18 ways to experience a virtual Somerset

PUBLISHED: 12:53 09 July 2020 | UPDATED: 12:53 09 July 2020

A pair of Exmoor ponies (c) Simon J Beer/Simon J Beer

A pair of Exmoor ponies (c) Simon J Beer/Simon J Beer

Archant

Have a change of scenery and take advantage of inspirational, local tours and activities that have been put online, says HOLLY LOUISE EELS.

1. All aboard and join train operator GWR who has launched an #EnterTrainment package to help home-schooling parents keep children occupied and educated. Inspiring children to learn at home, #GWREnterTrainment consists of interactive, documentary videos about the history of the railway and the South West and downloadable colouring sheets from GWR’s Iron Horses of the West book. Also, to test the brain, it has a variety of activity sheets, word searches, quizzes and more.

gwr.com/about-us/media-centre/entertrainment

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2. We are all missing the wild outdoors but it won’t be for long. So, to fill that absence Exmoor National Park is bringing Exmoor to your home with #VirtualExmoor. To encourage #Exmoorlater they are sharing beautiful photos of surreal sunrises at Trentishoe to the stunning River Exe. They also have a quiz with Exmoor National Park Centres and there are lots of videos on its YouTube channel and explore Exmoor from your home.

exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

3. Somerset Wildlife Trust and other Wildlife Trusts across the UK have launched WildlifeTV across social media platforms. Every day the wildlife charity will be bringing wildlife and nature into your homes from dawn till dusk. From garden wildlife safaris, daily workouts to exciting bushcraft, learn all about Somerset species and beyond. Tune in, join in and learn more about our county’s wonderful wildlife.

wildlifetrusts.org/webcams

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

4. For the first time in its 93-year history, the National Garden Scheme Gardens (NGS) closed its garden gates, but it is remaining virtually open. Expect stunning Somerset virtual garden visits, many filmed by their owners. They will be hosted on the NGS website and delivered directly to your inbox via the charity’s weekly eNewsletter.

ngs.org.uk

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5. Is all this free time urging you to learn something new? With the extended hours self-isolation is providing, it would be a shame not to dive into learning a new skill to challenge your brain. Research shows that learning new skills can also improve your mental wellbeing by boosting self-confidence and raising self-esteem. So perhaps try learning a language, a hobby or start a new course! Challenge your brain!

somerset.gov.uk/libraries-leisure-and-communities/libraries/

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

6. Cooking is wonderfully therapeutic. Why don’t you indulge your sweet tooth and try a ‘Bake Off’ masterpiece or cook up a storm with new recipes for your household. This county is spoilt for fantastic Somerset chefs and restaurants showcasing their ideas for you all to experiment with. Osip head chef Merlin Labron-Johnson is sharing incredible, tantalising delights. While Noya’s Kitchen in Bath is showcasing delicious Vietnamese recipes. 

Merlin Labron Johnson instagram.com/merlin_johnson instagram.com/noyaskitchen/

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

7. Horticultural lecturer Nigel Cox, of Bridgwater and Taunton College, has redesigned two of his planned horticultural short courses so that they can now be delivered entirely online. The garden is a wonderful place to find some relief from anxieties and stress, so embrace in Nigel’s courses, called Promoting Wellbeing in Your Garden and Wildlife in Your Garden

btc.ac.uk

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

8. Are you missing religious celebrations within your community? Wells Cathedral has been inspiring pilgrimage and visitors for nearly 850 years. Based in the Medieval heart of England’s smallest city, it is offering its virtual audience daily tours on Instagram and Facebook. Watch and listen to webcasts of services and concerts by Wells Cathedral Choir and the Organists of Wells Cathedral. Also, it encourages you to join them on a virtual journey through words and music.

wellscathedral.org.uk

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

9. Reconnecting with the natural world – however, we can – is a wonderful medicine against anxiety and fear. Even though we can’t get outside right now and explore, many local nature reserves are doing what they can to help us through this difficult time. For example, wetland National Nature Reserve on the Somerset Levels RSPB Ham Wall is spoiling us with its fun-filled competitions, blog posts and wildlife sightings, and sounds.

rspb.org.uk/reserves-and-events/reserves-a-z/ham-wall/

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

10. Just like the rest of us, the world’s top celebrities have all been told to stay at home during these strangest of times. But they have been keen to share their experiences of self-isolation and wise words. What about the Somerset celebrities? Well, one of Britain’s leading nature writers, broadcasters and wildlife television producers, Stephen Moss, has been sharing lots of interesting nature tips and comedian Bill Bailey doing what he knows best by keeping his followers entertained. 

twitter.com/StephenMoss_TV twitter.com/BillBailey

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

11. It is recommended that young people aged between five and 18 should do around 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity every day. How about dancing in the living room with Nicky Jenks School of Dance? This Taunton dance school has gone virtual, boasting lots of dance challenges and lessons to keep your little one happy and energised.

nickyjenksdance.co.uk

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

12. Working out from home is the new going out, and the fitness industry is finding alternative ways to keep offering classes and advice. Gyms and personal trainers are streaming videos or ‘lives’ on Instagram and Facebook. MAW Fit in Ilminster is offering inspirational lockdown fitness treats and The Fitness Hub in Portishead is offering free yoga and pilates from the safety of your home. 

mawfit.co.uk or facebook.com/TheFitnessHubPortishead or hubgyms.com

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

13. Get creative! Art classes and online tutorials are in abundance. As many artists will tell you, there’s nothing more soothing and relaxing than getting into the flow of a good painting session. For example, crochet pattern designer and author of the Little Ebook of Crochet series, Kerry Jayne Designs, is sharing a link to the free rainbow of unity crochet pattern. Check out those who have done it already; you are in for some fun competition!

instagram.com/kerryjaynedesigns

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

14. Many theatres across Somerset are streaming past and present shows to keep the whole family entertained every day. Theatre Royal Bath is spoiling its viewers with fabulous archive recordings of shows and The Blakehay theatre in Weston-super-Mare has a bundle of online events to enjoy, including bed time stories and learn about backstage. 

theatreroyal.org.uk blakehaytheatre.co.uk

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

15. North Somerset arts organisation, Theatre Orchard, has gone all out with its wide range of creative ideas, digital activities and initiatives to connect with people in their homes and build a new online community.  From online speakeasy poetry, creative art classes, funky moves with their family-friendly ‘Lockdown Flashmob’, links to theatre shows, themed photo competitions, pilates and so much for everyone to get involved. You will never be bored!

theatreorchard.org.uk

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

16. How much do you really know about your home county? Somerset is a county with depths of tales and treasure, such as the Jane Austen Centre, which is sharing lots of motivational quotes and competitions. Or visit the Somerset Libraries website and dip into their online shop, browse their eBooks and reference material. This is a great way to brush up on that knowledge ready for the eventual return of your local pub quiz. 

somerset.gov.uk/libraries-leisure-and-communities/libraries/

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

17. Whatever the size of your space, you can still create a haven for wildlife. Somerset Wildlife Trust has some great top tips on making a nature-friendly garden. Create a hole in your garden fence, provide easy passage for roaming hedgehogs or have a go at making your own bird boxes and bug hotels. Its website has countless advice on how to help wildlife and fun activities to keep everyone entertained!

somersetwildlife.org

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

18. Fitness classes, bakery lessons, and now wine tasting online are now things people are doing while self-isolating. Award-winning English wine Dunleavy Vineyards is doing lots of vineyard chats and and sessions on its social platforms. It is also offering free delivery when you order more than six bottles. 

twitter.com/DYvineyards

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Latest from the Somerset Life