Places To See

History and Heritage

Some the finest historical properties in the UK - Somerset

Somerset and Exmoor have their fair share of castles, country houses, hill forts and ancient monuments. Outside London and Norfolk, Somerset has more Grade 1 Listed Buildings than any other county. Many of our most special buildings and landmarks are looked after for us by the National Trust, ensuring they are not lost to us and can be enjoyed by all. Some are in the care of English Heritage, such as the magnificent Muchelney Abbey while others, like Glastonbury Abbey are managed by Trusts. Some are still habitable, for example Dunster, while others are no more than ruins, albeit beautiful ones.  
Glorious architecture and fabulous grounds create atmosphere so a number of our notable grand houses have featured in films and TV Dramas which makes them doubly interesting to visit. Scenes from Poldark were shot in Wells and for Wolf Hall the stunning Elizabethan Montacute House became Greenwich Palace, to mention two. These historic treasures provide for great days out as they usually have cafes, shops and special exhibitions.
There are exceptional gardens too – East Lambrook was created by plants woman Margery Fish; Tintinhull’s Pool Garden, in memory of a war-time fighter pilot and Hestercombe has the signature of Gertrude Jekyll.
Historic sites The county town, Taunton, witnessed Judge Jeffreys 'Bloody Assize' during the infamous Pitchfork Rebellion in 1685, the last civil battle fought on English soil. There is a superb exhibition on the rebellion in Somerset Museum - based in Taunton Castle - and Westonzoyland, the battle site, has a model of the action in the church.
Other castles well worth a visit are Dunster, an impressive fortification based in a medieval village; Farliegh Hungerford outside Frome and Nunney near Wells, which is an impressive ruin, complete with moat! Wells is England’s smallest city and has been used as a location for filming Hot Fuzz; Elizabeth, The Golden Age; The Libertine and Doctor Who.
Glastonbury Abbey, said to be the earliest Christian site in Britain is also known for its association with King Arthur and his wife Guinevere. The majestic and world-famous Glastonbury Tor stands sentinel over the town and the Somerset Levels.

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