20 Unusual Visitor Attractions in Somerset

Are you planning a trip to Somerset and looking for activities beyond the traditional tourist trail?

In the heart of South West England, Somerset offers a treasure trove of unique experiences, quirky attractions and hidden gems waiting to be explored.

From exploring the enigmatic Ebbor Gorge to meeting the Wookey Hole Witch, the county’s offbeat activities will intrigue and surprise you.

This guide to alternative sightseeing in Somerset will lead you to the path less travelled, uncovering the unexpected and immersing you in the rich cultural heritage of this enchanting region.

So, let’s embark on an unconventional journey and discover some of the more unusual things to do in Somerset.

1. Walk to Glastonbury Tor

Glastonbury Tor

First on our list of unusual things to do in Somerset is Glastonbury Tor.

This majestic hill towers over the Somerset landscape and offers an unparalleled mix of history, mythology and stunning vistas to boot.

Rising from the flat, lush plains of the Somerset Levels, the Tor, which reaches 158 meters above sea level, is crowned by the roofless St. Michael’s Tower – all that remains of a 14th-century church.

The walk to the summit, while steep, is a thoroughly rewarding endeavour. As you follow the spiralling path upwards, prepare for breathtaking panoramas that span the Mendip Hills, the Somerset Levels, and beyond.

Rich in history and steeped in legend, Glastonbury Tor has long been a site of both Christian and ancient spiritual significance.

Its terraced sides are believed to be remnants of a medieval three-dimensional labyrinth, adding an intriguing layer to its charm.

Suitable for most fitness levels, the hike to the summit is a must-do experience when in Somerset.

Don’t forget to pack your camera for those stunning views, and ensure you wear sturdy footwear for the climb.

Best of all, access to the Tor is free and it’s open year-round, making it a versatile addition to any Somerset itinerary.

Opening Times – All Hours

Address – Glastonbury, BA6 8BG

2. Meet the Wookey Hole Witch

Dive into the depths of Somerset’s folklore and limestone at Wookey Hole Caves, home to the legendary tale of the Wookey Hole Witch.

This world-famous show cave near the village of Wookey Hole, Somerset, adds a hint of the mystical to a day out in the county.

According to the tale, the witch, turned to stone by an exorcising monk, still resides within the caves.

Visitors are greeted by the fascinating sight of her ‘frozen’ form, a dramatic stalagmite formation said to resemble a cloaked figure, forever capturing imaginations.

But the magic doesn’t stop at the witch’s legend. Wookey Hole Caves are an incredible exhibition of natural geology.

The intricate limestone formations and the River Axe flowing through the caves paint a captivating picture of the Earth’s ancient past.

Guided tours provide visitors with a wealth of geological and historical information, ensuring an educational experience alongside the allure of the legends.

Located within a larger complex that includes a range of family-friendly attractions like a 4D cinema, a magical mirror maze, and the valley of the dinosaurs, the story of the Wookey Hole Witch promises a thrilling addition to any travel itinerary and is perfect for visitors looking for unusual things to do in Somerset.

So why not add a dash of mystery to your Somerset exploration?

Opening Times – 9:30am – 5pm

Address – The Mill, High St, Wookey Hole, Wells BA5 1BB

3. Visit Dunster Working Water Mill

This beautifully restored 18th-century mill, situated in the historic village of Dunster, provides a fascinating glimpse into the past.

At Dunster Working Water Mill, you’re not just observing from the sidelines – this mill is very much a working exhibit. It operates regularly, producing wholemeal, spelt, and rye flour using traditional methods and machinery.

As you watch the millstones grinding and listen to the powerful rhythm of the waterwheel, you’ll gain a real sense of the industry that once powered the local economy.

The mill’s charm lies in its authenticity and attention to detail. Exhibits showcase a range of historical milling equipment, and informative signs detail the process of turning grain into flour.

The mill itself is nestled in a picturesque setting, situated alongside the River Avill and surrounded by beautiful gardens that make for a perfect picnic spot.

Don’t forget to visit the adjacent mill shop, where you can purchase a bag of flour ground right there in the mill – a tangible (and tasty) memento of your visit.

