The Barn is ideally located for all the attractions of Cheddar Gorge. The Gorge is nearly two miles long and at 140m above the roads, has some of the highest cliffs in England. Walkers and ramblers can take various paths and nature trails to climb to the top of the cliffs, or for an easier option try the 274 steps of Jacob’s Ladder which leads to the Lookout Tower to see the splendid views of the surrounding countryside including the Mendips, Somerset Levels, Glastonbury Tor and the Somerset coastline.
Within the Gorge are the famous Cheddar caves. Gough’s cave is a quarter of a mile of amazing chambers formed by an Ice Age river 13,000 years ago. Cox’s cave was discovered in 1837 and has brilliant colours and calcite sculptures. Other attractions within Cheddar caves are the ‘Cheddar Man’, Britain’s oldest complete skeleton and the Crystal Quest. This is a dark-walk fantasy adventure inspired by the writings of JRR Tolkien who visited the caves on his honeymoon and is thought to have used them as his inspiration when writing about Helms Deep in ‘The Lord of the Rings.’ Also worth considering are open top buses that give guided tours up and down the Gorge, and for the more adventurous there are beginners sessions in caving and climbing & abseiling. Check out the website for further details.
Also located within the Gorge are several restaurants and cafes providing everything from full meals and take-aways to cream teas, strawberries and ice creams.
There are many shops in the Gorge selling things from walking and camping equipment to toys and clothing as well as many selections of local produce such as fudge, wines, cider, jams, preserves and, at the right time of year – fresh strawberries! Two of the most popular shops are the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company and the Cheddar Sweet kitchen where you can watch them at work making their products.
10 minutes drive from the barn is the charming village of Wedmore with its ancient church, many charming shops and an excellent golf course. Not to mention the beautiful views of the Mendips.
15 minutes away is Wells, England’s smallest city. It boasts a magnificent Cathedral, glorious buildings from the Middle ages and plenty of characterful shops as well as open markets on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Other facilities include excellent restaurants, lively pubs and a cinema and leisure centre. We highly recommend afternoon tea in the Cathedral Chapter Two Cafe! Again this journey gives you fantastic views of the Mendips and Somerset levels.
Wookey Hole is on the way to Wells and hosts more spectacular caves as well as gardens, fairground attractions and special events. Look out for the witch of Wookey Hole!
25 minutes away in the heart of the Somerset levels are the towns of Glastonbury and Street. Glastonbury is renowned for its Abbey ruins and Tor steeped in Celtic mythology and legend. The Abbey is Britain’s oldest Christian sanctuary and has an award winning museum.
Street is known as the home of shoe manufacturers Clarks. Look out for bargains in footwear, sheepskin and leather in the High Street, not to mention Clarks Village, a major factory shopping complex.
30 minutes drive from the barn is the seaside town of Weston-super-Mare with its miles of golden sand. Weston has all the traditional seaside attractions including donkey rides on the beach, Sea Life Aquarium and the Grand Pier. Other attractions include Jill Dando’s memorial garden, a Helicopter museum, plenty of shopping and theatre and cinema.
A must is a visit to the Roman city of Bath. Bath is a world heritage site and home to the Roman Baths, The Royal Crescent, Pulteney Bridge and a 15 th century Abbey. We also love Bath for its great shops, restaurants and the Theatre Royal which has many pre-London productions. Bath is under an hour’s drive away and a stopping point en route is Chew Valley Lake, ideal for bird watching.
Bristol is about an hour’s drive away and has many attractions worth visiting, including Brunel’s SS Great Britain and Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol Zoo Gardens, ‘@t Bristol’ a complex which includes Explore, a hands-on science museum and Wild Walk, a living rainforest in the heart of the city. Bristol also has theatres, the Hippodrome and the Old Vic, music venues including the Colston Hall and dockside is the Watershed cinema and surrounding pubs, wine bars and restaurants. Not to mention multiplex cinemas and shopping, such as those found at Cribbs Causeway.
As you might expect, there are several National Trust properties and gardens in the surrounding area, including Barrington Court, Dunster Castle, Kingston Lacy, Hidcote Manor Garden and Montacute House. Check out their website for more details.
The National Arboretum at Westonbirt is a world famous collection of thousands of plant species in 600 acres of protected landscape and makes up one half of the National Arboreta. Now managed by the Forestry Commission for all to enjoy, the site was orginally styled by Robert Holford.
Famous for both it’s Stately Home and Safari Park, Longleat is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the UK. Longleat House, an outstanding example of Elizabethan architecture, and the current home of the 7th Marquess of Bath.
Thought to be over 5000 years old, Stonehenge is world famous for it’s mysterious arrangement of monliths and serves as a focus for the seasonal solstices in a landscape rich with prehistoric ceremonial structures.
Other attractions that you might consider visiting whilst staying at the Barn include Slimbridge and the Eden Project.