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20 great family days out in Somerset

PUBLISHED: 10:49 04 September 2018 | UPDATED: 13:46 13 September 2018

Bishops Palace & Gardens, Wells (c) travellinglight / Getty Images

Bishops Palace & Gardens, Wells (c) travellinglight / Getty Images

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From beautiful gardens to iconic attractions, fascinating museums to family-friendly theme parks, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to a family day out in Somerset

1. Grand Pier, Weston-Super-Mare

With hundreds of arcade games and amusements, a go-karting track, ghost train, ‘Britain’s smallest rollercoaster’ and plenty more, it’s doubtful you’ll get bored on Weston’s Grand Pier (your pockets might just be a little emptier).

Opening times: Open daily from 10am with closing times varying throughout the year.

Is it budget friendly? It’s only £1 for entry onto the pier but you will have to fork out for amusements and attractions while there. You can buy an unlimited RIDES wristband from £12.50 (or £7.50 for children).

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2. Wookey Hole Caves

As well as soaking in the beauty and charm of the stunning caves, there are over 20 fantastic attractions to enjoy on a visit to Wookey Hole. Wander through the ‘Valley of the Dinosaurs’, escape the magical mirror maze and uncover the history of the village at the Cave Museum.

Opening times: Open from 10am daily apart from when they close over the winter period.

Is it budget friendly? Book online to save 15% off the gate price. With the discount admission for adults is £16.15, children £12.75 and under 3s go free.

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3. Forde Abbey and Gardens

There’s plenty to see and do on a visit to Forde Abbey House and Gardens – from the beautifully preserved abbey, 30 acres of award-winning gardens and the country’s highest powered water feature.

Opening times: The House is open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays 12 – 4pm up until October 31 2018 while the gardens are open daily throughout the year from 10am – 4.30pm.

Is it budget friendly? Admission is £13 for adults and £5 for children or if you fancy just visiting Forde Abbey’s beautiful gardens, admission is £10 for adults and £5 for children.

4. Cheddar Gorge & Caves

Whether enjoying breathtaking views from the top of Cheddar Gorge or exploring inside the gorge’s staggering caves, the designated Site of Special Scientific Interest is truly a spectacle to see.

Opening times: Open daily from 10am on January 1 – December 30 and closed December 25 and 31.

Is it budget friendly? For a full day exploring the Cheddar Gorge and Caves, its worth booking tickets in advance. With the 15% online discount, admission for adults is £16.95 and £12.70 for children. Under 5’s go free.

5. Hestercombe Gardens

With fifty acres of beautiful landscape and formal gardens, as well as stunning views across the surrounding countryside, it’s easy to while away an afternoon at Hestercombe Gardens.

Opening times: Open daily apart from Christmas Day. The gardens are open from 10am-6pm.

Is it budget friendly? Admission is £11.80 for adults, £5.90 for children and free for under 5s. Entry includes access to the Stables Café, Gardens Shop, Plant Centre and under 7s play area.

6. Fleet Air Arm Museum, Ilchester

Fleet Air Arm Museum boasts an extensive collection of Royal Naval Air Service material, from early Naval aviation, aircraft from World War II, through to the first British built Concorde. Ideal for a rainy day!

Opening times: From March 30, the museum is open daily from 10am-5.30pm while during winter opening hours the museum is open Wednesday to Sunday only from 10am-4.30pm. The museum is closed on December 24, 25 and 26.

Is it budget friendly? Save 20% on admission by booking your tickets online, meaning tickets cost £12.75 for adults, £9.50 for children and free for under 5s. Family ticket prices start at £26.00.

7. Bishop’s Palace & Gardens, Wells

Nestled in the heart of England’s smallest city, Bishop’s Palace & Gardens date back 800 years where they’ve played home to the bishops of Bath and Wells. Included in the admission price, enjoy a guided tour to fully immerse yourself in the location’s history and beauty.

Opening times: Summer (March 25-October 28) – open daily, 10 am-6pm and winter (October 28-March 31) – open daily, 10am-4pm

Is it budget friendly? Admission is £8.95 for adults, £3.95 for children and free for under 5s (cost includes a contribution to Gift Aid). Admission includes access to the medieval Palace and Undercroft, ruined Great Hall, 14 acres of gardens and the Bishop’s Chapel.

8. Somerset Lavender, Faukland

Wander through over 20 different varieties of lavender at the Somerset Lavender farm in Faulkland, as well as admiring the diverse wildlife that they attract. There’s also a plant nursery and farm shop on-site to take local produce home.

Opening times: 10am-5pm, Wednesday-Sunday and Bank Holidays, open May-September

Is it budget friendly? Entry is free. Donations are welcome.

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9. The West Somerset Rural Life Museum, Alleford

In his article for Somerset Life, Stephen Roberts described the inside of The West Somerset Rural Life Museum as a ‘veritable cornucopia of Somerset Life, with displays of artefacts covering everything from domesticity, recreation, to the lot and tools of the tradesmen and the equipment once wielded on our farms, such as ploughs and seed drills.’ There’s plenty more to discover – and you can expect a warm welcome from staff during your visit.

Opening times: The museum is open April to the end of October every year. Open 10.30am-4pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and 1.30pm-4.30pm on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays.

Is it budget friendly? Yes! Admission is only £2 for adults and 50p for children.

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10. Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, Wraxall

The 100 acre park is packed full of zoo wildlife and farm animals, adventure play (including a gigantic maze to explore) and educational exhibits.

Opening times: Open daily including Bank Holidays (closed Sunday and over a short break over Christmas). Open 10.30am-5pm from February-November and open 10.30am-4pm during December and January.

