Somerset is one of the most beautiful and unspoilt counties in England. It is predominantly rural and the landscape varies from the rolling Mendip hills – which include the famous Cheddar Gorge – to the wildly beautiful Somerset Levels. The whole of Somerset is dotted with Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sites of Special Scientific Interest which should keep anyone interested in the outdoors busy for a very long time.
In addition to its natural beauty there are many interesting towns and cities to visit for a day out including Wells, Bath, Glastonbury, Street and Bristol.
The village of Croscombe nestles in the Sheppey valley on the southern edge of the Mendip Hills. Croscombe is a typical Mendip village which owes much of its character to the medieval period when soaring wool prices gave the area an economic boom. Croscombe’s church – which dates back to this time – is particularly interesting and is mentioned in both Pevsner and Simon Jenkins for its architectural features and its Jacobean carving. The church is located directly across the road from the Old Barn. Croscombe is ideally situated for long country rambles both in the Mendip Hills and the Somerset Levels. Croscombe has a village shop which is open every day and two pubs – The George Inn and The Bull Terrier – both of which serve food.
The Old Barn is located within 3 miles of Wells – England’s smallest city. Wells is know internationally for its magnificent Gothic cathedral which is acknowledged as one of the country’s finest. The cathedral complex includes the Vicars Close – the oldest inhabited street in the world – and the moated Bishop’s Palace, home to the Bishop of Bath and Wells.
The ancient Isle of Avalon rises from the Somerset levels just across the moor from Croscombe. Sited on the meeting point of several ley lines – mysterious straight lines that traverse this part of the world. You can climb the Tor, visit the Rural Life Museum, or browse the many shops purveying New Age essentials.
The last weekend in June sees the arrival of the internationally renowned Glastonbury Festival, the largest greenfield music and performing arts festival in the world. Croscombe is in fact closer to the festival site than Glastonbury itself, so if you want a slightly more sanitary (and quiet) festival experience The Old Barn is the perfect place to stay for the weekend.
Bath is a remarkably well preserved Georgian spa town located 14 mile away from Croscombe. A world heritage site, Bath has been an important settlement since the Stone Age because of its natural hot springs but it was the Romans who began its development in earnest. Since the 18th century Bath has been an incredibly fashionable place, attracting royalty and celebrities such as Jane Austen. Because of this rich history, modern Bath has much to offer. Visit the Roman baths, stroll along its beautiful Georgian crescents, peruse its chic boutiques or treat yourself to a dip in the thermal spa.
Britain’s tenth biggest city Bristol is the region’s cultural hub and is located only 20 miles from Croscombe. It boasts some of the finest, best preserved creations of the pioneering Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel. His iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge and the SS Great Britain are both worth a visit and afterwards you can have a meal in the Severnshed, also an IKB masterpiece.
The neighbouring town to Glastonbury, and home of Clarks shoes, Street is the perfect place for a bargain hunter. Clarks Village, a large outlet shopping centre, is situated here with shops as varied as Marks and Spencer, Jaeger, Le Creuset, and of course Clarks (both discount and full price). Street also has two swimming pools one of which, Greenbank Pool, is open air. This is the perfect place to spend a day with your family, take a picnic to enjoy in the extensive grounds and have fun in the wet play area as well as the pools.