"From the moment we arrived you made us feel so welcome and greeted us to your home as friends and for the rest of the weekend we felt ‘at home’ and relaxed to enjoy all that the weekend had to offer. We all made the most of the location and gardens – for some (the very brave ones – note all females!) even the swimming lake."
Pennard House is ideally located to explore Somerset and the south west region. The cities of Bath and Bristol and the bustling market towns of Glastonbury, Bruton, Wells and Frome are all within easy striking distance. There is a wide range of local activities and nearby sites of interest to visit, as well as some beautiful National Trust houses and gardens to explore.
Below are just a few of the many different options of day trips and local activities we can recommend.
The second smallest city in England, Wells boasts one of the most beautiful of the great English cathedrals. The city has a beautiful market high street and the historic architecture of the city has been used as a location for several films and television programmes.
Visit the town of Glastonbury to explore the myths and legends of King Arthur and the Holy Grail, the majestic Glastonbury Tor and the mythical entrance to the underworld. Legend tells of Joseph of Arimathea arriving by boat and planting his staff into the ground, where it flowered miraculously into the Glastonbury Thorn which now only flowers in the winter. The beautiful ruins of Glastonbury Abbey are one of many reputed resting places of King Arthur and Guinevere.
Sherborne is a picturesque market town on the edge of the Blackmore Vale and was historically the capital of Wessex, one of the seven Saxon kingdoms of England. Sherborne is famous for its historic buildings, including its abbey, two private schools and two castles. Much of the old town, including the abbey and many medieval and Georgian buildings, is built from the distinctive ochre-coloured ham stone.
The 8th biggest city in the UK, Bristol is the largest centre of culture, employment and education in the region. The city offers a number of shopping opportunities, including the indoor Cribbs Causeway shopping mall and the recently completed £500million Cabot Circus retail centre. For culture, Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge and the SS Great Britain are well worth a visit, while Bristol Zoo and the At-Bristol interactive science centre are great for kids.
The City of Bath is a World Heritage Site and offers a unique experience with stunning architecture, great shopping and iconic attractions. Famous for its hot natural springs, the city was first established as a spa in Roman times and retains some fascinating Roman ruins. The city is mostly known though for its splendid Georgian architecture, including the Royal Crescent, mostly made from the local, golden-coloured Bath Stone. The city has a variety of theatres, museums, and other cultural and sporting venues.
A World Heritage Site, Stonehenge is one of the most famous attractions in the world. Its orientation on the rising and setting sun has always been one of its remarkable features and it remains a mystery whether this was simply because the builders came from a sun-worshipping culture, or because, as some believe, the circle and its banks were part of a huge astronomical calendar.
A pioneering world–class gallery and arts centre in renovated farm buildings on the outskirts of Bruton. The gallery opened in 2014 and with several large exhibition spaces blending modern architctural design with Listed buildings, it is a cultural destination in its own right. The landscaped gardens in which the gallery is set have been designed by world–renowned Dutch plantsman Piet Oudolf, and the centre includes a library and bookshop.
Salisbury Cathedral is one of Britain’s finest medieval cathedrals. Set within eight acres of lawn and surrounded by historic buildings and museums within the spectacular Cathedral Close, the Cathedral is unique in being built almost entirely in one architectural style – early English Gothic.
Stourhead is a 2,650 acre National Trust estate with a breathtaking 18th century landscaped garden with lakeside walks, grottoes and classical temples. Between March and October you can also visit Stourhead House, a Palladian mansion with a fantastic regency library and beautiful art collection. Why not climb the 205 steps to the top of King Alfred’s Tower, an amazing red-brick folly, for views over Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire.
Montacute House is a magnificent late 16th century mansion with many Renaissance features. The Long Gallery, the longest of its kind in England, displays more than 60 of the finest Tudor and Elizabethan portraits from the National Portrait Gallery collection, while the state rooms display a fine range of period furniture and textiles. Montacute’s formal gardens are perfect for a stroll and include a collection of roses, mixed borders and famous wobbly hedges.
Longleat House is widely regarded as one of the best examples of high Elizabethan architecture in Britain and one of the most beautiful stately homes open to the public. Substantially completed by 1580 and now home to the 7th Marquess of Bath, Longleat House is set within 900 acres of stunning “Capability” Brown landscaped parkland.
Longleat also has the UK’s No.1 Safari Park and Adventure Park. Opened in 1966, this was the first ever Safari Park outside Africa and now a drive-through safari adventure will take you unbelievably close to all sorts of fascinating animals, from zebras, rhinos and lions, to giraffes, sea lions and monkeys.
Cheddar Gorge is known for its outstanding natural beauty, walking and climbing opportunities, and is also a must-see for any enthusiast of things prehistoric. Within this limestone gorge, Pagan and Christian legends intermingle in the fascinating caves of Wookey Hole, where Britain’s oldest complete human skeleton, Cheddar Man, estimated to be 9,000 years old, was found in 1903. Enjoy a fascinating tour through the labyrinth of these ancient caves and caverns.
There are plenty of opportunities for good walks around East Pennard but, for the more adventurous, Somerset has some stunning and varied landscapes which offer more challenging rambles. These include the Somerset levels and moors around Glastonbury, Cheddar Gorge and also the Mendip Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Garden lovers can visit many in the local area, from the colourful English cottage gardens at East Lambrook, the magic and romance of Lytes Caryand Tintinhull to the 18th century landscaped garden of Stourhead. If you want to pick up some tips for your own garden, Pennard Plants has one of the best collections of productive plants in the region and offers several gardening courses throughout the year.
Shooting & Fishing
Somerset and nearby Dorset’s hilly terrain offers some of the best shooting in the country. For fishing there are a number of rivers and lakes ideal for all standards of anglers. We would be happy to help arrange any activities locally.
With a varied landscape including the Somerset Levels, Quantock and Mendip Hills and Exmoor National Park, Somerset has some superb golf courses offering a challenge for golfers of all levels of ability, experience, and competitiveness.
Apple orchards are a vital part of the Somerset landscape and a trip to the West Country shouldn’t be made without a visit to at least one orchard. There are a number of farmhouse cider and apple juice producers in the immediate area who are open to the public and where you can sample the local produce.
For eating there is an excellent selection of local pubs and restaurants nearby. Some of our favourites include:
The Manor House Inn Ditcheat (01749 860276) 2 miles – a good village pub serving local ales, ciders and pub food.
At the Chapel Bruton (01749 814070) 7 miles – a converted 17th-Century coaching inn on Bruton High Street with a bakery, wine shop, cafe, bar and restaurant. Offering seasonal foods ideal for breakfasts, snacks or 3–course meals.
The White Hart Somerton (01458 272273) 10 miles – a 16th century pub which was completely renovated in 2013, food is served in the large bustling bar at rustic tables. Very good food with an interesting menu.
Roth Bar & Grill Bruton (01749 814700) 7.5 miles – located at the Hauser and Wirth gallery in Bruton, mixing gastronomy with contemporary art and serving honest, simple and seasonal food.
The Red Lion Babcary (01458 223230) 7.5 miles – a traditional thatched country pub with flagstoned bar and award winning restaurant.
The Talbot Inn Mells (01373 812254) 14 miles – a traditional coaching inn offering great food in a classic pub environment, with all the comforts of a smart hotel.