Easily combined with a visit to Dunster Castle, the Dunster Working Water Mill offers a unique, engaging experience for history buffs, families, and those simply seeking quirky things to do in Somerset.

Opening Times – 10am – 5pm

Address – Dunster, Minehead, TA24 6SW

4. See Nunney Castle

Nestled in the quaint village of Nunney, near Frome, Somerset, stands the striking Nunney Castle, one of the most intriguing hidden gems in Somerset just waiting to be discovered.

This compact yet impressive castle is an inviting attraction for those seeking a taste of England’s medieval past away from the usual tourist routes.

Built in the late 14th century by Sir John de la Mare, a local knight, Nunney Castle presents a unique blend of French and English architectural styles.

Its design, with a towering rectangular keep surrounded by a serene moat, is reminiscent of French châteaux, making it a unique find in the English countryside.

Though partially ruined, the castle still retains an air of its former grandeur. As you approach, take a moment to admire the fortification’s surviving four corner towers and curtain wall, offering a vivid picture of its defensive capabilities.

While interiors are inaccessible, visitors can walk around the outside and imagine the hustle and bustle of medieval life within the castle’s walls.

Opening Times – All Hours (Interior Private)

Address – Castle St, Nunney, Frome, BA11 4LW

5. Climb Wells Cathedral’s Central Tower

Wells Cathedral

Set in the heart of Somerset, Wells Cathedral offers more than just a traditional visit.

An exciting adventure awaits the curious and the brave – the Behind-The-Scenes Tower Climb.

This engaging experience lifts the veil on the cathedral’s mysteries, offering a chance to view Wells and its surroundings from a whole new perspective.

Beginning at the cathedral’s central tower, visitors are introduced to a world steeped in history.

As you ascend over 200 stone steps, winding staircases guide you through areas of the cathedral rarely seen by the public.

The climb unfolds various secrets of the cathedral’s construction and age-old stories from its past.

You’ll traverse hidden areas like the Chain Bridge and the High Parts, each revealing another layer of the building’s intriguing past.

Reaching the tower’s summit, you are met with a rewarding sight – a breathtaking panorama of Wells and the Somerset countryside beyond.

It’s a remarkable view that elevates the experience to something truly memorable.

The Wells Cathedral Tower Climb is a unique offering for those seeking to blend their love of history, architecture, and adventure.

Remember, the climb is physically demanding, so come prepared and be sure to book your place ahead of time.

Opening Times – 7am – 6pm

Address – Cathedral Green, Wells, BA5 2UE

6. Take an Overnight Ghost-Tour of Shepton Mallet Prison

Elevate your exploration of Somerset’s history with an experience that ventures into the thrilling and the uncanny – the Overnight Ghost Tour of Shepton Mallet Prison.

This tour invites the bravest of explorers to delve into the paranormal world while discovering the dark past of Britain’s oldest operating prison.

Shepton Mallet Prison, with its imposing walls and history dating back to 1625, sets the stage for an unforgettable night.

Your ghostly journey commences as the sun sets, transforming the prison’s austere ambience into an eerie spectacle.

Guided by experienced professionals, you’ll traverse the shadowy corridors, exploring former cell blocks and execution rooms, each brimming with haunting tales.

Tools for ghost hunting are provided, with activities such as vigils and seances conducted, aiming to communicate with the other side.

You’ll leave Shepton Mallet Prison with a newfound appreciation for Somerset’s cultural heritage h and perhaps a few spine-tingling tales of your own to tell!

Opening Times – 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Address – Frithfield Lane, Shepton Mallet, BA4 5FQ

7. Visit Burrow Mump

Experience a slice of serenity and soak in panoramic views at Burrow Mump, an unassuming yet significant landmark located in the small village of Burrowbridge, Somerset.

Resembling a mini version of the famous Glastonbury Tor, Burrow Mump is a natural hill topped with the evocative ruins of an ancient church, St. Michael’s.

Burrow Mump offers a tranquil setting where nature, history, and spirituality converge. At the summit is the remains of  St. Michael’s Church – a Grade II listed building.

But the true reward of your climb is the breathtaking, 360-degree view of the Somerset Levels and Moors, with the River Parrett winding its way through the landscape.

