Somerset is a rural county of contrasting landscape. It contains the wild rolling hills of Exmoor and the Mendips and the large, flat expanses of the Somerset Levels with ancient history and legends. In the Mendips, the remains of Cheddar Man, who lived more than 9000 years ago, were found in one of the caves of Cheddar Gorge; other bones discovered nearby date back 140,000 years and the caves continued to be lived in until modern times. On the Somerset levels, Glastonbury and Brent Knoll were once islands surrounded by water and from the top of Glastonbury Tor the water still glints in the sun. This is the fabled Isle of Avalon and the land of King Arthur. It was here that archeologists found one of the world’s oldest known engineered roadways, the 6000 year old Sweet Track, made from oak planks fixed above the marshy ground.
You can visit the ancient towns of Dunster, with its castle perched high on the hill, Glastonbury, where King Arthur is said to be buried, and Wells with its jewel of a cathedral and spring water that flows through the streets from St. Andrew’s Well.
Below are just a sample of tours we can offer but of course the choice is almost limitless.
1. The smallest city in England: Bath, Wells, Bath
We head out of Bath over the rolling hills of North Somerset but as we approach Wells we can see the Somerset Levels stretching out below us, with a view of Glastonbury Tor in the distance. We have time for a walking tour of the city including the Vicar’s Close, the oldest street in England and Penniless Porch where beggars have sat for at least 500 years. We also can see the Bishop’s Palace, surrounded by a moat that was built as a job creation scheme after the Black Death. In the cathedral, we can marvel at the wonderful scissor arches that look so modern but in fact are ancient and check the time against the oldest clock in England. On Wednesdays and Saturdays you can spend time in the colourful and thriving market in the Market Place before heading back to Bath.
2. In the steps of King Arthur: Bath, Glastonbury, Bath
We head straight to Glastonbury, going past Worthy Farm, site of the famous Glastonbury Music Festival. The landscape here is dominated by the Tor, where Guinevere, King Arthur’s Queen was supposedly imprisoned. We can visit Glastonbury Abbey, traditionally claimed as the last resting place of King Arthur, which was one of the largest and richest abbeys in England until it was destroyed by Henry Vlll. Its ruins today are impressive.
Visit the beautiful garden of the Chalice Well where legend says the Holy Grail is hidden. Those who are energetic can climb the Tor with your guide for fine and extended views over the Somerset landscape.
1. Tour of north Somerset: Bath, Wells, Glastonbury, Cheddar, Bath
Leave Bath and head through Duchy of Cornwall farmland and rolling countryside to the exquisite and tiny City of Wells with its beautiful cathedral, England’s oldest street and Bishop’s Palace. Continue to Glastonbury where the ruined Abbey evokes tales of King Arthur. Its Tor, topped by a ruined church tower, is a reminder of the troubled history of the church. Then travel on across the atmospheric Levels of Somerset, King Arthur’s fabled Avalon, criss-crossed by watery channels which are a lure for unusual wildlife, and produce willow from which cricket bats and baskets are made. The route back to Bath is through the gorge at Cheddar, famous worldwide for cheese production, and also for its ghostly limestone caves.
2. Dunster and a taste of Exmoor
a) Leaving from Bristol or Bath
b) Leaving from Wells or Weston-super-Mare
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All guides have gained the coveted Blue Badge and all are members of the Institute of Tourist Guiding. We have specialists in all the topics covered and guides speaking English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German and Dutch. We aim to make tours informative and entertaining.