Stylish self-catering holidays and short breaks in Somerset

9 Unusual Things to Do in Somerset

We cater for everyone here at By the Byre Holidays and we always want all our guests to enjoy their Somerset break, no matter what they get up to!

Occasionally one of our holidaymakers and their family will want to try something unusual to do in Somerset and we’re happy to provide them with some real gems.

We know not everyone wants to go on long country hikes, play a round of golf, sit round a pool or visit Somerset's ancient bronze age past whilst on holiday. So with this in mind, we’ve listed below some of our favourite unusual things to do that can offer you that extra special experience to your holiday in Somerset.

However if all you want is to visit Longleat Safari during your stay with us then that's all good too!

 

Coates English Willow Visitor Centre

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Willows and Wetlands Visitor Centre was founded by Robert Coate back in 1819 and is still growing willow to this day.

The Somerset Levels landscape offers the exact conditions to grow “basket willow” and over the centuries it has become the only area in the UK where it can be perfectly cultivated.

Every aspect of the willow growing and basket making process is carried out by their experienced growers and craftsmen on their farm and in their factory selling directly to the public via their on-site retail shop.

The Willow Visitor Centre offers a warm welcome to adults and children alike. Discover the history of willow growing and basket making and see true craftsmanship at work. Well behaved dogs on leads are also very welcome.

 

Distance from By the Byre Holidays:

  • 47.5 miles (76 kilometres)
 
Travelling Times (estimated):
  • 1 hour 20 minutes by car (dependent on traffic)
  • 3 hours 29 minutes by bicycle
  • 2 hours 39 minutes by bus and train 
 
Opening Hours

Monday to Saturday 9.30am to 5.00pm, closed on Sundays

 

Contact Details

Website: https://www.coatesenglishwillow.co.uk/

Phone: 01823 490249 (Mon-Fri 9-5)

Email -

 
Address:

Coates English Willow
Meare Green Court
Stoke St Gregory
Taunton
Somerset
TA3 6HY

 
Getting there:

Click to open the route on Google Maps

 

North Somerset Bird of Prey Centre

 
 
 
 
 
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This unique centre is a fully licenced zoo, with a BIG heart and is dedicated to the conservation of Birds of Prey through public education and captive breeding. Offering visitors memorable close-up encounters with beautiful birds of prey, it’s certainly an experience not to be forgotten!

You can visit on one of the centre's Open Days and see over 70 resident birds of prey including eagles, owls, kites, vultures, hawks and more. You’ll definitely find something for the whole family to enjoy.

Direct Experience Days at the North Somerset Bird of Prey Centre are also very popular with visitors and are a wonderful way to get an impressive hands-on experience with these powerful birds. You’ll need to book in advance by email, and we also recommend you keep an eye on their Facebook page to see the latest announcements.

 

Distance from By the Byre Holidays:

  • 47.5 miles (76 kilometres)
 
Travelling Times (estimated):
  • 1 hour 20 minutes by car (dependent on traffic)
  • 3 hours 29 minutes by bicycle
  • 2 hours 39 minutes by bus and train
 
Opening Hours

Open 7 days a week

 

Contact Details

Website: https://www.nsbopc.co.uk/

Phone: 07557 785621 leave your name and number for a call back

Email - nsbopc@aol.co.uk

 
Address:

North Somerset Bird of Prey Centre
Smallway Leisure Park
Smallway
Congresbury
Somerset
BS49 5AA

 
Getting there:

Click to open the route on Google Maps

 

Bere Cider Company

 
 
 
 
 
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Traditional craft cidermakers, the team at Bere Cider Company have been trading from their working farm for over 4 generations. You’ll be able to visit their rustic cider shed allowing you to sample and buy some of their quintessential Somerset ciders and apple juice. They only use age old cider making techniques, picking the best 100% English cider apples many of which have been grown in their own orchards.

With a recently opened cafeteria at their farm you'll be completely spoilt for choice. Offering coffees and tea with scrumptious cakes, beautifully presented light lunches, gorgeous cream teas as well as thirst-quenching pints of farm cider from their fully stocked bar, you won’t go thirsty or hungry!

 

Distance from By the Byre Holidays:

  • 44 miles (71 kilometres)
 
Travelling Times from us (estimated):
  • 1 hour 5 minutes by car (dependent on traffic)
  • 3 hours 8 minutes by bicycle
  • 4 hours 7 minutes by bus and train 
 
Opening Hours

Monday to Friday 9am–7pm
Saturday 9am–9pm
Sunday 9am–6pm

Please note the Kitchen opening hours are slightly different: 10am to 3pm

 
Contact Details

Website: http://www.berecidercompany.com/

Phone: 01458 250166 

Email - info@berecidercompany.com

 
Address:

Woodpecker Lodge
Bere
Aller
Langport
Somerset
TA10 0QX

 
Getting there:

Click to open the route on Google Maps

 

King Alfred’s Tower (ok we’ll admit it’s just over the county border in Wiltshire!)

