Things to See and Do Near Chard, Somerset 

Things to See and Do Near Chard, Somerset 

A gateway to stunning country and coast, the historic town of Chard has lots to offer. Located in Somerset but close to the Devon and Dorset borders, it’s the perfect base for exploring the West Country and its rich bounty of treasures. 

All within a 10-mile drive of the town centre, here are our favourite things to see and do near Chard, from time-travelling at local historic houses to global-trotting at wildlife parks:

The Church of St. Thomas

The traditional hamstone and flint façade of the Church of St Thomas near Chard poses a really picturesque sight. With a church having been on site since the 1200s, this particular rendering dates from the 1800s and is Grade II* listed. Perhaps one of the church’s most curious features is the large, white marble statue of St Michael outside. Apparently, the statue was laid flat for many years as too many locals passing by at night were spooked by its ghostly frame!

Perry Cider Mill

Apples ready to be picked from the trees

The award-winning Perry Cider Mill near Ilminster is just a few miles down the road from Chard – both a fun attraction and a welcome excuse to sample local cider. A self-professed free-thinking craft cider company, the crew here have been making cider since the 1920s and embrace simple, natural goodness. From the finest apples to perfectly honed small-batch techniques, they combine tradition and innovation to create characterful, flavourful drinks.

Ferne Animal Sanctuary

Ferne Animal Sanctuary is set within an idyllic sylvan dell surrounded by 72 acres of Somerset countryside. Providing sanctuary and care for over 300 unwanted or neglected domestic animals, farm animals and horses, it has been a real haven for creatures great and small for the last 80 years. Offering not just the chance of seeing some of the resident animals, but the opportunity to bask in the peaceful setting in the Blackdown Hills too, the park will appeal to all generations.  

Sharandys Birds of Prey Centre

First opened in 2007, Sharandys Birds of Prey Centre is another of the best places to visit near Chard. A visitor attraction and raptor rehabilitation centre, it encourages visitors to learn about, and interact with, its incredible residents. From regal golden eagles to magnificent, marble-eyed barn owls, there are many beautiful species at the centre – some of which you can even handle and fly during special half and full-day experiences. 

Forde Abbey

A view of Forde Abbey under autumn skies

With its origins dating back to the 12th century, Forde Abbey was once one of the most significant centres of spirituality and learning in England. A former Cistercian monastery, it flourished for around 400 years before the Dissolution. Today, you can go into the house and explore its rooms and historic collections and also stroll around its beautiful, manicured gardens. The gardens, especially lovely in summer, feature topiary lined lawns, an arboretum, water gardens and more.

Chard Reservoir 

A great way to infuse some wild vibes into your luxury retreat is with a leisurely walk around Chard Reservoir, around which is a level, paved trail. Pick up the circular walk around the reservoir – a designated nature reserve – and keep on the look out for the varied flora and fauna which can be seen along the way. Birdwatchers can also make use of a well-positioned bird hide, from which you might be able to see egrets, herons, cormorants and more.

Chard Museum 

Uncovering Chard’s history, heritage and hidden tales, the thatch-topped Chard Museum should be on everyone’s list of the top things to see and do near Chard. Housed in a listed period building, the main collection dates from the 1880s. Just some of the things you can expect to learn about through the exhibitions are the devastating Chard town fire of 1577, the Monmouth Rebellion, the Lace Riots and local industries too. 

Axe Valley Wildlife Park

A flamingo at Axe Valley Wildlife Park

Just over the border in East Devon is Axe Valley Wildlife Park. A small, family-friendly farm and zoo, the wildlife park offers many great animal encounters and experiences. Wander the park’s network of trails and see wonderful animals from all over the world, including flamingos, zebras, lemurs, meerkats and tortoises. There are various children’s play areas across the site, as well as picnic spots, a café and a shop. 

Feeling inspired? Take a look at our luxury cottages in Somerset and Dorset here.


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