Surrounded by our own lovely gardens, and Double Gates Drove where glow worms glow on early July evenings, we are also blessed with lovely walking country through the orchards, along the River Brue, and further afield through the Somerset levels teeming with wildlife.
If you want to get in a car to explore the area, then the following are just some of the very varied attractions in the area, with something to suit everyone.
The National Garden scheme for Somerset and Dorset feature many local gardens, and local villages frequently host open garden events during the summer months.
This is located in Bruton (about 12 miles drive). When you enter the front door from the High Street, you certainly get the WOW factor. Probably the most stylish restaurant in the area with Michelin Bib Gourmand annually since 2010. Usually very busy, especially at the weekend. Some might find it noisy, due to the stripped floors, high ceilings. Modern menu covering most tastes. Moderate to expensive cost. Open all day for breakfast, lunch, dinner. Includes a bakery, with a traditional pizza oven. The owners also manage the Roth Bar and Grill at the nearby Hauser and Wirth Art Gallery,…
Beautiful Gertrude Jekyll-inspired gardens, kitchen gardens and beautiful manor house. The echoes of the past haunt this now empty Tudor manor house, so beautifully restored in the 1920s by the Lyle family. They lived in style, installing a sprung dance floor; the winding mechanism can still be seen under the sweeping main staircase. http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/barrington-court/
The Fleet Air Arm Museum represents the flying arm of the Royal Navy. With four exhibition halls, over ninety aircraft and over 2 million records and 30 thousand artefacts the Museum is the world’s second largest naval aviation Museum. This is a must-see attraction if you are visiting the South West, Devon, Dorset, Wiltshire or Somerset with its wide range of helicopters and fixed wing aircraft exhibits. A perfect all weather venue for family holidays. http://www.fleetairarm.com/
There are many myths and legends associated with the Tor – it is the home of Gwyn ap Nudd, the Lord of the Underworld and King of the Fairies, and a place where the fairy folk live. In early-medieval times there was a small monks’ retreat on top of the Tor, founded probably in the time of St Patrick in the mid-400s. This was followed in the early 1100s by a chapel, St Michael de Torre. This was destroyed in a powerful earthquake in 1275 and rebuilt in the early 1300s. The tower is all that remains today. http://www.glastonburytor.org.uk/introduction.html
The fields here used to be arable farmland, but now they are being looked after so that they are ideal for wetland birds and other wildlife. We have put in structures to keep the water levels high and have created miles of new ditches and shallow water-filled gutters, and dug out numerous shallow pools or ‘scrapes’. Now you can see lapwings, snipe, curlews and redshanks nesting here in summer, as well as yellow wagtails, skylarks and meadow pipits. http://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/g/greylake/about.aspx
The biggest motor museum in the country, The Haynes International Motor Museum (an Educational Charitable Trust, No. 292048) is dedicated to restore, retain and preserve motoring and motorcycling items of historical and cultural interest in England. It is an International Motor Museum taking the view that the complete history of the automobile and motorcycle can only be covered by looking at the developments from all over the world. http://www.haynesmotormuseum.com/home.php
Famous for their peonies, tree peonies and irises (the largest UK grower and Chelsea winners). Peony Valley is a six acre collection of peonies, first started over 130 years ago. Well worth a visit. www.kelways.co.uk
An ancient market town in the heart of Somerset. It retains much of its old world charm and is unique among the many ancient settlements in this remote unspoilt area known as the Somerset Levels and Moors. It is set in a parish of 170 acres and its historical features suggest its earlier importance. http://www.langport.org.uk/
Intimate manor house with Arts and Crafts-style garden Lytes Cary Manor is an intimate medieval manor house with a beautiful Arts and Crafts garden where you can imagine living. Originally the family home of Henry Lyte, where he translated the unique Niewe Herball book on herbal remedies, Lytes Cary was then lovingly restored in the 20th century by Sir Walter Jenner. http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lytes-cary-manor/
Montacute House is a magnificent, glittering mansion, built in the late 16th century for Sir Edward Phelips. There are many renaissance features, and the Long Gallery, the longest of its kind in England, displays over 60 of the finest Tudor and Elizabethan portraits from the National Portrait Gallery collection. The state rooms display a fine range of period furniture and textiles, including samplers from the Goodhart collection. http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/montacute-house/
“Shapwick Heath National Nature Reserve is not only a fantastic place to see wildlife, but a monument to the history and ingenuity of Neolithic man preserved through the amazing Sweet Track. It’s a unique window to the past and a place everyone should try to visit.” Phil Holms, Senior Reserve Manager http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/ourwork/conservation/designations/nnr/1006131.aspx
Founded by St. Aldhelm in AD 705, the Abbey has developed from Saxon cathedral to the worshipping heart of a monastic community, and finally, to one of the most beautiful of England’s parish churches. For many it is still the ‘cathedral of Dorset’, and our Benedictine heritage lives on in the daily offering of prayer and praise. www.sherborneabbey.com
The Somerset Levels and Moors are unique, timeless and tranquil. They are dotted with heritage sites, historic towns and echoes from the past; bursting with wildlife under vast skies and home to a vibrant farming, business and arts community. http://www.visitsomerset.co.uk/explore-somerset/countryside/somerset-levels-and-moors
One of the best known pre-historic monuments in Europe, Stonehenge is located in Wiltshire. The ancient ceremonial landscape is of great archeological and wildlife interest. http://www.stonehenge.co.uk
When Stourhead first opened in the 1740s, a magazine described it as ‘a living work of art’. The world-famous landscape garden has at its centrepiece a magnificent lake reflecting classical temples, mystical grottoes, and rare and exotic trees, and offers a day of fresh air and discovery. http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stourhead/
About 6 miles distant, the other side of Somerton. Large hotel / pub /restaurant overlooking the Village Green in Long Sutton. Excellent food, good service, moderately priced http://www.thedevonshirearms.com/
The Great Crane Project aims to restore healthy populations of wild common cranes throughout the UK. Cranes are wonderful, iconic birds that are sadly missing from many of their former wetland haunts in the UK. They were lost as a breeding bird around 400 years ago as a result of the draining of their wetland nesting sites, and hunting for food. In 2010 they were reintroduced to the Somerset Levels. View more information here >> http://www.thegreatcraneproject.org.uk/
About 5 miles distant near Lytes Cary. In Kingsdon village, but difficult to find. Highly recommended for Sunday lunch, when essential to book. Menu usually has some game options. http://www.kingsdoninn.co.uk
Just one mile from Sleepy Hollow this family run pub serves very traditional British food, in big portions. Usually fairly busy, so may be necessary to book at weekends home prepared food seven days a week. Ideal for lunch! http://www.thequarryinn-keinton mandeville.co.uk
About 4 miles away, lovely old village pub with separate restaurant, but also bar meals. Usually fairly busy, so may need to book at weekends. Good food, moderately expensive. http://www.redlionbabcary.co.uk
The NNR consists mainly of restored peat fields and water-filled compartments containing islands with areas of reeds and bulrushes. There are areas of poor fen and also an old fragment of acid mire that is being restored.
The Centre is owned and run by the Coate family, who have been growing willow on the Somerset Levels since 1819. Visitors will find a warm welcome and are invited to learn about the history and art of willow growing and basketmaking. The Centre was opened by David Bellamy in 1987 and has proved a huge tourism success for Somerset. (see website)