Somerset: Cheese, Caves & Cider…
Somerset continues to be a holiday hot spot year in and year out, and is loved for many reasons including its sunny beaches, spectacular views and family outings galore – but there are some things that really put Somerset on the map.
Lakeside Holiday Park, in the heart of Somerset is the perfect base for exploration – whether it be for a short break, a fortnights holiday or several visits throughout the season, there is more than enough to keep the whole family occupied. It is said that the early bird gets the worm, and in the case of your Summer 2017 holiday, this is certainly the case. Start planning, and book early for prime time deals, excellent location and access to a huge variety of attractions, events and outings. There are places to visit year round, but the real adventures begin from March 2017 onwards.
Cheddar is the most popular type of cheese in the UK, and accounts for more than half of the cheese we purchase. The name ‘Cheddar’ was widely used to describe the hard cheese up until 2007, when a Protected Designation of Origin was created making ‘West Country Farmhouse Cheddar’ the only true Cheddar cheese.
Only cheese produced from milk from the four counties of South West England, and manufactured in the traditional way may take on the name proudly.
The small town of Cheddar is just a 25 minute drive away from Lakeside, and is of course home to the famous cheese. Nowadays there is just one company in Cheddar that produces the cheese, and The Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company are in fact the makers of ‘the only Cheddar made in Cheddar’. They make cheese every day of the year, and happily welcome visitors. You can watch any or all of the 7 hour process at any time of the day from the viewing gallery, or if you prefer (and are short on time) you can also watch the process from beginning to end on a 20 minute DVD that plays throughout the day.
You can visit at any time of the year, although they do advise to call ahead to avoid disappointment. From Easter until the end of August, staff are happy to show you round and answer any questions you may have. Admission is just £2.00 for Adults with a maximum of 2 Children (under 16) being free of charge.
There’s more to Cheddar than, well, Cheddar!
A 30 minute drive from Lakeside will get you to Cheddar Gorge. Britain’s biggest natural gorge is world famous, and has been named an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – thanks largely to its spectacular views, 450ft high cliffs and stunning stalactite caverns.
A visit to Cheddar Gorge is a must for anyone planning to visit Somerset, no matter what the time of year. There are open-top bus tours, fantastic cliff top walks, and for the more energetic, the Cheddar Gorge Lookout Tower which is a 322 step climb to the top! Like climbing? There is caving and climbing available for beginners to seasoned professionals, with instructors on hand to help you and show you the best routes. Cheddar Gorge is a wonderful family day out, packed full of adventure, history and culture and lots to see and do. Entry is £19.95 for Adults, £13.95 for Children (aged 5-15) and Children under 5 are free.
Cheddar Gorge brings a whole host of entertainment, but if caving is your thing and you want to ‘dig a little deeper’, then the Wookey Hole Caves are not to be missed. This mysterious network of caves have been around for millions of years, and were home to the Celts during the Iron Age. You can read much more about the caves in our earlier blog post, which provides full details.
Perhaps Somerset’s most famous export, Cider has been a favourite drink in Britain for at least 2,000 years, and with over 400 different varieties of cider apple grown in Somerset alone, there is an endless choice available.
Originally enjoyed by the Romans around 55 BC, it has come on leaps and bounds with it now being made and manufactured around the world. During your stay at Lakeside, why not take the time out to visit one of Somerset’s most popular Cider Farm – Rich’s Cider, which is in Watchet near Burnham-on-Sea and just 10 minutes away from the Park.
The Rich family have been producing cider since founder Gordon Rich began pressing cider apples at Mill Farm, and specialise in Traditional Farmhouse Cider, and Farm Pressed Apple Juice – leading them to have been awarded ‘Best Drink Product of the Year 2015’ by Somerset Life, and recently been nominated in the Land Love Awards as ‘Britain’s Favourite Drinks Producer’. Open year round, you can watch the process, sample the wares and stop for a bite to eat at the Farm Restaurant. A must for cider (and apple) lovers everywhere.
These are just a few of the many popular attractions in and around Somerset, and with so much to see and do; it really is worth a visit. Not only will you have fun exploring caves, drinking cider, and sampling cheddar, the place is teeming with special events during the season.
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