We love summer in South Somerset

Released On 28th Jun 2022

We love summer in South Somerset

With so much to see and do and such profoundly beautiful landscapes, we know you’ll love summertime here just like we do.

Here are a few ideas that will make your time here one to remember…

Pitch up for unforgettable stargazing

The big, open skies of the countryside are perfect for letting you see thousands of stars twinkling at this time of year when the skies are particularly clear. South Somerset is known for its high-quality camping sites including Long Hazel Park and Thorney Lakes Caravan and Camping to name a few. As well as award winning glamping including Esme’s Escape, Stocklinch Shepherds Hut and Dimpsey Glamping.  Grab those camping chairs and look up on a clear summer’s night; you may just spot the “Summer Triangle” made up of three bright stars, Vega, Deneb and Altair. 

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Get set for picnics, paddleboarding and wildlife on the River Parrett

Head into lively Langport where you’ll find pontoons and plenty of lovely places to picnic or a bite to eat, including The Bridge Bakery and Canteen, Kitchen at the Wharf, The Parrett Café and Art Tea Zen to name just a few.

Enjoy a unique view of the Somerset Levels, an area rich in history and legend, by taking a river cruise on the Duchess of Cocklemoor from Langport. Make sure you keep an eye out for the wonderful wildlife including otters and kingfishers, herons and the famous Somerset cranes. For those of you who love walking, then do try The River Parrett Trail, a stunning 50 mile walk – but don’t worry, it’s not compulsory to do all 50 miles. It’s split into six sections and takes in fascinating history, heritage, wildlife, flora and fauna along the way.

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Appreciate glorious gardens in their summer finery

Budding and experienced gardeners are spoilt for choice here; Forde Abbey House and Gardens, East Lambrook Gardens, The Walled Gardens of Cannington, The Bishop’s Palace and Gardens, The Newt and Hestercombe Gardens all have a different appeal and are worth visiting. If you’re a National Trust member, you’ve come to the right area; Barrington Court, Lytes Cary, Montacute House and Tintinhull Garden are all within easy reach and many organise interesting activities and events including open air theatre productions, so do check National Trust’s website for their latest schedule.

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Soak up the sun and enjoy world-class art

Relax on warm summer days at the pioneering world-class gallery and multi-purpose arts centre Hauser and Wirth, Bruton. Wander through the beautiful Oudoulf field and enjoy the current exhibition ‘Henry Moore. Sharing Form’. Credit: Hauser and Wirth

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Visit Cadbury Castle, the reputed stronghold of King Arthur and relish those amazing views

The site of the long-forsaken Cadbury Castle is an essential part of any visit to South Somerset in the summer months. In the 16th century it was suggested that this site was indeed the stronghold of King Arthur during the 6th century and there is certainly plenty of archaeological evidence to suggest Cadbury Castle was an important fortification at that time. Every step is worth the fantastic views at the top on a summer’s day – where you’ll see Glastonbury Tor reaching out across the mystical Somerset Levels.

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Discover unique shopping, local markets and individual cafes

South Somerset is home to many attractive and charming market towns, rich in history and heritage and offering a remarkable choice of independently run cafes, restaurants, shops, galleries and markets.  If you love people watching, you’ll find a perfect sunny spot in one of the many welcoming cafes to while away a few relaxing hours.  

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Take a walk on the wild side at Ham Hill Country Park

Summer is the season to take a walk through Ham Hill’s beautiful wildflower meadows to see southern marsh, pyramidal and bee orchids in their hundreds, broomrape, vetch, cranesbill and yellow rattle also carpet the meadows. Listen to crickets and skylarks as you watch meadow brown and common blue butterflies drift from grass stem to stem and watch as swifts and swallows dive along the grass tops trying to catch them and other insects. 

Youngsters will love the Wildwood play area and finish off your visit by relaxing with an ice cream enjoying the stunning vistas. It’s also a good idea to check the Country Park’s web pages and Facebook channels as they regularly organise family events and activities over the summer months at Ham Hill, Yeovil Country Park and Chard Reservoir.

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Explore scenic cycling routes

You’ll find superb cycle trails and routes all over the county and one of our local favourites is to take the cycle path from Ilminster to Chard Reservoir. It’s suitable for all paces and what better way to end your pedal power adventure than with a delicious homemade picnic by the pretty water’s edge.

