It’s the cider capital of the world! Nowhere is cider more celebrated (The Wurzels sang songs about it), more than 400 varieties of apples are grown in the county just to make this ancient brew. Traditional ‘scrumpy’ is a rougher brew, made with an older fermentation method and is only made in the UK, predominantly in Somerset.
The county has long been linked with the legend of King Arthur. Some believe he was buried in the county, and that Camelot and Avalon are both here. There are certainly a number of places named after Arthur and giving nod to Merlin. Glastonbury Tor is reputedly where Merlin lived, learnt and practised magic (“By my power let there be a festival, may there be music, mud and a long queue for the toilets!”).
Somerset is also linked with the Holy Grail. Some believe the allusive Camelot is where the famous cup was kept and many tales link King Arthur with the grail. However, it wasn’t until the wildly romantic stories of the 12th century that French author Chrétien de Troyes added the grail into the story of Arthur.
One of the oldest engineered roads in the world was discovered in Somerset. The Sweet Track sits in the Somerset Levels and dates back to around 3807bc.
The village of Cheddar only has one remaining cheese maker.
There have been a number of recorded sightings (and grainy photos) of the ‘Beast Of Bodmin’, a black cat that roams Exmoor. Some believe the cat could be a panther or other large cat, that may have escaped from a private collection. Or perhaps it really is a beast…?
530,117 (2011 You.Gov census)
See the latest Ofsted reports and scores for Somerset schools HERE.
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Somerset is most certainly a county of two halves. While it is most certainly a rural idyl, home to farming, cheese making and of course cider (perhaps it’s most loved export), Somerset has always been a fashionable, forward thinking county. The likes of Jane Austen and the celebrated dandy Beau Nash lived and partied in Bath. Bath’s waters are long believed to have healing and restorative powers, the Roman’s helped layout much of the county and Uranus was discovered in Bath.
Perhaps the county’s most enduring myths surround its associations with King Arthur and Camelot. For centuries it has been believed that King Arthur and Merlin lived in the Somerset, that Camelot, Avalon were here and that Somerset is also the final resting place of the Holy Grail.
Today Somerset is home to high tech industries and has a long association with aeronautics. Concord was built here and much of the RAF’s fleet comes from the area. The county has fast rail links to London as well being the gateway to the South West plus offering access to South Wales.
For such a large county, Somerset has a relatively small number of towns, but you will find wide open spaces, small, pretty villages, warm pubs and cold scrumpy on a summer’s day. As for the arguments between Devon and Cornwall over who serves the best cream teas? Somerset folk will tell you they’re both wrong!
With signs of inhabitation dating back over 13,000 years, today the site is fun for all the family. Dinosaurs, witches, gift shops, escape rooms, café, there’s something for all ages.
Opening the page on the writer’s life as well as life in the Georgian era, this interactive site allows you to try writing with a quill or explore the team rooms. Yes, history with added cake!
At the heart of the World Heritage City of Bath, you can explore the Temple of Minerva, see the thermal springs, view Roman artifacts and walk on an original Roman road.
Offering arguably the best views of Somerset, the site dates back to the Iron age and is strongly linked to the tales of King Arthur. Some say it was the home of Merlin the Magician.