Take a train to Somerset and discover an English county with a very distinct personality. Think of Somerset and you will immediately imagine miles of rolling hills, farmland and historic towns. With amazing towns to visit including Bath, Yeovil and Taunton, alongside plenty of fabulous rural destinations, it's a sure bet for a day trip or weekend break.
Famous for its cider production, this gorgeous and largely rural county is full of popular destinations and hidden gems. You can travel by train from London to Somerset (bath) in around 1h and 30m, swapping the city for charming history and nature. Major stopping points include Bath, where you can visit the Roman Baths and see the Gothic Bath Abbey. This is one of the UK's most visited towns, drawing those who appreciate its amazingly well-preserved ancient history. Taunton is the county town and is the location of the 12th century Taunton Castle and Vivary Park, making it a superb destination for a family trip.
Go for walks at Ninesprings or visit Montacute House in Yeovil, which is also near Yeovilton, a naval air station that puts on shows in the summer. Also in Somerset, you can visit the home of the nation's favourite cheese in Cheddar. With the dramatic Cheddar Gorge and the haunting Gough's Cave, it features some of the most unique outdoor attractions in the UK. All of these wonderful locations are easily reached from London, often departing from Paddington. Other cities close to Somerset include Bristol, Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Southampton and Oxford.
This magnetic town is known for its historic architecture and great shopping opportunities. Check out the SouthGate shopping centre with its boutique arcade, as well as the small shops around the beautiful Pulteney Bridge.
This quintessentially Somerset town is full of great sights but retains its characteristically relaxed atmosphere. The Museum of Somerset is located here, which will help you further appreciate this great county.
Famous the world over for its legendary music festival in the summer, this town is well worth a visit throughout the year. Glastonbury Abbey remains one of the enduring icons of Somerset, with its own unique legends to discover when you visit it. Be sure to bring a good camera for the abbey and the striking countryside nearby.
Aviation enthusiasts flock to Yeovilton Naval Air Base when air shows are taking place, and you can also visit the amazing Fleet Air Arm Museum throughout the year. Nearby Ham Hill has both Roman and Iron Age archaeological sites as well as a nature reserve.
With Longleat Safari Park and the Rock Lane Chapel, an art centre housed in a stately home, Frome is a great destination for travellers of all ages. The town is also surrounded by a wonderful landscape including the splendid Shearwater Lake.
The popular holiday destination of Somerset is very easy to get to by train, but you’ll be amazed at how removed it feels from its urban neighbours. London to Bath trains don't require a change, often stopping at Reading, Didcot Parkway, Swindon and Chippenham on the way. This service is provided by Great Western Railway. The train is very regular, usually departing every 30 minutes to get you to Somerset in no time.
You can travel from Oxford to Yeovil Junction in 3h and 30m, usually changing at Basingstoke for CrossCountry services. The main stopping points include Reading, Salisbury and Gillingham. From Bristol Temple Meads to Taunton, it's a mere 30-minute journey on certain services.
Check out the key stopping points around Somerset. Head to the better-known towns for historic interest, or escape to the country with a stay in charming and serene villages that are among some of England's most quaint and historic locations.