Legendary Somerset

Legendary Somerset

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Somerset was named ‘The Land of the Summer People’  by the Welsh Celts and Saxons, more than two thousand years ago and has since occupied a uniquely romanticised place within common imagination. From Glastonbury Tor to the Mendip caves, rich traditions permeate Somerset’s landscape and culture which still rings with the echoes of ancient folklore. Somerset still attracts tourists by the thousands to its internationally renowned beauty spots, such as Cheddar Gorge, the 30 mile Mendip Way and the Isle of Avalon, famed in legend as the burial place of King Arthur and Guinevere.

For those unfamiliar with Arthurian legend, it encompasses the stories of the Sword in the Stone, Merlin the wizard and the tale of Lancelot and the Holy Grail. Much of the myth surrounding Arthur has been perpetuated by romantic imagination and recreated in popular culture, literature and film. Debate still rages as to the historical accuracy of King Arthur’s existence, however his legacy can still be explored in every corner of Somerset’s beautiful hills and valleys and there are many individual and group tours available which will allow you to take in your beautiful surroundings whilst learning about their history from an experienced, local guide.

Tourism in Somerset owes much to the Arthurian legend and travellers seeking to immerse themselves in its magical, mythological past have a wealth of resources to draw upon; however it is ultimately up to the individual as to how they might choose to design their Somerset holiday experience. Some opt to stay in one of the beautiful hotels or hostels which abound in the county’s many towns and villages, or to head straight for the city to soak up the local traditions and nightlife. Bath in the north is famous for its spa treatments and is often a popular destination for travellers wanting a more intimate getaway, without having to sacrifice the hustle and bustle of a vibrant urban environment. Many consider log cabin holidays to be the best option for those travelling in groups, as cabins are able to accommodate a number of people and are usually self-catering. For families who like to holiday at the height of summer, a barbecue outside in the sun or under the stars will delight both adults and children.

Man and Dog
Somersetmidlander1231 / Foter / CC BY-NC

Somerset’s many folkloric traditions are inexorably linked to its geological history, and many who come for the immersive imaginative experience often find themselves drawn to its beautiful beaches and sweeping combs. Many parts of Somerset have been designated National Nature Reserves, such as Ebbor Gorge, with some also holding the title of Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Goblin Combe is marked especially as a Site of Specific Scientific Interest, due to its abundance of rare plant species. There seems to be a little something for everyone, whether you want to stay in, go out, relax or discover, but one thing’s for sure, Somerset is the perfect destination for those wishing to create their own legendary holiday experience.