Is it budget friendly? Prices are dependent on when you want to visit, however, booking online saves you 20%.

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11. Glastonbury Abbey

Glastonbury Abbey is one of England’s earliest, most important and most fascinating abbeys. After all, Glastonbury is said to the birthplace of Christianity in England. According to Arthurian legend, King Arthur and Queen Gunievere are said to buried in the Abbey’s grounds. Wander through the beautifully preserved ruins and 36 acres of stunning parkland, and from March to October, enhance your visit with their costumed guides.

Opening times: Open daily except for Christmas Day. January, February, November and December open 9am-4pm. March, April, May, September and October open 9am-6pm. June-August open 9am-8pm.

Is it budget friendly: Admission is £7.35 for adults and £4.46 when booked in advance online. This price includes a donation to Glastonbury Abbey.

12. Brean Leisure Park

Brean Leisure Park has plenty to offer families looking for a fun-packed day out in the county. With Brean Splash Waterpark, Brean Theme Park, Brean Golf Club, Brean Play, The Tavern and Bucket & Spade entertainment venues, plus plenty of places to enjoy a bite to eat, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to things to do.

Opening times: Visit the website for various opening times of each attraction.

Is it budget friendly? Admission is free into Brean Leisure Park – you instead pay for the attraction you wish to use while you’re there. Parking is £3 for the whole day.

13. Montacute TV Radio Toy Museum

Be wowed by the exciting and extensive collection of TV and radio memorabilia all housed at the Montacute TV Radio Toy Museum. With an immense array of toys, books, annuals, jigsaws and games on display, prepare to feel nostalgic for those much-loved programmes you enjoyed from an early age.

Opening times: The museum and tea room is open for various times throughout the year – see the full list of opening times on the website here.

Is it budget friendly? Admission is £8.99 for adults, £5.99 for children and children under 4 can visit for free.

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14. The Museum of Somerset, Taunton

Housed in Taunton’s 12th century castle, The Museum of Somerset boasts a variety of fascinating exhibits in its nine themed galleries, as well regularly changing art exhibitions in their contemporary gallery spaces. It’s a great way to spend a few hours discovering more about the county’s history. Make sure to find The Glass Bridge behind the museum, which links Castle Green to Goodland Gardens.

Opening times: Open 10am-5pm, Tuesday-Saturday and Bank Holiday Mondays.

Is it budget friendly? Admission is free. The Museum is run by the South West Heritage Trust, with donations welcome.

15. American Museum in Britain

The only museum of American decorative and folk art outside the United States, the American Museum in Britain takes visitors on a journey through the history of America, from its early settlers to the 20th century. There’s also extensive parkland and impressive gardens to explore.

Opening times: Open 10am-5pm, Tuesday-Sunday. Closed Mondays except during August and Bank Holidays. Open 12-4.30pm, November 22-December 16

Is it budget friendly? To access the museum, exhibition and gardens, adult admission is £14 for adults and £8.50 for children (up to 18 years), with a Gift Aid donation.

16. Glastonbury Tor

Rich in history and shrouded in legend, the National Trust managed Glastonbury Tor is a pleasure to trek up and admire St Michael’s Tower.

Opening times: N/A

Is it budget friendly? Access is free.

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17. Shapwick Heath National Nature Reserve

Covering over 500 hectares at the heart of the Avalon Marshes, the Shapwick National Nature Reserve provides walkers, the chance to enjoy peace and quiet in a stunning location, as well discovering all sorts of wildlife.

Opening times: Open to visits all year round.

Is it budget friendly? Admission to the nature reserve is free but parking charges do apply (£3 for the day).

18. Roman Baths, Bath

Walk on ancient pavements as the Romans did 2,000 years ago at The Roman Baths, one of the finest historic sites in Northern Europe. Follow an audio guide around the extensive remains and explore the interactive museum to learn more about Roman life in Bath. There are, of course, plenty more things to see and do in beautiful Bath – see our pick of attractions here.

Opening times: Open daily except for December 25 and 26 with opening times varying throughout the year (opening hours are extended during the summer).

Is it budget friendly? Admission is £17.50 for adults and £10.50 for children up until the end of August (and become cheaper from September). If you fancy visiting the Fashion Museum and Victoria Art Gallery as well, take advantage of their Saver ticket.

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19. Brunel’s SS Great Britain, Bristol

Discover the rich, and fascinating, history of ‘the ship that changed the world’. The Brunel’s SS Great Britain hosts plenty of educational exhibits to please visitors young and old. There’s also a packed schedule of events and activities running throughout the year.

Opening times: Open daily except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the second Monday in January (January 14 2019). Open various times throughout the year – 10am-6pm, March 23-October 2018 and 10am-4.30pm, November 2018-March 2019.

Is it budget friendly? Admission is £16.50 for adults, £9.50 for children and under 5s go for free. Book online to save yourself 5%. Tickets to Brunel’s SS Great Britain include free unlimited return visits for a year.

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20. Ferne Animal Sanctuary, near Chard

Set in more than 50 acres, Ferne Animal Sanctuary is a wonderful destination to visit, with a nature trail, ponds, play area, café and, of course, a myriad animals of who are all getting a well-deserved second chance.

Opening times: Open daily except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. In summer the sanctuary opens from 10am-5pm and in the winter 10am until dusk.

Is it budget friendly? A reasonable £4.95 for adults and free for children. The admission goes towards caring for Ferne Animal Sanctuary’s 300 resident animals.

Have we missed your favourite family-friendly day out in Somerset? Let us know via Facebook and Twitter.

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