Last Updated on 31st August 2018 by Sophie Nadeau
Somerset is a beautiful county of buttery stone, quaint hamlets, and plenty of historic houses. As such, it’s the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of modern day life in the form of country pubs, traditional local cuisine, and all the countryside… Here’s a one day in Somerset road trip itinerary!
Highlights of Somerset Road Trip Itinerary: Practical advice, tricks, and tips!
This voyage is best taken on a clear and sunny day when the light is at its best and the attractions can all be seen from a long way away (both Burrow Mump and Glastonbury can be seen from quite a distance away). If you’re looking to avoid the traffic, then be sure to take this Somerset road trip midweek during the summer.
Or, better yet, drive during the European shoulder seasons; i.e. late spring or early autumn, when there is much less traffic on the road. Along the way, there are several different types of attractions to visit and enjoy. While the historic churches of Glastonbury and Burrow Mump are free to visit, Lytes Cary has an entrance charge if you’re not yet a National Trust member.
In terms of food, the best pub to enjoy lunch is at the Lord Poulett Arms in Hinton St George. The food is delicious, though does tend to err on the pricier side of things. if you’re looking for a supermarket in which to pick up supplies, there’s a Tesco in Chard, a Sainsburys in Street, and a Morrisons in Glastonbury.
Total distance covered: 44.9 miles
Somerset road trip time: 1 hour 29 minutes
Chard is not just the name of leafy green vegetable but also the name of the highest town in Somerset, just a few miles from the border with Devon. Allegedly the birthplace of powered flight during the Victorian era, other highlights of the town include a town museum and plenty of lush green countryside.
Should you find yourself with an extra couple of hours, I highly recommend taking the time to see Forde Abbey, a former Cistercian Monastery which is located just over the county border, in Dorset. Privately owned, the country house is home to some stunning works of art, including the Mortlake Tapestries. In more recent times, the Abbey has featured in a film adaptation of ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’.
Hinton St George
For those looking for quintessential Somerset, Hinton St George is a welcome step back into the past. A settlement frozen in time, the little hamlet has little by way of attractions. Instead, what Hinton St George lacks in facilities (note that there’s still a pub, tea rooms, and a village shop), it makes up for in pretty façades and a charm seldom found in today’s busy world.
In order to see what the village has to offer and snap a few photos, you’ll probably only need a couple of hours. However, if you want somewhere to escape it all and stay that’s well rated and comfortable, then the Lord Poulett Arms is well rated.
Lytes Cary, Somerton
Lytes Cary is the former family home of the Lyte family. The charming mansion gets its name from a combination of the family who inhabited the property for well over four hundred years, as well as a river nearby named ‘Cary’.
Home to Arts and Crafts inspired gardens and a chapel which dates back to the 14th-century, the property is now owned and cared for by the National Trust. The manor is open on a daily basis throughout the spring, summer, and autumn.
While there, highlights of Lytes Cary include an impressively large Dovecote, an impressive Great Hall, and several bedrooms decorated just how they would have looked during the 17th-century. If you fancy a coffee or wish to purchase a second-hand book, then there’s a lovely café serving cakes and hot beverages throughout the day.
A small village that has little to see and so merits just a short stop during this Somerset road trip, Kingweston’s prime attraction is its impressive church. Surrounded by rowanberry trees and home to a towering spire which can be seen from miles away across the flat landscape, the church was rebuilt during the mid-19th-century.
The village itself was recorded as being called Chinwardestune in the Domesday Book and the elevated position of the settlement means that it offers stunning views onto the green fields surrounding Kingweston. On a clear day, it’s even possible to see as far away as Glastonbury!
If you know anything about South West England, then you’ll likely have heard of Glastonbury. The breathtakingly beautiful feature is that of a tower, perched high above the surrounding landscape of the Somerset Levels, an area of England notorious for flooding.
Once at Glastonbury (and indeed, well beyond you reach the fringes of the town), you’ll see the lone silhouette of a tower, all that remains of a former church dedicated to St Michael which was demolished during the dissolution of the monasteries.
But what makes this particular tor so famous, asides from its sheer beauty (though the town may now be touristic, there’s no denying the striking sight of Glastonbury Tor), is the fact that it lies along a ley line. In Arthurian Legend, the tor is believed to be Avalon. Indeed, the Britons even called the tor ‘Ynys yr Afalon‘ (the Isle of Avalon).
Clarks Village, Street
Clarks Village is a retail outlet on the site of a former factory of C&J Clark shoe manufacturer. While the shoe trader is still in business, the factory closed down, making way for what is now a shopping village in the town of Street.
Today, there are over 90 brands, including high street and designer, offering discounts across the board. The retail outlet is also home to a whole array of coffee shops and restaurants. For those wishing to learn about the history of Clarks shoes, there’s a small museum located within Street.
The last stop of the day (which also happened to be the last stop of my own self-guided Somerset road trip) was the most enjoyable place I visited during my time in the county. Burrow Mump is a wonderful historic site which is also known as ‘Glastonbury without the crowds’.
If you want all the charm of historic church ruins without the masses that flock to Glastonbury, then I highly recommend a trip to this ancient site. Ironically, both words ‘mump’ and ‘burrow’ translate as ‘hill,’ meaning that the site’s name translates to ‘hill hill’.
Archaeological evidence suggests that the site was used as early as the Roman era, perhaps before. Evidence of Roman pottery has been found on site, while a medieval church dedicated to St Michael was constructed on the hill during the 15th-century. A later church was built on site during the 18th-century, the remains of which can still be seen to this day.