10 National Trust sites to visit in Somerset - and some history about each of them
PUBLISHED: 18:00 05 October 2017 | UPDATED: 08:40 06 October 2017
Did you know Brent Knoll was formed by the Devil? No, us either… here are nine fantastic National Trust sites we think you should visit in Somerset, and a little bit of history about each of them.
There are so many beautiful places to visit in North Somerset and beyond, here are just some National Trust sites we recommend visiting...
Brean Down is arguably one of the most beautiful spots for walking in Somerset, and it dates back to 10,000 BC.
The Palmerston Fort at Brean Down was built to defend the country against a possible Napoleonic invasion. It is now a ruin, but you can still wander around it.
During World War Two pilots practised flying bomber planes around Brean and the Somerset coast and there is a large concrete arrow on top of the down which used to be painted white to direct them.
This Iron Age hill fort on the ridge above the village of Tickenham is filled with wild flowers for much of the year, making it a beautiful place to visit.
It was constructed and occupied from the sixth century BC to the mid-first century AD and was once part of Clevedon Court estate.
It is tucked away from the main road and offers a tranquil place to pause for thought and enjoy views of the Mendips, the Quantocks, South Wales and the Severn Estury.
The core of this National Trust house in Clevedon in North Somerset gives you an insight into what life was like during the medieval period.
Clevedon Court was bought by Abraham Elton back in 1709, and it is still used as a family home by his descendants.
There is a display of Eltonware pottery at the home, as well as a huge collection of Nailsea glass.
Failand House, just a stone’s throw away from Bristol in North Somerset, was built in 1720 by Abraham Elton, who owned Clevedon Court, in Clevedon.
Through the ownership of the house and gradual acquision of the land, the Fry family formed much of the estate which was later given to the National Trust.
Sir Edward Fry was born in 1827 next to the original Fry’s Chocolate Factory in Bristol. He became a lawyer but when he retired in 1892 he made Failand House his permanent residence.
King John’s Hunting Lodge
This National Trust site is a little different from most of the vast landscapes and walking spots owned by the National Trust in Somerset.
The early Tudor timber-framed wool merchant’s house is now run as a history museum by Axbridge and District Museum Trust.
It costs £2.50 to enter the 450-year-old building, but is free for National Trust members.
This National Trust site is arguably one of Somerset’s most impressive natural wonders. It is almost 400ft deep and three miles long, offering endless possibilities for keen walkers and hikers.
Cheddar Gorge would have begun to form around one million years ago, during the last Ice Age, when water from melting glaciers formed a river which carved into the limestone rock to create the gorge’s great cliffs.
The Cheddar Yeo River gradually made its way underground, creating the now-famous Cheddar Caves.
The Mendip Hills
The Mendips run from Frome to Brean Down and reveal centuries of history along the way.
Centuries of history are on show in the Mendips, from the prehistoric views of Cheddar Gorge to the Victorian fort at Brean Down.
Underground caves and rivers make the hills a popular spot for caving, while walkers, cyclists and horse-riders also enjoy their sports on the Mendips. The hills are also a sanctuary for wildlife, from rare birds to beautiful butterflies and wild flowers.
This National Trust nature site is not far from the centre of Weston, and it provides incredible views across to Wales.
It is an extension of the Mendip Hills and is made of limestone, with unusual volcanic intrusions which jut into the Bristol Channel.
You can see both of the Severn bridges from Sand Point and there is often lots of wildlife to spot during this coastal walk.
Legends say Brent Knoll was formed when the devil was cleaving Cheddar Gorge and hurling great spades of earth from it… sounds possible, right?
Brent Knoll was known by the Romans as ‘The Mount of Frogs’ as it stood as an island surrounded by water before the Somerset Levels were drained.
You can walk up the hill from both East Brent and Brent Knoll, with the hike getting quite steep towards the top. The hard work is worth it though, with views across the Mendip Hills as well as towards Glastonbury Tor and across to Wales.
This Victorian gothic Revival house with gardens and parkland is a great place to take a picnic on a summers day.
It is arguably North Somerset’s most famous National Trust attraction, and its beautiful grounds filled with flower terraces, an empty lake, and woodland make it easy to see why.
The house served as a home for the Gibbs family, and the ordinary and extraordinary aspects of their lives and the possessions of four generations are on show at the house, in Wraxall.
Looking for other places to go? Why not check out one of these 10 North Somerset walks.