 
 
 
 
 
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Designed during the 1760’s, King Alfred’s Tower is a beautiful 160 foot English folly that was built to commemorate the accession of George III to the British throne and the end of the 7 Years War with France.

The tower is said to have been built near the Egbert Stone, the place where King Alfred the Great rallied his army to fight the Danes at the Battle of Edington in 878. His speech must have worked as his Anglo Saxon troops gave the Danish soldiers a sound thrashing and sent them packing back to Chippenham.

King Alfred’s Tower is a Grade 1 Listed Building, now owned by the National Trust and can be found on Kingsettle Hill near Stourhead, in Wiltshire.

The triangular tower has a hollow centre, with each of its three corners having a round projection. At the top is a viewing platform which visitors can reach by way of a spiral staircase, as well as a statue of King Alfred himself.

Certainly, it’s a quirky enough folly to make it worth taking a look and wandering through the local woodland too.

 

Distance from By the Byre Holidays:

  • 14.5 miles (23 kilometres)
 
Travelling Times (estimated):
  • 1 hour 5 minutes by car (dependent on traffic)
  • 1 hour 25 minutes by bicycle
  • Public Transport is not available so it is advisable to book a local taxi: https://www.abctaxisoffrome.co.uk/
 
Opening Hours

Open Saturdays and Sundays 11am to 3pm. Closed during the week.

 
Contact Details

Website: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stourhead/trails/stourhead-king-alfreds-tower-walk

Phone: 01747 841152

Email - stourhead@nationaltrust.org.uk

 
Address:

Kingsettle Hill
South Brewham
Bruton
BA10 0LB

 
Getting there:

Click to open the route on Google Maps

 

The Golden Retriever Experience

 
 
 
 
 
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Somewhat of a longer drive from us but it very much sounds like it’s worth the effort to go visit, you’ll find the Golden Retriever Experience over in Exmoor, Somerset. Based in the National Park, surrounded by rolling hills with a 10 minute walk to the beach, it’s the perfect place for you and your family to relax and rewind whilst having a unique personal encounter with over 30 beautiful, impeccably trained and affectionate Golden Retrievers.

Visitors rave about their visits over on Tripadvisor and with over 400 5 star reviews and voted the number 1 attraction in Minehead it’s definitely worth visiting to get some doggy cuddles.

The Experience is also set up to help people challenged by:

  • Autism
  • Asperger’s Syndrome
  • Social anxieties
  • Behavioural or learning difficulties
  • PTSD
  • Blindness and loss of hearing clients,
  • Age related dementia
  • Brain injuries

Visit their website to find out more, there’s a wealth of information on hand to help you make the most of your trip.

One thing, we’d certainly recommend you wear old clothes during your visit that you don’t mind being covered in dirt or retriever hair. Unique, original and quirky, this Somerset experience seems like it’s in a doggy league of its own!

Please note Advance Booking is ESSENTIAL. No walk-in's are permitted (for the dogs safety)

 

Distance from By the Byre Holidays:

  • 63 miles (101 kilometres)
 
Travelling Times (estimated):
  • 2 hours 8 minutes by car (dependent on traffic)
  • 5 hours 25 minutes by bicycle
  • 3 hour 40 minutes by bus and train (via Bristol Temple Meads)
 
Opening Hours

Not open to walk-ins from the general public. Sessions need to be pre-booked. 

 
Contact Details

Website: https://thegoldenretrieverexperience.com/

Phone: 01643 821820

Email - Please use the contact form on the website above

 
Address:

Carhampton, Somerset, England, United Kingdom - please note the exact address is only given when an official booking is made

 
Getting there:

Click to open the route on Google Maps

 

Nunney Castle

Not too far away from us you’ll find Nunney Castle, a moated medieval castle found on the South-West side of Frome, just a 15 minute drive away.

Built in the 1370’s by a local knight, Sir Johan de la Mare, who earned royal favour and immense wealth from participating in the Hundred Years War.

Sadly, this picturesque castle was heavily damaged by Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentarians during the English Civil War in 1645 and over time became a magnificent ruin. In 1926 the castle shell was taken into state ownership, cleared of overgrown vegetation and rubble, whilst the moat was also re-excavated.

Now maintained as a tourist attraction by English Heritage the castle is said to closely resemble the Bastille in Paris and has been called by an esteemed historian "aesthetically the most impressive castle in Somerset."

Definitely an unusual small castle to visit whilst you’re out and about around Frome!