You can also try ‘Pedalling the Scenic Route’ – all the cycling routes start and finish in the Cocklemoor Carpark in the centre of Langport and follow quiet country roads and off-road byways, although it is possible to start from anywhere along the routes. Ordnance Survey maps Explorer 128 (Taunton and Blackdown Hills) and 129 (Yeovil and Sherborne) might be useful to assist with directions and to extend any of the routes.

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Delight in breathtaking landscapes from Burton Pynsent monument

Follow the footpath from Curry Rivel village centre to walk to the 140 feet high Burton Pynsent Monument, standing on Troy Hill at the top of a steep slope and marvel at the fantastic views of the Levels, Quantocks, Exmoor and even Wales on a clear day.  The monument was built in 1757 and designed by an architect for William Pitt, Lancelot 'Capability' Brown as a monument to Sir William Pynsent. Pynsent was a highly successful businessman in the thriving Somerset cider trade.

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Enjoy delicious cream teas and working cider orchards

Fourwinds Cider Farm in East Lambrook opens its doors in spring and summer, offering a unique and family friendly experience. Relax in beautiful orchards, sample local apple juice and cider as well freshly made lunches and cream teas. There’s an on-site farm shop too and throughout the summer months they often host events and live music. Find out more here

Somerset Cider Brandy is a local gem too, sitting amongst 180 acres of cider apple orchards at the base of Burrow Hill, pressing cider for over 200 years. Visitors are welcome every day from 9am to 5pm except Sunday and you don’t have to book unless you would like a guided tour. There is also an orchard walk and among the 170 year-old vats in the cider house there are drinks to sample.

Soak up the atmosphere of a real working cider mill at Perry’s Cider, Ilminster; grab a refreshing cider or a bite to eat in the cafe, before checking out the local foods, drinks, gifts and art in the farm shop. Or just stock up on your favourite ciders which can all be tasted before buying. They also have a small museum on site - housed in the original 16th century thatched cider barn where the company first started from.

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Immerse yourself in fabulous festivals, music and theatre

Somerset is the ‘land of the summer people’ so it’s no surprise that locals love festivals and events, and warmly embrace a vibrant arts and culture scene across the county. During the summer months, there are many open-air theatre productions, vintage fairs, steam fairs, agricultural fairs, live music events and quirky festivals. The Octagon Theatre and Westlands Entertainment Venue in Yeovil both host an impressive line-up of shows and events throughout the summer too, including national touring productions and popular comedians.

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Savour Somerset’s grub at its local best

Welcoming village pubs with pretty gardens are plentiful, serving gorgeous menus for all budgets.  The Cotley Inn, nestled on the Cotley estate, on the side of a hill at the foot of the Blackdown hills, has a wealth of well-deserved accolades to its name including the 2022 Award for Visit England’s Best Pub in England. You won’t be disappointed! Other popular pubs include The Barrington Boar near Ilminster; Lord Poulett Arms, Hinton St George; The Rose and Crown, East Lambrook; The White Post, Adber; The Crooked Swan, Crewkerne; Brewers Arms, South Petherton; The Red Lion, Babcary, The White Hart, Somerton and Crown and Victoria Inn, Tintinhull. In fact, there are too many to mention, so do take a look at section six in our Things to Do Guide for many more options.  There is superb modern dining too, including Osip in Bruton, Holm in South Petherton and 28 Market Place in Somerton.  

(Pic Credit: The Cotley Inn) 

Discover Things to Do Guide here


Discover nearby Dorset’s dramatic coastline

South Somerset is a fantastic base to explore Dorset too - in under an hour you can reach Dorset’s incredible coast, famous for its fossil-flecked cliffs. Designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site due to its outstanding geology, take a trip through 185 million years of earth’s history as you journey along the Jurassic Coast.

There are many famous spectacular geological landmarks along this coastline including Old Harry Rocks, Lulworth Cove, Durdle Door and West Bay. The shale and pebble beaches at Kimmeridge Bay and Chesil Beach are also worth visiting for their wild and natural beauty.

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Don't forget to share your summer adventures with us when you are out and about by tagging us on our social channels #visitsouthsomerset. 

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