Rough Guide to Bath, Brostol & Somerset (Travel Guide eBook)
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291 pages

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The Rough Guide to Bath, Bristol & Somerset

Make the most of your time on Earth with the ultimate travel guides.

World-renowned 'tell it like it is' travel guide.

Discover Bath, Bristol and Somerset with this comprehensive and entertaining travel guide, packed with practical information and honest recommendations by our independent experts. Whether you plan to immerse yourself in Georgian Bath, discover Bristol's street art or go hiking on the Mendips, The Rough Guide to Bath, Bristol and Somerset will help you discover the best places to explore, eat, drink, shop and sleep along the way.

Features of this travel guide toBath, Bristol and Somerset:
Detailed regional coverage: provides practical information for every kind of trip, from off-the-beaten-track adventures to chilled-out breaks in popular tourist areas
Honest and independent reviews: written with Rough Guides' trademark blend of humour, honesty and expertise, our writers will help you make the most from your trip to Bath, Bristol and Somerset
Meticulous mapping: practical full-colour maps, with clearly numbered, colour-coded keys. Find your way around Bath, Bristol and many more locations without needing to get online
Fabulous full-colour photography: features inspirational colour photography, including Glastonbury Tor and Clevedon Pier
- Time-saving itineraries: carefully planned routes will help inspire and inform your on-the-road experiences
Things not to miss: Rough Guides' rundown of Bath, Bristol and Somerset's best sights and top experiences
Travel tips and info: packed with essential pre-departure information including getting around, accommodation, food and drink, health, the media, festivals, sports and outdoor activities, culture and etiquette, shopping and more
Background information: comprehensive 'Contexts' chapter provides fascinating insights into Bath, Bristol and Somerset, with coverage of history, religion, ethnic groups, environment, wildlife and books, plus a handy language section and glossary
Covers: Bath and around; Bristol and around; Wells and the Mendips; Glastonbury and the Somerset Levels; South Somerset; Taunton, Bridgwater and the Quantocks; The coast; Exmoor; East Somerset; Salisbury and Stonehenge

You may also be interested in: The Rough Guide to Norfolk and Suffolk, The Rough Guide to Kent, Sussex and Surrey

About Rough Guides: Rough Guides have been inspiring travellers for over 35 years, with over 30 million copies sold globally. Synonymous with practical travel tips, quality writing and a trustworthy 'tell it like it is' ethos, the Rough Guides list includes more than 260 travel guides to 120+ destinations, gift-books and phrasebooks.



Publié par
Date de parution 01 juillet 2020
Nombre de lectures 1
EAN13 9781789196702
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 9 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0035€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Gavin Hellier
Where to go
When to go
Author picks
things not to miss
Getting there
Getting around
Food and drink
Sports and outdoor activities
Festivals and events
Travellers with disabilities
Travel essentials
1 Bath and around
2 Bristol and around
3 Wells and the Mendips
4 Glastonbury and the Somerset Levels
5 South Somerset
6 Taunton, Bridgwater and the Quantocks
7 The coast
8 Exmoor
9 East Somerset
10 Salisbury and Stonehenge
Lydia Evans/Rough Guides
Introduction to
Bath, Bristol and Somerset
Somerset: the very name – seemingly derived from the Anglo-Saxon for “people dwelling in a summer pasture” – evokes a picture of bucolic bliss, a soft undulating landscape grazed by sheep and populated by straw-chewing yokels speaking in a quaint “zummerzet” drawl. Early railway posters traded on the cliché, portraying thatched cottages, tottering hayricks and castellated church towers. And while the modern reality is much more complex and nuanced, parts of the caricature are still identifiable today, where rounding a bend will bring you face to face with a heart-stoppingly lovely picture of quiet lanes meandering through hushed valleys, landscapes essentially unchanged for centuries, and yes, even a castellated church tower or two in the distance.
Somerset stands out among English counties for its breadth and diversity. The distance from the Wiltshire border in the east to the Devon border in the west stretches some seventy miles, within which every kind of landscape features, from limestone gorges to marshy flatlands, and from lush meadows to windswept moorland. There are forty miles of coastline, ranging from busy and brash holiday resorts to bleakly beautiful wetland reserves. Populous towns and cities give way to one-horse villages, and the historical traces take in stone circles, ruined castles and Renaissance palaces.
< Back to Introduction
Where to go
The Romans knew a good thing when they saw it, and in Bath , in the northeast corner of the county, they hit gold. Possessing Britain’s only natural hot springs, the town quickly developed as a home from home for the baths-loving Romans, and it was the presence of these thermal waters that came to define Bath throughout its subsequent history. Visitors from far and wide came to wallow in the healing waters, with the town reaching its greatest glory in the eighteenth century, when fashion and great architecture came together to create the apotheosis of the Georgian urban centre. Today, Bath has plenty to offer: some of the finest museums outside London, inviting shops and a vibrant cultural life that belies its size – all contained within a compact area that makes for easy strolling, often through traffic-free lanes.
Within easy distance of Bath is a cluster of towns and villages on the Somerset-Wiltshire border that make alluring day-trips: Bradford-on-Avon , with its medieval bridge and terraces of ex-weavers’ cottages; Lacock , whose abbey-turned-stately home incorporates a museum of photography; and Corsham , with its prized collection of Old Masters at Corsham Court.
West of Bath, Bristol , while not technically part of Somerset, is the dominant urban centre in the region. The city shares some of Bath’s most characteristic features, such as an impressive array of Georgian architecture and the River Avon winding through. Here, though, the tidal Avon was harnessed, and the city’s skyline owes much to the riches that were funnelled through its harbour, fuelled by the transatlantic trade of tobacco, sugar and slaves. With its fierce creative energy and urban bustle, Bristol takes in more extremes, and has more of a contemporary, cosmopolitan view of life than Bath. Its verve and panache are expressed in everything from genre-defying music and eye-catching street art to cutting-edge design and technology, as well as a dynamic range of bars, restaurants and clubs. The M Shed museum celebrates Bristol’s rich history and cultural diversity, which you can explore further in the city’s galleries and collections, its venerable churches and miscellaneous markets.

