Safari tents in Somerset

This West Country shire has hillside hikes, sandy beaches, and a world-famous music festival.

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Popular camping styles for Somerset

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Safari tents in Somerset guide


At the heart of the West Country, Somerset is renowned for its beach-lined coast, epic English countryside, and farming landscape. Hike dramatic gorges and moorlands, go rock climbing along limestone crags, or explore ancient caves in the four Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. For a change of scenery, the beach is never more than an hour’s drive away, and don’t forget to sample local specialties, Cheddar cheese and Somerset cider, along the way. With all of this, Somerset is a camping haven—from the beach-bearing coast in the east to the wide river valleys of the west, there are heaps of incredible campsites to discover, and like in nearby Devon, Dorset, and Cornwall, Somerset’s rural landscapes and mild southern climate are favourites with campers. May through September is the best time for camping, but prepare for rainy days even in summer—wellies are a fashion must for campers attending Glastonbury Festival.

Where to go

North Somerset

Hiking comes with spectacular views in the Mendip Hills AONB. Walk the cliff-tops of the Cheddar Gorge, then venture underground to explore limestone caves at Wookey Hole or enjoy bird-watching by Chew Valley Lake. The Somerset Coast is just a short drive away, with sandy beaches and seafront camping at Burnham-on-Sea and Weston-Super-Mare.

Northeast Somerset

History, culture, and nature meet head-on in northeast Somerset. Admire Roman ruins and follow in the footsteps of Jane Austen in UNESCO-listed Bath, then head south to hike through wildflower valleys and forests in the Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs. For an unforgettable camping experience, join hippies and revellers for the annual Glastonbury Festival.

West Somerset

A ride on the West Somerset Railway affords views of the Somerset countryside as you travel from Taunton to Minehead, West Somerset’s main town. Coast and country are within easy reach from Minehead. Hikers have the Quantock Hills AONB and the Exmoor National Park to explore, and the 630-mile South West Coast Path—England’s longest National Trail—starts here.

South Somerset

Picturesque market towns, lowland marshes, and country parks pepper the landscapes of South Somerset. Enjoy bird-watching in the Avalon Marshes, go mountain biking around  Yeovil, and stop for a pub lunch in Castle Cary. Along the Devon border, the Blackdown Hills AONB has trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding, as well as numerous camping options.

Camping on the Coast in Somerset

Somerset’s seaside resorts and stunning coastline are two reasons why this West Country destination has become a popular place for camping holidays in the UK. There’s traditional seaside fun in Weston-super-Mare and Minehead, where you can pick up a bucket and spade and tuck into fish and chips—you might even find a donkey ride to keep the kids amused. The smaller (but no less fun-filled) resorts of Brean and Burnham also serve up waterside holidays, but away from these busy hot spots is where you’ll find some of our favourite Somerset beach campsites.

On the northeast edge of the county, you’ll find quiet coves and traditional harbour towns like Portishead. And to the west sits wild beauty. Exmoor National Park extends to the coast, home to quieter spots on the seaside. If you’re hankering for a sea view, head for the South West Coast Path for a day out. This long-distance footpath starts in Somerset and offers walking with stunning clifftop views.

Camping in the Somerset Countryside

With just 40 miles of coastline, the seaside is only a small part of Somerset’s attraction. The vast expanse of countryside that covers most of the inland area is the other big draw, offering holidays where you can enjoy a taste of life in the country or down on the farm.

In the expanse of low-lying fertile land that makes up the Somerset Levels and Moors, campers can find a good line in farm camping—places to pitch your tent with a chance to meet animals and try local produce. These wetlands are also a unique place for wildlife, and any high spots on the land, like Glastonbury Tor, are worth visiting for the views alone.

Somerset’s National Park and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

The Somerset Levels and Moors are bordered by hills: the Mendip, Blackdown, and Quantock Hills are all Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Head for the Mendips for a campsite near Cheddar Gorge or Wookey Hole. And away from the most famous subterranean sites, you can have a go at caving. Above ground, the Mendips are also a great place for walking and other outdoor activities among dry valleys, gorges, and wildflower meadows.

To the south, the Blackdown Hills are a more gentle landscape of rolling hills, hedgerows, and quiet bridleways with plenty of campsites to help make the most of it all. The Quantock Hills stretch to the Bristol Channel, characterised by deep wooded valleys and the heather moorland expected in neighbouring Exmoor National Park. While many associate Exmoor with Devon, the majority of the park actually falls within Somerset. It can feel like another world with rivers, waterfalls, and woodland, as well as free-roaming wild ponies and red deer.

Top things to do in Somerset

A camping holiday in Somerset offers endless opportunities to get out and explore.

1. Cheddar Gorge

Perhaps the most famous part of the gorge is Gough’s Cave, which offers a chance to discover a subterranean world. But there’s actually as much, if not more, overground as there is underground at Cheddar Gorge. Towering limestone cliffs and wildflower meadows make this landscape worth exploring.

2. Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company

There’s no better place to try what must be Somerset’s most-famous export: cheddar cheese! Head to the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company visitor centre to watch the cheese-making process take place and tuck into the most beloved of British cheeses.

3. Wookey Hole

After exploring this famous cave system’s underground and learning about the famous Wookey Hole Witch, there’s more fun to be had. Access to a range of family-friendly attractions is included in the ticket price, which makes it good value if you’ve got kids.

4. Exmoor National Park

With 267 square miles of protected land, Exmoor offers lots of opportunity for exploration. Walk across the heather moorland, follow streams through deep wooded valleys, and enjoy the wildest parts of Somerset’s coast.

5. The South West Coast Path

This long-distance coastal footpath is one of the best ways to see the coastline both in and outside of Exmoor. With a starting point in Somerset’s Minehead, the 630-mile path traces the coast of the south west right around to Dorset’s south coast.

6. The seaside

Minehead, Weston-super-Mare, and Burnham offer the chance for traditional seaside fun with arcades, funfairs, and fish and chips, but plenty of quieter beaches and coves also feature spots for swimming, sandcastle building, and skimming stones.

7. Glastonbury Tor

A place of special spiritual significance for 1,000 years, this prominent hill offers great views over the Glastonbury festival site and much of the rest of Somerset. While in the area, you might also visit Glastonbury Abbey.

8. Area orchards

Somerset is famous for its apples and the cider that comes from them, so no visit to the county would be complete without a glass of apple juice or cider fresh from the farm.

Top counties near Somerset

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