive events leading up to the mass hearings and executions took place near the tiny village of Westonzoyland.
Ilminster takes its name from the River Ile and the Minster church dating from 1450. The town grew up around the church and some of the oldest buildings are close to the churchyard including the grammar school founded in 1549.
Two hundred years ago as many as seventeen stage coaches a day would pass through Wincanton. Today approach it from the north along what was once the main London road (the A303 bypasses the town) and it is easy to imagine very little has changed.