This vantage point has played a crucial role in history, serving as a lookout during the Civil War and WWII.

After exploring the site, retreat to the local pub at the foot of the hill for a refreshing beverage or a traditional English meal.

The free entry and open access throughout the year make Burrow Mump an inviting location for a peaceful picnic or a moment of reflection.

Whether you’re seeking a scenic walk, a snapshot of history, or just unconventional Somerset destinations to experience, Burrow Mump is a hidden waiting to be discovered.

Opening times – All Hours

Address – Burrow Bridge, Burrowbridge, Taunton TA7 0RB

8. Visit the The Helicopter Museum

Enter the captivating world of rotary-wing aircraft at The Helicopter Museum in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset.

As the largest dedicated helicopter collection in the world, this unique museum takes you on an immersive journey through the history and diverse uses of helicopters.

Within the museum’s spacious hangars, you’ll encounter an impressive collection of over 80 helicopters, ranging from pioneering prototypes to modern marvels.

Each exhibit tells a story of innovation and human ingenuity, from the personal royal helicopters of Queen Elizabeth II to the record-breaking G-Lynx.

Visitors can also climb into select cockpits for a closer look at the controls, fostering a greater understanding and appreciation of these complex machines.

Supplementing the helicopter exhibits, the museum hosts a variety of events throughout the year, transforming into a bustling hub of classic car rallies, aviation fairs, and more.

With the added bonus of an outdoor play area, the museum promises a well-rounded day out for the whole family, delivering an insightful and engaging experience.

A top Weston-super-Mare attraction, that’s sure that’s sure to elevate your Somerset visit.

Opening Times – Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 5:30pm

Address – Locking Moor Road, Weston-super-Mare, BS24 8PP

9. See the Westonzoyland Pumping Station Museum

Step back in time and delve into Somerset’s industrial heritage at the Westonzoyland Pumping Station Museum – activities listed here. 

Located in the heart of the Somerset Levels, this distinctive museum offers a unique glimpse into the past, showcasing the evolution of steam power and land drainage.

The star of the museum is the Easton and Amos steam engine, which dates back to 1861.

This beautifully restored piece of machinery is one of the oldest working beam engines in the UK and a testament to the engineering feats of the Victorian era.

As you explore the museum, you’ll uncover the significant role that steam power played in draining the Somerset Levels, transforming the region’s landscape and agricultural possibilities.

Various exhibits showcase a range of steam engines, pumps, and other industrial artefacts, each with its own story to tell.

Beyond the machinery, the museum also sheds light on the social history of the area.

Discover how life was shaped by the drainage of the land and the introduction of steam power through a collection of photographs, documents, and personal accounts.

Regular steam days at the museum offer the chance to see the engines in action, a mesmerizing spectacle that brings the industrial past back to life.

Opening Times – Sunday, 1pm to 5pm

Address – Hooper’s Lane, Westonzoyland, Bridgwater, TA7 0LS

10. Experience The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic

The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic

Discover the intriguing universe of mysticism and folklore at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic.

Set in the charming village of Boscastle, a short jaunt from Somerset, this quirky museum is renowned for its vast trove of artefacts related to the practice of witchcraft.

Stepping into the museum feels like crossing the threshold into a bygone era, populated by mystics, sorcerers, and keepers of ancient knowledge.

The Museum hosts a vast array of artefacts (over 3000) and an impressive library of 7000 books, offering a multi-faceted look at the tools of witchcraft.

Spell-casting apparatus, symbolic talismans and enigmatic ritual masks – each piece holds a tale of the enchanting world of witchcraft.

The museum’s collection is not just a static display but a narrated history that bridges the past and present.

It presents an insightful chronicle of witchcraft, illuminating societal perspectives and underscoring the continuing relevance of magic in today’s world.

Opening Times – 10am to 4:30pm

Address – The Harbour, Boscastle, PL35 0HD

12. Take a Steam Engineman Taster Course at the West Somerset Railway

For railway enthusiasts or those seeking a unique adventure, the Steam Engineman Course at West Somerset Railway provides an unforgettable journey into the heart of steam engine operation.

