Comprising of around 3700 acres of stunning wetland nature reserves and a visitors’ centre, the Avalon Marshes are a stone’s throw from Cossington Park.
The Avalon Marshes Centre has a café, craft shop, and visitor information point where you can find out all about the reserves and the history of the landscape dating back to prehistoric times.
The reserves are a haven for wildlife and are particularly well known for the dramatic murmurations of thousands of starlings that roost in the reedbeds in the winter months.
Avalon Marshes Visitors Centre
Avalon Marshes Nature Reserves
Distance from Cossington: 8 miles to the visitor centre
Dogs: Dogs are restricted on parts of the reserves. You can find full information in the Avalon Marshes Dog Walking leaflet.
Accessibility: The reserves are completely level so suitable for walkers of all abilities. There’s also a wheelchair-accessible boardwalk at Shapwick Heath.
Famed as the “Isle of Avalon,” Glastonbury is a historic market town with quirky shops and a renowned abbey.
The Chalice Well Gardens, St Margaret’s Chapel, and the Rural Life Museum are also worth a visit.
Distance from Cossington Park: 11 miles
Glastonbury’s internationally renowned Abbey attracts visitors from around the world.
Once the richest Abbey in England, the site is said to be the earliest Christian foundation in Britain and the burial place of the legendary King Arthur.
The ruins are now set in thirty-six acres of tranquil grounds. Visitors can take a historical tour with a costumed ‘Living History’ presenter, or simply find a quiet corner to sit and contemplate.
There’s a packed calendar of events run throughout the year, including concerts, outdoor theatre events, and a Medieval Fayre.
Dogs: welcome on a lead
Accessibility: Accessible to wheelchair users with paths throughout the grounds and plenty of benches
Food and drink: A small outside café serving coffee and sandwiches is open during the summer months.
England’s smallest city is chock full of independent shops and cafes. There are festivals run throughout the year, including food, arts, literary and comedy festivals. The Wells food festival, held in October, is particularly worth a visit to pick up fantastic local produce. Wells market is on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
There are lots to see in Wells. Below are a few of the highlights.
Distance from Cossington: 16 miles
Situated in the heart of Wells, the architecturally stunning cathedral was built between 1175 and 1490. Described as “the most poetic of the English Cathedrals” Wells is the earliest example of an English Cathedral built in the Gothic style. It is particularly known for the 300 carvings on its iconic West Front, and the 14th-century scissor arches.
Dating from around 1390 the famous Wells clock is considered to be the second oldest clock mechanism in Britain, and probably in the world, to survive in original condition and still in use. When the clock strikes every quarter, jousting knights rush round above the clock and the Quarter Jack bangs the quarter hours with his heels.
As well as regular services, a programme of concerts, recitals, and lectures is held throughout the year.
Accessibility: As a historic building, there are challenges with accessibility in some areas. You can find full details on the cathedral website.
The Bishop’s Palace
The 13th Century Bishop’s Palace is surrounded by a moat and around 14.5 acres of stunning gardens. The swans that live on the Palace moat are known for ringing a bell to ask for dinner!
There are events run throughout the year, including open-air theatre, family events, and guided tours of the site.
The popular café serves local food and has views over the Palace buildings and croquet lawn.
Dogs: Dogs are welcome on a lead in the grounds.
Accessibility: The grounds are level throughout. The Palace provides a full accessibility guide for visitors on their website.
Vicars ’ Close
Vicars’ Close is a beautiful cobbled medieval street close to Wells Cathedral. Built in the 14th century, the Vicars’ Close is claimed to be the oldest, intact, residential street in Europe.
Built to house cathedral choristers or ‘Vicars Choral’, the street is still home to cathedral choristers today.
Cheddar Gorge & Caves
Created by ice age meltwaters over thousands of years, Cheddar Gorge is one of Britain’s most spectacular natural landmarks. At three miles long with cliffs reaching up to 450ft (135m), it’s the largest gorge in Britain.
The area is great for walking, with various rocky paths scrambling up the steep sides of the gorge. Once you’ve reached the summit, the views across Somerset are amazing. Lovers of extreme sports can also try rock climbing or caving.
If you don’t fancy walking, the road through the gorge is beautiful, although drivers need to watch out for walkers and the wild mountain goats that roam through the gorge. An open-topped bus tour is available between Easter and October.
Visitors can walk around the pretty town, with a range of shops and cafes selling everything from Somerset Cider to the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company’s famous Cave Matured Cheddar Cheese. The spectacular Gough’s Cave and Cox’s caves are also worth a visit.
One of the UK’s premier prehistoric sites, you can explore the area’s prehistory at the Museum – children will love the opportunity to create cave paintings.
Distance from Cossington Park: 18 miles
Dogs: Whilst lovely countryside for dog walking, they should be kept on a lead due to the wild goats and other grazing livestock.
Cheddar Caves & museums website
The City of Bath is a wonderful place to go for a day out for all the family. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Bath is renowned for its’ 2000 years’ of history, stunning honey-coloured regency buildings, historic Roman Baths, and Abbey.
With over 40 museums, art galleries, theatres, fabulous independent shops, and lots of places to eat and drink, there’s plenty to do and see.
Here are just a few of the highlights:
- Roman Baths
- Thermae Bath Spa (Graham was the consultant overseeing this award-winning attraction’s development)
- Bath Abbey
- The Jane Austen Centre
- Victoria Park
- Pulteney Bridge
- The American Museum
There are fetes and festivals run throughout the year. The Bath Christmas markets are particularly renowned if you’re visiting in the festive season.
Distance from Cossington: Around 38 miles