From must-try experiences to some of our favourite spots, make the most of summer in Somerset and plan your next getaway

Lose yourself in the gardens after the gates have closed

As temperatures rise, the pull of the Somerset countryside grows ever stronger. The physical and mental benefits of getting out in nature are wholly transformative, so we’re sharing our insider tips for summer stays. With 29 hotel experiences to choose between, go behind the scenes on an estate tour to discover our secret spots and deep-rooted connection to the landscape; boost your wellbeing with ‘forest bathing’ in ancient woodlands; and get your natural high from an invigorating cold dip in the lake. 

Of course, simple pleasures, such as gazing at the gardens after hours, or floating in the outdoor pool followed by a barefoot wander in the mediaeval herb garden before dinner are warmly encouraged too. There’s a new chef at the helm in The Botanical Rooms sprinkling creative magic on new season dishes, and our new Creamery restaurant at Castle Cary station is a delightful pit stop for guests arriving by train. Steal away for a night, a weekend or a little longer; languor in dreamy bucolic scenes and feel your heart soar. 

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See inside the Engine Room

“The Estate Tour is a new experience we offer our hotel guests,” says Head of Programmes, Arthur Cole. “The purpose of the tour is to shine a light on the engine room of the estate and present our guests with an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of what goes into making their stay so unique.”

You’ll discover the team’s favourite views, explore the farm and meet our British White herd up close at the Round House. Gain insights into the benefits of growing in Keder houses and hydroponic vegetable production – the Glasshouse is where we’re cultivating tomatoes and basil to pair with The Creamery’s buffalo mozzarella. There’s also an opportunity to step over the threshold of our new state-of-the-art Butchery, and revel in the abundance of homemade compost and hear about its constituents; all in the space of an hour.

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The Estate Tour takes you over to Avalon Farm to see our British Whites in the Round House
Cultivating jewels of the season inside The Newt’s Glasshouse

First Class in Somerset

Once you’ve seen how we’re growing salads and producing the finest cuts of meat, you can put the ingredients to the taste test at our newest trackside restaurant and working dairy at Castle Cary station, The Creamery. 

Even if you’re not arriving by train, the striking red-brick Edwardian buildings are less than a 10-minute drive from the estate. Visit for weekend breakfast and hearty British classics served at lunch and dinner – we’re warmly recommending the cultivated mushrooms with Margaretha’s garlic and parsley hangop on Bakery sourdough, followed by a smash burger with all the essential accompaniments, best washed down with a cyder or two.

Interiors evoke the spirit of ‘La Belle Époque’ and the golden age of the Great British railway, and diners can watch traditional Somerset cheese being brined and hand-stretched while tucking into their restaurant plates.  

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Smash burgers with Margaretha’s gouda come highly recommended at The Creamery

NEW at The Botanical Rooms 

With a new Head Chef, George Barson, behind the stoves at The Botanical Rooms, there are some delicious dishes in the making, such as grilled monkfish with courgette and tomato. “Monkfish is one of my favourite fish, it’s got a great firm texture and lends itself well to cooking over open fire,” explains George. “We’re serving it with a courgette and basil purée, grilled courgettes, fresh tomatoes with preserved lemon, wild garlic capers and marjoram – it’s a really fresh combination, perfect for this time of summer.

“As a sharing special, we’re also grilling big rib-eyes on the bone over fire, brushed with roasted beef fat and served with sides like dressed glasshouse tomatoes and pink fir potatoes,” says George. “It’s a great showcase of the estate’s own British White beef.”

George also has a special mention for the strawberries, clotted cream mousse and meringue. “Being from Devon, I’m always going to be a big fan of clotted cream!” he adds. “It’s somewhat reminiscent of an Eton Mess and a great representation of British summertime.” 

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Try George Barson’s summery new dishes at The Botanical Rooms

Insects Welcome

Resident entomologist Tom Oliver has set up a new bug hotel in the Kitchen Garden for the likes of solitary bees, beetles and resident insects to hibernate in. ‘Rooms’ are filled with bamboo canes, pine cones, deadwood and hollow chambers, ensuring our six-legged inhabitants feel at home.  

“It is designed for everyone to see how simple things can be done to encourage more insect life into a garden,” explains Tom. “Our bug hotel may look very grand, but it could easily be replicated on a smaller scale with the same benefit for insects.” 

Land of the Summer People

Whether you’re staying for a short and sweet stopover or residing a week, there’s much to explore beyond the estate’s perimeter. While we could (and probably will) dedicate a whole Journal post to our dear friends and neighbours, here are 7 of our favourites. Plus, the Welcome Team will happily provide many more personalised picks…

Comins X Shatwell Pop

A private, morning tea tasting in the serene surroundings of Shatwell Farm is a brilliant way to take time out for yourself. Try the homemade cakes and dumplings for the full experience.

42 Acres

Reconnect with the natural world, yourself and others at nature retreat and wellbeing centre, 42 Acres. Book onto a transformative workshop, from learning about permaculture to experiencing a ‘Temazcal Sweatlodge’.

Hauser & Wirth

Durslade Farm is home to a pioneering world-class gallery, breathtaking gardens and a new site-specific artwork doubling as a bar. It’s easy to see why Hauser & Wirth Somerset is one of the hippest places to hang out in the west.

Bo Lee & Workman 

Art enthusiasts should also make a pilgrimage to Bo Lee & Workman, a contemporary art gallery in a former Methodist Church. Visit before 8 September to see British artist Laura Ford’s solo show, Under This Roof, and immerse yourself in a mysterious and magical wonderland.

Frome Independent Market

Taking place on the first Sunday of the month, Frome Independent Market takes over the high street to spotlight an eclectic mix of craftspeople, designers, makers, vintage traders and foodie producers.

Woodshedding Brewery

This beer hall in Batcombe showcases organic grains from British farmers, experimenting with heritage varieties to make a mix of cask and kegged beer. Be sure to stock up on cheese and charcuterie from our friends at Westcombe Dairy, just across the yard, while you’re there.

Horrell & Horrell

Open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, book in for a taste of Jules & Steve’s Somerset hospitality in their old cow barn with outdoor kitchen. Menus are informed by the week’s harvest for seasonal long table dining at its convivial best.

A flower-lined country lane meanders to the Somerset Levels, with Glastonbury Tor beyond