Somerset is well-known for its delicious cider and world-famous Cheddar cheese, pretty thatched cottages and enchanting woodlands. But it is also a land rich in culture. It calls to be explored, to be shared. From the Mendip Hills to Minehead, expect to be transported through time and see fairytale castles and ancient harbours. Jaw-dropping landscapes, much designated an area of outstanding natural beauty, it is guaranteed to set the scene for any romantic date in Somerset.
While cheese, cider, and most things seldom come free, much of Somerset’s impressive heritage is free to indulge your senses in. Here are 8 cultural dating ideas that won’t cost a penny.
1. Find treasure in Watchet
Meet your date at Watchet’s historic harbour, and if the picturesque seaside location doesn’t impress, dazzle them with stories about hidden treasures. Home to an early Iron Age fort, Watchet had to defend itself from many enemies, including Vikings looting the locally produced coins. Suggesting a stroll along the coastline in search of ancient ammonite fossils should bring out the child in both of you; you might find a coin, you might find love.
2. Nestle up in a reserve and discover a rare species
If you love nature, it’s probably important to find a mate who appreciates the natural world as much as you do. There are over 70 designated nature reserves across the county to explore with your kindred spirit. The Levels and Moors in Somerset are home to Greylake, Ham and Wall play host to the famous Avalon Marshes. Both are home to some of Britain’s rarest species.
3. Don’t be cheesy in Cheddar
The first thing most people think of when they hear about Cheddar is cheese. But the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company’s name gives a clue to why people have been visiting the area for hundreds of years. Cheddar’s spectacular limestone gorge, 500 feet at its highest, demands to be ogled from riverside walks below or cliff-top footpaths above.
4. Art lovers connect in Bruton
The Hauser and Wirth Somerset gallery and gardens boasts a world-class multi-purpose arts centre. Set in the grounds of a restored 18th century farm at Bruton, the Guardian once dubbed it the next Guggenheim. Check out their website to see a calendar of events throughout the year.
5. Be seduced by Wells
They say the best things come in small packages, and the city of Wells, with its 12th century cathedral littered with over 300 statues and carvings, is no exception. It may be Somerset’s only city, and you’ve probably seen bigger towns, but Somerset loves the fact it plays host to England’s smallest city. At the foot of the Mendip Hills, the city’s architecture tells a spell-binding story you’ll get lost in. Take your date’s hand and meander around its majestic streets.
6. A knight’s tale at Nunney Castle
There are few places where you can easily access and visit a medieval castle. Dating back to 1370, Nunney Castle may be a ruin, but it’s well-preserved. Complete with a moat, it has an awe-inspiring great tower, flanked by four rounded corner towers, and was the creation of a local knight with a taste for opulence. If you believe in fairy tales, this could be the start of yours.
7. A Victorian romance in Clevedon
How about meeting your date at a Victorian bandstand in Clevedon? Overlooking the Severn Estuary, this pretty Victorian seaside town packs a choice of features, Clevedon Pier being a must. A pebbled beach will supply enough flat stones for skimming, whilst its marine lake provides a haven for both native and migrating birds. Salthouse Field’s cute light railway runs around its edges.
8. Be Street wise about compatibility
The village of Street is home to Britain’s first factory outlet centre. Clarks Village has over 90 famous brands to peruse if you need a little retail therapy. Of course, this article is about dating ideas you can do for free, so this is strictly window shopping. What a perfect opportunity to see if you and your potential lover have similar tastes in things.
Image Sources: Watchet Harbour via invisiblestudio.org; Greylake via stjohnspool-birds.co.uk; Cheddar Gorge via cheddargorge.co.uk; Hauser and Wirth Gallery via hauserwirthsomerset.com; Wells via walkingbritain.co.uk; Nunney Castle via dronestagr.am; Clevedon Pier via clevedonpier.co.uk; Clarks Village via wikiwand.com.
Featured photo credit: Unknown via cheddargorge.co.uk