Snuggled as it is between Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Dorset, you might be forgiven for being surprised at how tranquil the county of Somerset can be. In fact, those looking for property for sale in Somerset are no doubt looking to “escape to the country” and leave behind the stress and speed of city living.
Somerset has long been a prosperous and well-regarded county, and this is reflected in the beauty of the architecture. From grand Georgian terraces in Bath to Tudor Taunton or Victorian and Edwardian villas built by wealthy merchants, if you are looking for character you are bound to find it. The characterful nature of the older buildings is often carefully reflected in new buildings, allowing those who prefer good insulation and solid roofing to find a property that still has that special something.
Peace and quiet
Somerset is a county of quiet rolling hills. The Quantocks, Mendips and Blackdowns – flanked by the more dramatic gorges at Cheddar and Ebbor to the east and the start of the Exmoor National Park to the West – surround the straight roads of the Avalon Marsh and Somerset Levels, out of which Glastonbury Tor is the most famous of the viewpoints that rise unhindered from almost sea level.
Climb up Glastonbury Tor to be amazed by the far-reaching views – do it on a misty morning and see just a few other hillocks peeking out like islands in a flood. Visit the UK’s largest gorge at Cheddar (don’t forget to sample the cave-aged cheese) – if you prefer your gorge quiet and gorgeous, the eastern end is usually much quieter than the western end where Cheddar itself is located. It’s entirely possible to live in a sleepy hamlet or isolated farmhouse where the only sounds are birds and animals, yet still be in the thick of it within a few hours drive.
To the outsider moving into the area, Glastonbury (both the town and festival) and Bath are probably the most famous attractions.
Held in June most years, the Glastonbury Festival, known locally as the Pilton Pop Festival, turns 900 acres into a campground and music site for visitors from across the globe (and yes, locals do get a slight advantage when it comes to buying the elusive tickets).
Bath and Wells may be the UK’s smallest city, but it is large enough that it can attract visiting West End musicals or theatre performances. The area also hosts it’s own festival, celebrating music and literature at venues across the city, with a grand finale weekend and Fringe Festival to rival the one held in Edinburgh. Other festivals include the Comedy Festival, Bachfest, Mozartfest, a Carnival in July, Jane Austen Festival in September followed by a Children’s Literature Festival in October and, finally, Christmas Markets offering handcrafted gifts and mulled wine in abundance. In short, you are unlikely to be bored in Bath!
Moving to Somerset allows you to connect with the history of the British Isles. Somerset has been inhabited since prehistoric times and boasts a dazzling array of historical sites to visit, including the medieval Tarr Steps at the South-Western edge of the county, the gracious Arts and Crafts garden of Hestercombe House near Taunton, two preserved railways – the East Somerset line and the West Somerset Railway – as well as the Fleet Air Museum and the Haynes International Motor Museum for a taste of more modern times.
Whatever your interests, those looking for stunning scenery and a place to wind down from city life are bound to find a special somewhere in Somerset.