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Wonders of Somerset

Bath / Harshil Shah, Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

WorldBlue  Highlights

Somerset is very rich with cultural heritage and here it is not that easy to make a shortlist of the most outstanding landmarks.

The most amazing wonders of Somerset are:

  • Churches – Peterborough Cathedral and Wells Cathedral are well known in whole world. Somerset though is home to several hundreds of Gothic churches with sophisticated architecture and their beautiful "Somerset towers".
  • Late medieval and Renaissance manor houses – Somerset is rich with these monuments which are rare elsewhere in Europe.
  • Cheddar Gorge and caves of Mendip Hills – sites of amazing, dramatic scenery. The large caves contain remnants of extinct animals, traces of Stone Age human settlements. Many caves for centuries have served for making of the delicious Cheddar cheese.

Map with the described wonders

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WorldViolet Top 25 wonders of Somerset

Geological wonders

Cheddar Gorge

Up to 137 m deep, spectacular gorge, formed in Carboniferous limestone. Contains endemic species of whitebeam – Cheddar whitebeam (Sorbus cheddarensis) with 15 specimens. The stream that created the gorge, goes underground now. Several caves.

Cheddar Gorge in old image
Cheddar Gorge in old image / , / CC BY-SA 2.0

Archaeological wonders

Gough’s Cave

2,135 m long cave in Cheddar Gorge. Contains Cheddar Yeo – the largest underground river system in Britain. In this cave was found a whole skeleton of prehistoric man – Cheddar Man, who lived approximately 7150 BC. Found remains of other humans – victims of cannibalism. Remains of a mammoth. Possibly used in prehistoric times for cheese making.

Chalice Well

A famous holy well, used as a shrine for at least 2,000 years. Powerful spring depositing iron salts. Interesting legends linking ancient and Christian traditions.

Tarr Steps

Prehistoric clapper bridge, possibly built as early as 1000 BC, made from enormous stone slabs, each weighing up to 5 tons. 55 m long, with 17 spans.

Tarr Steps - a unique megalithic bridge, Somerset
Tarr Steps – a unique megalithic bridge / Michael Clarke Stuff, / CC BY-SA 2.0
Glastonbury Tor

A hill that rises 145 m above the surroundings. An ancient site, the possible Avalon of the legends about King Arthur. Now there stand remains of the medieval Gothic St. Michael’s Church. Terraced slopes.

Wookey Hole

A cave with a powerful stream – River Axe – coming out. From ancient times up to the present, the cave was used for the maturing of Cheddar cheese. There have been found archaeological artifacts from the Iron Age and Roman times. Reportedly haunted.

Cadbury Castle

An impressive Iron Age hillfort (400 BC) with four terraced earthwork banks and ditches. The site contains house foundations and remnants of temples. Linked to legends about King Arthur.

Aveline’s Hole

This cave is the oldest dated cemetery in Britain. Here have been found bones of 21 individuals, buried here 10,200 – 10,400 years ago. Inscribed crosses on the walls from the Mesolithic period.

Architecture wonders

Wells Cathedral

An enormous, beautiful Gothic cathedral, built in 1175 – 1490 on the site of the Roman mausoleum and older church. The structure has a very ornate facade, a rich collection of medieval stained glass, and other art values.

Wells Cathedral, Somerset
Wells Cathedral / seier+seier, / CC BY 2.0
Peterborough Cathedral

One of the visually most impressive church buildings in the United Kingdom, built in Romanesque and Gothic style in 1118 – 1237 and extremely well preserved since then. Built on the site of an earlier church. Unusual and very original is the West Front facade with three enormous arches. Contains many art values.

Peterborough Cathedral, England
Peterborough Cathedral / , Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Bath Abbey

An enormous Gothic church, rebuilt from ruins in 1501 – 1539ies. 52 enormous windows cover 80% of the wall space. The nave is adorned with exquisite fan vaults.

Dunster Castle

A historical home of the Luttrell family, a massive building on a site where for more than 1,000 years has been located castle. The present structure has been shaped by the gradual rebuilding of the historical castle, the main construction works done in 1617.

Pulteney Bridge

An amazing bridge over River Avon, designed by Robert Adam and built in 1769 – 1773. One of the few bridges in the world with shops across the full span on both sides.

Pulteney Bridge in Somerset, north side
Pulteney Bridge, north side / Andy Powell, / CC BY 2.0
Montacute House

An important monument of architecture, representing a shift from Gothic to Renaissance architecture in England, one of the finest existing Elizabethan structures. Built around 1598. Contains an important collection of oils and watercolors.

Nunney Castle

A small castle surrounded by a deep moat, built in 1373. It resembles a smaller copy of the Bastille. Abandoned in 1645. Intact walls, towers, and moat.

Taunton St Mary Magdalene Church

A magnificent church in Perpendicular Gothic style, built in 1508. Painted interior. Stained glass and most statues are from the 19th century. The original tower was built around 1503 but was rebuilt in 1858 – 1862.


A magnificent estate in Neo-Gothic style. The building was constructed in the 1860ies – 1880ies, there was rebuilt an older manor house. Rooms with ornate interiors.

Ashton Court

An old country house, originally built in the 15th century but a major part of the present structure was built around 1633 and extended in the 19th century.

Prior Park Landscape Garden

Picturesque landscape gardens from the 18th century, one of the foundations for the English garden style of parks. Created in 1734 – 1764. Fine views towards Bath city. Includes one of the 4 remaining Palladian bridges in the world.

Clevedon Court

A late medieval manor house. It was constructed in the early 14th century and contains remnants of an older building. Valuable art collection.

Cleeve Abbey

One of the best-preserved medieval monasteries in Britain. Buildings were constructed in the 12th – 16th century. Valuable medieval wall paintings.

Culbone Church

Possibly the smallest church in England. It is possible that the church was built before the Normans, with later supplements. It is 10.7 m long.

St Mary Magdalene church in Taunton

Magnificent church in Perpendicular Gothic style, built in 1508. Painted interior. Stained glass and most statues are from the 19th century. Its original tower was built around 1503 and then rebuilt in 1858 – 1862.

Brympton d’Evercy

Beautiful country house with harmonious architecture. The building has a long history – it was started roughly in 1220 and finally rebuilt into its present form in the 18th century. Unfortunately, many of its historical interior items have been lost.

The Helicopter Museum in Weston-super-Mare

A collection of more than 80 helicopters and autogyros from around the world.

WorldYellow Recommended books

The Rough Guide to Bath, Bristol & Somerset

From the genteel Georgian terraces of Bath to the wild expanses of Exmoor, the fully updated The Rough Guide to Bath, Bristol & Somerset provides an all-round account of this richly rewarding region, with comprehensive details of what to see, what to do, and where to sleep, eat and drink. Useful context and background information accompany all the practicalities, interspersed with vivid, full-color photos and some of the clearest maps to be found in any guidebook.

50 Walks In Surrey

The books feature all the practical detail you need, accompanied by fascinating background reading on the history and wildlife of the area, and clear mapping for ease of use. Every route has been colour coded according to difficulty. All walks are annotated with local points of interest and places to stop for refreshments. Every walk is given a summary of distance, time, gradient, level of difficulty, type of surface and access, landscape, dog friendliness, parking and public toilets.

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