Flavours and Landscapes of Somerset and Exmoor

Flavours and Landscapes of Somerset and Exmoor

4 Days

Bristol is the start and end point for this 4 day itinerary which takes in the very best food and drink experiences in Somerset, and much more. For example, cider makers with over 500 years of production between them and one of Britain’s most spectacular gorges. Exmoor National Park with its rugged beauty, contains a wealth of experiences including the chance to visit a working farm, join a wildlife safari, get face to face with majestic birds of prey or eat fresh oysters in the idyllic Porlock Bay.

Getting To Bristol

Getting to Bristol couldn’t be more straightforward, Bristol International Airport can be reached direct by many European cities and by rail it is only 1 hour and 40 minutes away from London.

For short trips, individual rail tickets can be booked in advance through the Trainline. Alternatively, to travel by coach, visit National Express to review timetables and book tickets.

Day 1

Bristol & Exmoor

Aldwick Estate

Heading south out of Bristol city centre, a 20 minute drive will take your clients to the first stop on this itinerary: Aldwick Estate, Somerset’s largest vineyard.

Led by one of their knowledgeable guides, over the course of their tour your clients will delve into the history of the vineyard, gain an understanding of English viticulture, explore the 11 acres of grape vines – and of course enjoy samples of the available vintages. Visiting on a Sunday? Why not book in for a delicious traditional Sunday lunch as well?

aldwick

Thatchers Cider

Just a 10 minute drive down the road is Myrtle Farm, home of Thatchers Cider where they have been crafting cider for well over a century.

Tours take in the orchards and the mill, explaining the cider-making process, while guides share the history of the farm, telling a few tales about the Thatcher family as they go. Lasting approximately 2 hours, the tour of course also includes tastings of the fine ciders, not to mention the chance to purchase some scrumptious vintages from the Cider Shop. You can extend the visit by booking your clients in for a meal at the nearby Railway Inn.

Thatchers PS

Dunster Castle

A pleasant drive through the Quantock Hills, an area of outstanding natural beauty, takes us to towards our next stop, the impressive Dunster Castle. Dramatically sited on a wooded hill, a castle has existed here since at least Norman times, and today the imposing medieval gatehouse and ruined tower give a reminder of its turbulent history. Visitors can tour what is now a comfortable country home, and enjoy the dramatic vistas and subtropical gardens.

Dunster Castle

Overnight suggestion: Minehead

Day 2

Exmoor National Park

Exmoor Owl and Hawk Centre

A pleasant drive through the Quantock Hills, an area of outstanding natural beauty, takes us to our next stop, the Exmoor Owl and Hawk Centre, just beyond the pretty coastal town of Minehead.

Situated within a 15th Century National Trust farmstead, the centre houses owls, hawks and eagles. Guests will have the chance to experience thrilling close encounters with several owls and have a hawk perch on their gloved hand for a great photo opportunity. You clients can finish their experience with a traditional local Somerset Cream Tea in beautiful gardens or in the ancient 600-year-old dining room.

West Country Farm & Food Tours

Staying in Exmoor, West Country Farm & Food Tours can arrange bespoke full day, half day or evening tours that will take your clients on a tour through beautiful Exmoor landscapes and go beyond the farm gate to meet some of the West Country’s most innovative farmers and food producers. From traditional cattle and sheep farms producing succulent beef and lamb to the fascinating world of fish farming and even alpaca farming. There will be a chance to have a taste of local farm food, and full day experiences can be tailored to include a pub lunch and an afternoon tea.

34574 VB34133800

Exmoor Wildlife Safari

An alternative option for those in the mood for an off-road adventure is a 4 x 4 Exmoor Wildlife Safari through the spectacular landscape of the National Park to discover the native ponies, iconic red deer, rare birds, flora, fauna and much more. Guests will also be taken to historical sites, the birthplace of local legends and see the rugged coastline, all in the safe care of a knowledgeable local driver.

A highland cow

Overnight suggestion: Minehead

Day 3

Porlock Bay & Taunton

Locanda on the Weir

Not a lot of people know that Pacific oysters are grown all year round in Somerset’s Porlock Bay. Visitors can come and see the home of the Porlock Bay oysters for themselves by taking a boat trip with a local mackerel fisherman across the Bay of Porlock.

They can then sample the oysters with a local sparkling wine at Locanda on the Weir, a stunning hotel and restaurant in a picturesque waterfront setting in the 15th Century harbour. Hotel proprietor Pio will then cook the catch and include some locally foraged fare to create a magnificent meal to enjoy overlooking the waters of the bay.

A plate of Oysters

Sheppy’s Cider

Heading out of the National Park and towards the large and historic town of Taunton, the next stop is Sheppy’s House of Cider. Sheppy’s have a cider making history that goes back more than 200 years and your clients can go on a tour of the facilities, which includes a visit to the orchards, the press house, vat house and on site rural life museum. To finish the visit there is a fully guided tasting of a selection of the award-winning ciders and a complimentary gift to take home.

Sheppys Cider Makers

Overnight suggestion: Taunton

Day 4

Burrow Hill & Cheddar Gorge

Somerset Cider Brandy Co

From cider, to cider brandy, The Somerset Cider Brandy Co has been pressing cider for over 200 years at their farm which sits among 180 acres of orchards at the base of picture-postcard Burrow Hill.

Your clients will be guided through the whole cider brandy making process from harvesting the apples to distilling and maturing the brandy. Depending on the season they may see harvesting, cider making or distilling taking place.

Cider brandy casks

Cheddar Gorge

The final stop before returning back to Bristol is the stunning Cheddar Gorge which towers 400 feet into the air, and is home to ancient caves through which flows the largest underground river system in Britain.

Offering a wide range of rock climbing and caving activities for the more adventurous, or outdoor walks and exploration of the stalactites and stalagmites within the caves for those seeking gentler pursuits, this breath-taking phenomenon is has been brought to life to create a fascinating visitor experience.

VB34131298 Cheddar gorge

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