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Somerset is a county in the West Country of England.


Map of Somerset (England)


  • 1 Bristol (a separate county that is not covered in this article)
  • 2 Wells — England's smallest city.
  • 3 Bath — Roman and Georgian spa town with Roman baths and Georgian architecture; the entire city is a WV-Unesco-icon-small.svg UNESCO World Heritage Site.



  • 17 Cheddar
  • 18 Long Ashton
  • The Exmoor villages of Dunster, Oare, Porlock, Porlock Weir, Selworthy and Winsford are found in the Exmoor article.

Other destinations[edit]


Because of several local government reorganisations, the exact definition of the county of Somerset depends on whether you are talking about the modern administrative or the traditional county. This article specifically covers the current administrative county of Somerset, plus the unitary districts of "North Somerset" and "Bath and North East Somerset", which constitute much of the traditional county of Somerset. It does not cover the city of Bristol, which by tradition and in modern times is a county in its own right.

A large part of the Exmoor National Park is in Somerset, although Devon has the western part. The Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is also shared with Devon but two fall entirely within Somerset. These are the Quantock Hills and the Mendip Hills.


The variety of English you encounter in Somerset depends on which part of Somerset you are visiting. For example, if you visit Bath, you are more likely to encounter a form of Received Pronunciation (RP), whereas if you visit Yeovil, the chances are that you will encounter West Country English (WCE), the variety of English spoken primarily in Somerset, Bristol, Devon and Cornwall, as well as Dorset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire. The difference between RP and WCE is demonstrated by the word Bath itself. RP speakers will pronounce Bath with a long /ɑː/ sound (the same way they pronounce the 'a' and 'r' in car), while WCE speakers will pronounce Bath with a long /æː/ sound (the same way they pronounce the 'a' in ham).

Another significant difference is demonstrated by the 'r' in the word cider. RP speakers will not pronounce the /r/ in this word (they will say SIGH-da), while WCE speakers will always pronounce /r/ after a vowel (they will say SIGH-der or even SOY-der).

In Somerset, as in other counties of England, you will also encounter non-native English speakers alongside the speakers of the local and standard varieties, particularly in the larger towns and cities of Bath, Weston-super-Mare, Taunton, Yeovil and Bridgwater. However relative to other parts of England, Somerset has very few non-native speakers (around 2% countywide, around 10% in central Yeovil).

Get in[edit]

The region's main airport is Bristol Airport.

There are major railway stations at Bristol (Bristol Temple Meads) and Taunton. Both are served by trains from London (Paddington), Cardiff, Manchester, the North of England, Devon and Cornwall, from the Great Western Railway and CrossCountry operators. Bristol is also served by trains from Portsmouth, Weymouth, Hampshire and Dorset.

There is also a slower South Western Railway line between London Waterloo and Exeter which serves the south of county with stations at Yeovil and Crewkerne.

By car, the major routes are the M5 serving the north of county (Bridgwater, Taunton) and the A303 in the south (Yeovil, Ilminster).

Get around[edit]

The best way to get around Somerset is probably by car - while certain major towns and cities are served by rail, many popular tourist destinations, such as Clevedon, have no station, or, like Minehead, are served only by heritage railways with no connection to mainline stations.

See West Somerset Railway, for details on the main heritage railway in the area. There is also the minor East Somerset Railway near Shepton Mallet


Stanton Drew stone circle
Hestercombe House and gardens

Historic houses:


Truly authentic and cosy country pubs abound throughout this county, as well as rolling rural landscapes. The North Somerset area boasts Cheddar Caves and Gorge, Wookey Hole Caves, Glastonbury Tor and Abbey, as well as the Victorian seaside resort of Weston-Super-Mare.

There are some amazing walks to be done around somerset and its many undiscovered treasures.

  • Birdwatching. Somerset hosts numerous RSPB and WWT nature reserves, and the wetlands of the Levels are a true avian hotspot, with literally millions of starlings coming to roost in one of England's most dramatic natural displays
  • [dead link] Caving. As well as the easily tourist-accessible show caves listed under "See", the Mendips is riddled with more challenging and complex caves available to experienced cavers. Paid guided expeditions are available for the brave but inexperienced
  • Glastonbury Festival. one of the largest and most famous festivals of performing arts in the world
  • Priddy Folk Festival. three days of folk music on the Mendip plateau

At the shore of the Bristol channel, the Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Station is worth a visit to those with an interest in science and technology. Visitors first need to register at the 1 EDF Visitor Centre in Bridgwater. An identity check is part of the pre-visit registration process, so do not forget to bring your passport.

  • 2 Hinkley Point B Nuclear Power Station, +44 1278 654600, . An active nuclear power station with 2 operational 650 MW reactors of the AGR (Advanced Gas Cooled Reactor) type, the first of their kind to be connected to the British power grid in 1976. After an introduction, visitors are taken on a tour through the power station, visiting the turbine hall, the reactor hall, and the control room. The tours are guided by Bob, a retired plant operator with over 50 years of experience in nuclear technology, who is able to answer almost any question. A tour takes about 4 hours (including safety checks) and requires a fair bit of walking. Decent shoes and proper clothing are required. Free. Hinkley Point B Nuclear Power Station (Q1536182) on Wikidata Hinkley_Point_B_Nuclear_Power_Station on Wikipedia
  • 3 Hinkley Point C (HPC). Construction site of the Hinkley Point C power station, to be commissioned in 2025. Tours are organized around the site where this megastructure is being erected, including the concrete factory producing the concrete required to pour the reactors continuously for over 50 hours, the excavations for the turbine hall and back-up generators, and the 3 km long pipeline with a 3.5 m diameter to suck in cooling water. Hinkley Point C nuclear power station (Q5767271) on Wikidata on Wikipedia


In the summer, local strawberries with Somerset clotted cream.

Don't miss the local genuine farmhouse cheddar cheese, a world apart from the generic factory cheese often sold under the cheddar name.

Perry's Cider in Dowlish Wake, one of many local producers


Cider. There are plenty of opportunities to sample this fine west country drink whilst in Somerset. There are plenty of small farms who will sell you Scrumpy cider, most pubs also serve proper farmhouse cider, especially out in the countryside. Some of it can be very strong so watch out! A good place to purchase is Sheppy's Cider Farm just outside Taunton.


  • Gurney Manor Mill, Gurney St, Cannington, Bridgwater TA5 2HW, +44 1278 653582. A watermill of 15th Century origins converted into a B&B. Comfortable rooms with character. Pleasant grounds with water features. Good quality home cooked breakfasts. £30-45 per person per night inc. B/fast.
  • 1 Carpenters Arms, Wick Lane, Stanton Wick, Pensford BS39 4BX, +44 1761 490202. Check-out: =. Charming village pub with rooms, a knock-through of miners' cottages. Handy for Bristol Airport. B&B double from £110.

Go next[edit]

This region travel guide to Somerset is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!