 

Distance from By the Byre Holidays:

  • 5.6 miles (9 kilometres)
 
Travelling Times (estimated):
  • 17 minutes by car (dependent on traffic)
  • 36 minutes by bicycle
  • 45 minutes by bus 
 
Contact Details

Website: https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/nunney-castle/

Phone: 01643 821820

Email - https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/forms/customer-services-contact-form/

 
Address:

Castle Street
Nunney
Near Frome
Somerset
BA11 4LW

 
Getting there:

Click to open the route on Google Maps

 

Vobster Quay Inland Diving and Outdoor Swimming Centre

 
 
 
 
 
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** Please note that at this time Vobster Quay are not able to accept New Membership Applications **

Adventure certainly awaits the brave at Vobster Quay, a leading Diving and Swimming Outdoor venue in the UK. With a range of facilities, events and open water swimming activities, the centre is just minutes away from By the Byre. Please note that at present the site is only open to existing members though this may be subject to change in the future.

Vobster Quay provides a mix of awesome open water activities and a great range of diving facilities, designed to ensure you get to have the most fun while you’re with us.

With 36 acres of fresh water, allowing certified divers (from the age of 10 or up) to improve their skills in water depths of 6 to 36 metres, you’ll find a host of diving support services and instructors available to help you.

This open water centre is also available to the casual swimmers (from 16 upwards) and honed triathletes too with clean changing facilities and plenty of parking.

If you want a unique, fun diving or open water swimming experience then Vobster Quay is THE place to visit.

 

Distance from By the Byre Holidays:

  • 6.7 miles (11 kilometres)
 
Travelling Times (estimated):
  • 16 minutes by car (dependent on traffic)
  • 46 minutes by bicycle
  • 1 hour 1 minute by bus 
 
Opening Hours

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday: 8am to 8pm
Wednesday 6.30am to 8pm
Saturday & Sunday: 7-30am to 7pm

 
Contact Details

Website: https://www.vobster.com/

Phone: 01373 814666

Email - info@vobster.com

 
Address:

Upper Vobster
Radstock
Somerset
BA3 5SD

 
Getting there:

Click to open the route on Google Maps

 

Sample Gelato at Palette and Pasture near Frome

 
 
 
 
 
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If you’re a fan of delicious gelato then we suggest you look no further than Palette and Pasture in deepest, rural Somerset.

Based at Pyle Farm, just outside the town of Frome, Palette and Pasture make (in our opinion) the world’s most gorgeous gelato with milk from their own awesome ice cream cows on-site ice cream shop.  Not only do they make wonderful gelato the team also host seasonal trails as well as popular pick-your-own events at various times during the year.

Owned and ran by Paul and Rachel (proud parents to Abigail and Will) Pyle Farm is a wonderful place to while away the afternoon enjoying some of Somerset’s finest produce!

Pyle Farm is a dog friendly venue but please do keep your dogs on a lead and under control.

 

Distance from By the Byre Holidays:

  • 8.3 miles (13 kilometres)
 
Travelling Times (estimated):
  • 15 minutes by car
  • 38 minutes by bicycle
  • Approximately 52 minutes by bus
 
Opening Hours:

Open 12pm till 5pm every Friday

Open 10am till 5pm every Saturday and Sunday

Please note that Pyle Farm is closed Monday to Thursday.

 
Contact Details:

Website: https://paletteandpasture.co.uk/contact-us/

Phone: 01373 836249

Email: – please use the contact form on their website (see link above)

 

Address:

Pyle Farm
Trudoxhill
Near Frome
Somerset
BA11 5DL

 
Getting there:

Click to open the route on Google Maps

 

Burrow Mump

Burrow Mump is a small natural hill in the heart of the Somerset countryside. Rising to a gentle height of 24 metres above the Somerset Levels sat below it offers amazing views. Long associated with King Alfred and his headquarters at Athelney - whilst he and his soldiers fought off the Vikings in the Dark Ages - the hill is capped by the ruins of a 15th century medieval church dedicated to St Michael.

Now a ruined church, Burrow Mump has been designated a National Trust World War 2 memorial with an easy to access car park at the bottom of the hill. We certainly think it’s worth visiting and walking to the romantic ruin at the top, especially to experience the stunning views over the Somerset Levels at sunset.

 

Distance from By the Byre Holidays:

  • 38 miles (61 kilometres)
 
Travelling Times (estimated):
  • 1 hour 10 minutes by car (dependent on traffic)
  • 3 hours 15 minutes by bicycle
  • 3 hour 32 minutes by bus and train (via Bristol Temple Meads)
 
Opening Hours

Open 7 days a week

 
Contact Details

Website (note this is not an "official" website): https://www.britainexpress.com/counties/somerset/countryside/Burrow-Mump.htm

Phone: 0344 800 1895

Email - enquiries@nationaltrust.org.uk

 
Address:

Burrow Bridge, Taunton TA7 0RB

 
Getting there:

Click to open the route on Google Maps

If there are any unusual or quirky things to do in Somerset that we’ve not listed here please do let us know. We plan to expand the list above to turn our post into a really detailed resource for our Somerset guests and website visitors.

 

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