Lydia Evans/Rough Guides
South of the Bath-Bristol axis, the countryside soon takes over, and some of Somerset’s most appealing small towns are nestled among its rolling hills and sweeping marshland. Wells has one of the earliest and finest English Gothic cathedrals, and lies within easy reach of the Mendip Hills . Cutting through the county, they’re not particularly high, but they are quite a bit wilder than you’d expect, and surprisingly dramatic in parts, most jaw-droppingly so at Cheddar Gorge .

Somerset isn’t all rolling green fields and rich fertile pasture. From gorse-covered moors to towering sea cliffs, dry valleys to reed-swathed marshland, its varied landscapes cover a wide spectrum of habitats that are home to all creatures great and small. In the Quantock Hills , Somerset has the country’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), a compact outcrop of upland heath and wooded combes harbouring nightjars and red deer. The Quantocks share similar flora and fauna with nearby Exmoor , the region’s only national park and the other destination for deer spotters. The more pronounced hills of the Mendips , another AONB to the northeast, are riddled with caves and cut through by two dramatic gorges, most famously at Cheddar, and are a great place to see badgers, bats and peregrine falcons. Lying between the two ranges, the mesmerizing wetlands of the Somerset Levels provide hands-down the best birdwatching in the South West, particularly among the reedbeds and former peat bogs of the Avalon Marshes; a number of the waders and migrants that call in here can also be seen in the estuaries, sand dunes and cliffs that make up Somerset’s coast .
Exmoor Strikingly scenic national park abutting the Bristol Channel, blanketed in heather and gorse and home to herds of majestic red deer.
Shapwick Heath This vast reserve – the largest in the Somerset Levels – is rich in birdlife and makes a great place to watch otters swimming among the reeds.
Ubley Warren Former mining landscape, now buzzing with a variety of butterflies and birds.
West Sedgemoor Migrant waders out on the wet meadows and a huge heronry in the Swell Wood section.
Westhay Moor Brilliant birdwatching, and a reliable spot to catch the winter starling migration.


Perhaps more than any other county in England, Somerset is blessed with some truly spectacular place names . Where else would you find such intriguing-sounding villages as Nempnett Thrubwell, Furzy Knaps, Charlton Mackrell and Haselbury Plucknett? Many of these can be traced back to their Celtic origins – crug , the old Celtic word for “hill”, for example, is buried away in names like Crewkerne and Cricket St Thomas. Others are derived from Anglo-Saxon words , such as Huish Episcopi, the prefix of which stems from hus , or “house”, the suffix recalling the time when the Bishop of Bath and Wells played landlord to much of the county.
You’ll see Currys (from cwr , meaning “border” or “edge”), Camels (a combination of cant and mel , which literally translates as “bare district”) and Chews (a stream or river), but nothing crops up quite as much as Combe. From Monkton Combe to the extravagantly named Nyland cum Batcombe, it indicates a hollow or valley and is most often linked to the Celtic word cwm , though it also appears in Saxon, Norse and Irish languages.

North Somerset Council
A short distance down the road, Glastonbury is distinguished for the ruins of its once-mighty abbey, but resonates among the New Age crowd for its tangled knot of Arthurian links and other mystical associations. Even the most cynical of sceptics would find it hard to deny that there’s a certain aura about the town, not least in the peculiar promontory that is Glastonbury Tor . From the Tor, you can survey the Somerset Levels stretching out to the west – a captivating latticework of rhynes and ditches that’s excellent terrain for walkers, cyclists and birders.
Continuing south, you’ll find a mix of modern and ancient sights around the unassuming towns of Yeovil and Chard , ranging from Cadbury Castle (another place recalling the mythology of King Arthur) and the Renaissance mansion of Montacute House to collections of cars and aeroplanes – though the pretty little hamstone hamlets and orchards heavy with cider apples are just as much of a draw. To the west lies Taunton , home to the Museum of Somerset , a must-see for visitors to the region, and Bridgwater , with its Civil War memories. Either place would make a good departure point for forays into the Quantock Hills , perfect country for gentle hikes and home to some of Somerset’s most exquisite churches.
In the far west of the region, straddling the Devon border, the wide open spaces of Exmoor beckon, traversed by a good network of walking routes. The moor reaches all the way to the coast, with high cliffs affording unforgettable vistas, and a string of picturesque villages providing shelter and refreshment. If it’s seaside fun you’r

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