Find the nearest History & Heritage in Somerset
Our History and Heritage category brings all Coast Radar’s Somerset listings related to looking for something to do or a place to visit together where they offer some form of historic or heritage based activity.
Finding the best things to see and do on a Somerset day out with your family or friends is easy – simply explore the historic and heritage links below, hit the jump to my location button or use the search bar to plan your next Somerset activity.
- A 14th-century fish house at Meare was once the abode of Glastonbury Abbey fishermen, who fished the, now drained, Meare Pool. Meare is a marshland village, standing on the site of pre-historic lake. The site of the Meare Lake Village is marked by groups of mounds.
- The Bath Postal Museum is located in central Bath in Somerset. Founded in 1979 by Audrey and Harold Swindells, the museum collection is now housed in the basement of the post office building in Northgate Street. On display to visitors are artefacts from the history of the postal service from the 1700s to the present day. Open throughout the year, the museum has a small admission fee.
- The Holburne Museum of Art is an art collection situated in Sydney Gardens in central Bath, Somerset. Housed in a grade I listed building designed by Charles Harcourt Masters, the museum showcases a large collection of 18th century portraits from English artists, including Gainsborough, Turner and Stubbs. The collection was originally started by Sir William Holburne in the late 19th century and along with paintings includes silver, Italian bronzes, porcelain, glass and furniture. The museum is open all year round and admission is free, although there may be a charge for some temporary exhibitions.
- Cleeve Abbey is a 13th centurt Cistercian monastry which boasts the most impressively complete and unaltered set of monastic cloister buildings in England. Standing roofed and two storeys high, they include the gatehouse; the 15th-century refectory with its glorious angel roof; an unusual ‘painted chamber’; and the floor of an earlier refectory, decked from end to end with 13th-century heraldic tiles.
- Fyne Court is a National Trust owned nature reserve and visitor centre set in parkland which was originally the pleasure grounds of a large house belonging to pioneer 19th-century electrician, Andrew Crosse. The house burnt down in 1898. Much of the landscaping, including an arboretum created in 1780, has become overgrown and now provides varied habitats including broadleaved woodland, ponds and meadows grazed by highland cattle. The site is home to over 100 species of fungi and some rare invertebrates. A circular walk around the grounds and dogs are welcome on leads. Facilities include toilets, picnic area, and courtyard tea-room serving light lunches and afternoon tea.
- Cadbury castle stands on the summit of Cadbury Hill, a limestone hill with flat lowland to the north. The summit is 153 metres (500 ft) above sea-level. The hill is surrounded by four terraced earthwork banks and ditches and a stand of trees. Local tradition, first written down by John Leland in 1532, holds that Cadbury Castle was King Arthur’s Camelot.
- The American Museum in Britain is a beautiful collection of antiques covering American history from the late 17th to the mid 19th centuries. The exhibits are housed at the grade 1 listed Claverton Manor, to the east of the city of Bath. The museum was first opened to the public in 1961 and was founded by two collectors of antiques; an American, Dallas Pratt and a Briton, John Judkyn. The collection includes exquisite textiles and furniture. Open from Easter to November with additional seasonal opening times during the Christmas period, for the price of admission visitors not only get to see the museum but also the exhibition gallery, the Folk Art Gallery, shops, café, and gardens. You can also just visit the gardens.
- Combe Sydenham is a 15th century manor house and Grade I listed building. Combe Sydenham Hall was the home of the Sydenham family from the fourteen hundreds to the mid 18th century. In 1585, Francis Drake married Elizabeth Sydenham, the only child of Sir George Sydenham, who was the High Sheriff of Somerset. Drake and Elizabeth Sydenham were to be married earlier however he left on a long voyage and her father arranged for her to be married to a son of the Wyndham family of Orchard Wyndham. On the day of wedding as they were approaching the Church of St Mary at Stogumber there was a loud clap of thunder and a large meteorite crashed through the roof. This was seen as a bad omen and the wedding stopped. Drake had arrived back in Plymouth the same day, and they were later married at the Church of All Saints in Monksilver. The iron meteorite, which became known as “Drake’s cannon ball”, is 14 inches (36 cm) in diameter. It has been polished when rolled down hills and has remained at the house ever since. The house is set in a 500 acres (202.3 ha) estate which offers a Deer Park and a variety of walks.
- The International Helicopter Museum features a collection of more than 80 military and civilian helicopters housed on a former RAF base in Weston super Mare in Somerset. Established in 1958 by Elfan ap Rees, the collection has been added to over the last 50 years and now contains helicopters from all over the world, some on display are even rare prototypes. The museum is open throughout the year to visitors