Somerset

Cheddar Gorge, Somerset

Whether you’re a nature lover, adventurer or a family, this incredible natural phenomenon is a fascinating day out. A designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, out in the open you can climb, walk trails, climb the lookout tower and visit the museum. Below ground you can gawp at the incredible caves filled with stalactites or even try your hand at adventure caving!

Located in the Mendip Hills, the gorge first became famous after Britain’s oldest complete skeleton was found in 1903 in the incredible caves which lie hidden beneath ground. The caves, reminiscent of underground cathedrals, are filled with stalagmites (the ones climbing up – the ones which ‘mite’ one day reach the ceiling) and stalactites (the ones hanging down – holding on ‘tite’).

 These days, Cheddar Gorge is popular with visitors and makes for a great day out. Whether you’re into nature, a bit of an adventurer, into your history or just want to keep the kids’ entertained with something that doesn’t involve electronics, this is a great choice.

For walkers and nature lovers, there’s a great cliff top gorge walk which is about 3 miles. As an area of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation, you might catch a glimpse of rare wildlife (such as the Great Crested Newt) or just enjoy the astounding views.

Wear the kids out by climbing the 274 steps up the gorge then tackle the Lookout Tower for a fantastic view of the gorge and reservoir, enjoy an open-top bus tour to recover then make like cave men and explore Gough’s Cave (you might even bump into Cheddar Man). Pack a picnic and find a lovely spot in the extensive grounds.

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can give adventure caving and rock climbing a go – make sure to book in advance. If you’re after something a little more sedate, check out the fascinating museum.

There’s a cafe, shop, loos and plenty of parking, or pop into the local town of Cheddar for a spot of lunch - well, it’s where cheddar was invented, after all.

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