Places to visit, attractions, heritage and things of interest in Somerset, in South West England.

Ten of the best in the west

Polperro, Cornwall

South West England has two main draw-backs: it is popular and, as it’s on the west, it can suffer from wetness – particularly at its extremities.  Other than that, it has pretty much everything, including mystery, prehistory, history, cuteness, grand vistas, impressive buildings and plenty of things to do.  For an introduction, see A Bit …

Ten of the best in the west Read More »

Coleridge’s Cottage

Coleridge's Cottage in Nether Stowey

We went to see Coleridge’s Cottage because it was there.  Apart from driving through Bridgwater it wasn’t a painful experience, though I can’t say it was particularly exciting either. However, it does have what the National Trust accurately describes as “a small, but perfectly formed, tearoom” – and that was splendid. Cakes and tea everywhere, …

Coleridge’s Cottage Read More »

Sedgemoor, 1685

Sedgemoor Battle Memorial

I had it in my head to visit the site of the Battle of Sedgemoor.  There’s something about battlefields that I find morbidly fascinating.  Partly, of course, battles are often nodal points in our story, and they therefore need to be understood in that context.  There’s also the struggle of trying to comprehend why organised …

Sedgemoor, 1685 Read More »

Was England born in Athelney?

Sign to Alfred's monument at Athelney, Somerset

Christmas in the year 877 did not turn out as Alfred planned. One minute he was celebrating, the next his hall was overrun by screaming, violent, bloody-weaponed, pagan warriors.  He escaped with his life and a small band of followers, ending up in hiding in the swamps around Athelney, in Somerset. Today, Athelney is a …

Was England born in Athelney? Read More »

A visit to the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm Museum

Fleet Air Arm Museum, Yeovilton, Somerset

The Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm Museum is situated, with startling logic, twenty miles or more from the sea.  It is a massive place and, if you haven’t already guessed, it tells the story of the Royal Navy in the air: oh, come on – you know what I mean… The museum opened in 1964 …

A visit to the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm Museum Read More »

Barrington Court: bring on the empty mansion

Barrington Court, Tudor house, National Trust, visit, Somerset

From the moment we stepped into its kitchen garden, everything about Barrington Court made me want to linger. But don’t visit to savour the great moments that took place at this beguiling Somerset estate, because, so far as I know, none did. Nor should you go to take a peek at the sumptuous interiors and …

Barrington Court: bring on the empty mansion Read More »

A journey to Glastonbury Tor

Glastonbury Tor, Somerset, Britain

Legendary Britain is a more illusive place than it once was.  But there are still places where it is sometimes hard to tell where fact ends and fiction begins.  Mysterious Glastonbury Tor, a natural feature rising some 500 feet above the watery Somerset Levels, has been a sacred site since before the Romans came.  It …

A journey to Glastonbury Tor Read More »

A visit to Montacute House

Montacute House, Somerset, east side

It couldn’t decide whether to shower or shine, the day we went to Montacute; so it compromised and did a little of both.  A tour of the grounds was on offer, which started well enough until rain stopped play.  Our party initially huddled together by mutual agreement, near the café, sheltered from the weather; but …

A visit to Montacute House Read More »

The dastardly shooting of Lorna

Exmoor, Lorna Doone

The Victorian novel, “Lorna Doone – a Romance of Exmoor”, is generally assumed to be a work of fiction, set in a stunning location on the borders of Devon and Somerset and against the turbulent historical backdrop of the Monmouth Rebellion of 1685.  Yet some believe that the author, R D Blackmore, drew upon illusive …

The dastardly shooting of Lorna Read More »

Tarr Steps

Tarr Steps, ancient clapper bridge in Somerset

The Devil was a busy little bee in days gone by.  Some might say he still is, but in any event he crops up all over the British landscape – including at the Tarr Steps, a famous clapper bridge over the river Barle, Somerset, in the Exmoor National Park.  Clapper bridges, river crossings of dry-stone …

Tarr Steps Read More »

A bit about South West England

St Michael's Mount, Cornwall

Including Bristol and Bath, the counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Wiltshire and the Isles of Scilly. I keep returning to the West Country.  Somerset’s worth visiting for the place names alone – where else would you find such choice tongue pleasers as Wyke Champflower, Huish Episcopi, Shepton Beauchamp, Great Shitting (I made that …

A bit about South West England Read More »

Scroll to Top