Situated amidst the tranquil landscapes of Somerset, this interactive experience offers a deep dive into railway history and operation.

The taster course offers an immersive learning experience about the intricate workings of steam locomotives and the responsibilities of an engineman.

You’ll get the chance to personally drive the steam engine along the picturesque Somerset countryside.

This hands-on experience transports participants back in time, offering a tangible connection to the industrial past – a truly memorable and educational experience, steeped in nostalgia and hands-on learning.

A perfect addition to our guide on unusual things to do in Somerset.

Opening Times – 10am to 5pm (advanced bookings required)

Address – The Railway Station, Minehead, Somerset, TA24 5BG

13. Visit Muchelney Abbey

Discover an aura of tranquility and a slice of history at Muchelney Abbey, located in the serene flatlands of the Somerset Levels.

The remains of this medieval Benedictine abbey serve as a fascinating testament to religious life in Britain’s Middle Ages.

It dates back to the 8th-century and was once a major religious site. Today visitors can explore the remains of the abbey church and cloister, which offer an immersive glimpse into abbey’s original architectural grandeur

The abbey site also boasts the largely preserved Abbot’s House, a striking feature from the Tudor period, lauded as one of the finest of its kind in the United Kingdom.

Step inside to admire the elaborate timber-framed ceiling, the ornate fireplace, and the delightful period furniture that lends the interior its distinct character.

Additionally, the site home to the ‘reredorter’, or monastic latrine, one of the best-preserved examples in Britain.

Muchelney Abbey is a must-visit site in Somerset for history enthusiasts, offering a vivid glimpse into the past within a peaceful, pastoral setting.

Opening Times – Wednesday to Sunday, 10am – 5pm

Address – Law Lane, Muchelney, Langport, TA10 0DQ

14. Visit the Watchet Boat Museum

Fourteenth on our alternative Somerset travel guide is  Watchet Boat Museum.

Located in the quaint harbour town of Watchet, Somerset, this museum showcases a collection of Flatner boats, which are typical to the region.

Flatners are flat-bottomed vessels, designed to navigate the specific conditions of the Bristol Channel’s shallow waters and high tidal range.

Each boat tells a tale of its own, with past uses ranging from transporting livestock to rescuing stranded seafarers.

The museum itself is housed within an old Victorian railway goods shed, adding another layer to its historical significance.

Inside, you’ll find not only boats but also a variety of maritime artefacts, including fishing nets, buoys, and old photographs.

These pieces weave together a rich tapestry of the town’s nautical past.

The Watchet Boat Museum is a nod to the resilience and ingenuity of the seafaring communities who lived and worked along Somerset’s coast.

Opening Times – Tuesday to Saturday, 10am – 3pm

Address – Harbour Rd, Watchet, TA23 0AQ

15. Experience Ebbor Gorge

Ebbor Gorge

Central to adventure tourism in Somerset is Ebbor Gorge – a hidden gem set within the Mendip Hills.

Managed by Natural England, this 63-hectare nature reserve is a haven of biodiversity, boasting a landscape carved by water over thousands of years.

Ebbor Gorge offers an escape into a world of calm and natural beauty. Its diverse terrain features woodlands, flowing streams, and dramatic rocky outcrops.

This landscape has been sculpted by millennia of water flow, resulting in the steep, narrow gorge we see today.

For the adventurous, there are multiple walking trails, each presenting an opportunity to explore the reserve’s unique geography.

Ranging from leisurely woodland walks to more strenuous hikes up the gorge, these trails are teeming with views that change with the seasons.

Beyond its stunning aesthetics, Ebbor Gorge is also a site of significant scientific interest and has been instrumental in the study of the area’s Ice Age history.

Ebbor Gorge offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, outdoor adventure, and scientific intrigue. Great for those of you seeking offbeat Somerset activities.

Opening Times – All Hours

Address – Deerleap, Wookey Hole, Wells, BA5 1AY

For more ideas about unusual things to do in Somerset, visit the official Somerset Tourism Site.

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Dale Shelabarger

Dale is the owner and founder of Cottages to Rent which he launched back in 2005. As well as promoting holiday cottages, Dale blogs regularly about top UK holiday destinations, visitor attractions and places of historical interest.