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Bit About Britain, places to visitSearch for places to visit in Britain by name, location, or type…keyword.  Or just have a browse.  New attractions are being added every week.

South West

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ABBOTSBURY SWANNERY

This is, allegedly, the only place in the world where you can visit a colony of nesting Mute Swans. (Trust me, they are not mute).  A Benedictine monastery was established at Abbotsbury in the 11th century and the monks began farming swans - which often featured at medieval banquets. The monks have long gone, but the swans are still there (different ones, obviously). If you visit Abbotsbury Swannery these days, you'll find about 600 swans, all free to roam. The colony is established adjacent to a shallow lagoon, the Fleet, which lies behind Chesil Beach. It's a unique location.

New Barn Road
Abbotsbury
Nr Weymout
Dorset
DT3 4JG
N/A
Abbotsbury Swannery website.
Abbotsbury Abbey (remains) and St Catherine's Chapel
Private - open to the public
ALFRED MEMORIAL, Athelney

Victorian memorial on the site of the abbey, founded by King Alfred in 888, on the site of his refuge from the Danes on the Isle of Athelney.

Field near Athelney Farm
Cuts Road
Athelney
Somerset
TA7 0SD
Victorian
Burrow Mump is just down the road. Muchelney Abbey isn't far.
Unknown
AVEBURY HENGE

Enormous Neolithic stone henge and bank surrounding the entire village of Avebury.  Dates from c2600BC.  Part of a wider complex of prehistoric sites nearby. Get up close and personal with the stones - which you cannot normally do at nearby Stonehenge.

Avebury
Wiltshire
SN8 1RF
Prehistory
Avebury Henge
English Heritage listing for Avebury
Huge number of prehistoric sites, including West Kennet Long Barrow, Silbury Hill and Windmill Hill, within walking distance. Stonehenge not far away by road.
National Trust
BARRINGTON COURT

Barrington Court is a 16th century house that became derelict and was carefully restored in the 1920s by Colonel Lyle, as in Tate & Lyle the sugar refining company. The house is currently shown empty of all furnishings, which is curiously wonderful. The gardens are simply stunning.

Barrington
near Ilminster
Somerset
TA19 ONQ
Tudor
National Trust
BERRY POMEROY CASTLE

A brooding, ruined, medieval castle located atop a dramatic wooded cliff and with the remains of an unfinished Jacobean house inside its walls, which was intended to be the grand home of the Seymour family. Berry Pomeroy Castle has a reputation as one of the most haunted places in Britain.

Berry Pomeroy
Nr Totnes
Devon
TQ9 6LJ
Medieval
A bit more about Berry Pomeroy Castle
Totnes, Dartmouth
English Heritage
BISHOP’S PALACE, WELLS

Part-ruined home to the Bishops of Bath and Wells for 800 years, the palace dates from 13th century and is surrounded by a moat, upon which swans glide gracefully.  Croquet is played on the lawn.  The highlight, though, is the gardens.  These are a delight to wander in and include the well pools that give the city its name.

Wells
Somerset
BA5 2PD
Medieval
Bishop's Palace website
Wells Cathedral
Church authorities
BROWNSEA ISLAND

Brownsea Island (aka 'Branksea') is the largest island in Poole Harbour (about 1 mile x 1/2 mile) and is primarily a wildlife area of woodland, heath and wetland, home to red squirrels and a variety birds. There are trails and events, including open air theatre and an annual round the island swim. Brownsea was chosen by Baden-Powell to try out his scouting ideas and is also said to have inspired Enid Blyton. Brownsea Castle, originally 16th century, is currently (August 2016) leased to the John Lewis Partnership as a staff hotel and not open to the public. Access to the island is by ferry from Poole.

Poole Harbour
Poole
Dorset
BH13 7EE
N/A
National Trust
BURROW MUMP

A natural hill rising out of the Somerset levels, with the ruins of a church, St Michael's, on top, giving the place an evocative feel. There was probably a castle on the site once. Burrow Mump also has possible associations with King Alfred, who hid in the marshes around nearby Athelney to escape the Danes.  It is now a war memorial, dedicated to all those from Somerset who died in the First and Second World Wars.

Post Code is for the nearby King Alfred pub. Small free car park at the foot of the hill.

A361
Burrowbridge
Somerset
TA7 0RB
Georgian
Willow and Wetland Visitor Centre. Glastonbury and Wells aren't far.
National Trust
CADBURY CASTLE

South Cadbury Castle is an Iron Age hill fort, overrun by the Romans in the 1st century and subsequently used by them, but then reoccupied and its defences restored in the sub-Roman period and in occasional use up to at least the 10th century. It is one of several places associated with the legendary King Arthur and suggested as a possible location for the mythical Camelot. The walls and defences are now wooded, but the size of them can be appreciated, and there is a wonderful view of Glastonbury Tor, on the mystical Isle of Avalon, from the top.

Take the pathway, Castle Lane, from the village; it is invariably muddy.

South Cadbury
Somerset
BA22 7HA
Dark Ages
Glastonbury, Wells
Unknown
CHALICE WELL

The Chalice Well is a natural spring, with a red hue to the water, now surrounded by peaceful gardens, at the foot of Glastonbury Tor. The spring has been in use for at least 2,000 years and, inevitably, has mystical and religious associations; it is popular with pilgrims of all sorts (remember, this is Glastonbury). According to one legend, Joseph of Arimathea hid the chalice that had caught the blood of Christ at the crucifixion in the Chalice Well.

There is no parking at the Chalice Well - park nearby and walk. It is on the A361 Chilkwell Street junction with Wellhouse Lane.

Chilkwell Street
Glastonbury
Somerset
BA6 8DD
Prehistory
Website of the Chalice Well Trust
Glastonbury Abbey (of course) and Glastonbury Tor
Other