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Discover the breathtaking caves of Somerset

By Annie Cree

Somerset has some of the most famous and spectacular caves in the UK and here are some of the best to explore.

Ancient caves

In the village of Cheddar, the authentic home of Cheddar cheese, is one of the most spectacular sights in Britain – the dramatic cliffs of Britain’s highest inland limestone gorge known as Cheddar Gorge. The land around the gorge has been farmed for millennia. Britain’s oldest, most complete skeleton was found in Gough’s Cave. Although 10,000 years old, its DNA matched a modern-day local resident. Set aside a day to explore Cheddar Gorge and Caves. There’s something for all the family.

Gough's Cave Cheddar Gorge, Somerset

Limestone Stalactites and rock formation in Gough’s Cave Cheddar Gorge

Step back in time with Stone Age artefacts in the Museum of Prehistory, explore Gough’s Cave, where Cheddar cheese is matured, Beyond the View: a cinematic journey through the gorge and the multimedia experience: Dreamhunters in Cox’s Cave.

The land around the gorge has been farmed for millennia. Britain’s oldest, most complete skeleton was found in Gough’s Cave. 

Breathtaking views

You can also as ascend the 274 steps of Jacob’s Ladder to the top of the gorge, then 48 more to the top of the Lookout Tower for a breathtaking view of the Somerset Levels then further explore the Mendip Hills with the Cliff-top Walk, designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, along with the neighbouring Quantock and Blackdown Hills.

Mendip Hills

Mendip Hills boast dramatic valleys, gorges, limestone cliffs and lakes around every corner

The Lookout Tower is also the start of a spectacular three-mile cliff top walk, one of many across Somerset, where you’ll see the famous goats, the ancient rare breed Soay sheep and, if you’re lucky, the Peregrine falcon. Look out also for the ultra-rare Cheddar Pink flower, which is only found here.

Adventure caving

The fun continues with adventure caving and rock climbing experiences for 11 year olds upwards. Try the new freefall experience in the Black Cat Chamber or test your brain power in the Escape Room. Refresh at the famous Lion Rock Tea Rooms, voted one of the best Tea/Coffee Shops in the Somerset Life Awards. Cream and afternoon teas are very popular and vegans are well catered for. There’s a lovely garden terrace too.

Cheese making process at the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company, Somerset

Cheese production at The Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company, Cheddar

Such is the draw of this magical area that people simply do not leave. The Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company still makes Cheddar in the traditional way. You can watch the various stages of the seven-hour process at the shop. Stop off at the Taster Bar to try before you buy.

Wookey Hole

Somerset has spectacular caves nearby at Wookey Hole on the southern edge of the Mendip Hills. It contains the largest caving system in the UK. This popular attraction is a firm favourite with children.

Individuals exploring Wookey Hole Caves, Somerset

Wookey Hole is the largest and most spectacular show caves in England

Take a tour through the atmospheric caves, meet the Wookey witch and keep the children occupied with many other attractions, including the mirror maze, Victorian penny arcade, circus show, 4D cinema and the new ‘eerily authentic’ animatronic dinosaurs, which will please Jurassic Park film fans. The Wild Wookey caving experience is a must for the more adventurous! Cave-aged Wookey Cheddar is also on sale here.

Read more

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Image credits: ©Cheddar Caves & Gorge; Courtesy of Wookey Hole; Iankelsall1/Pixabay; The Cheddar Gorge Cheese Co

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