Somerset, cider and hills

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A slice of quintessential English countryside, the rural county of Somerset is characterised by lush rolling hills, charming market towns and chocolate-box villages, and boasts a proud agricultural heritage. With beautiful scenery throughout, Somerset is perfect for walking and hiking; choose from peaceful Exmoor National Park, the steep Quantock Hills, the flat and broad Somerset Levels, or the Mendip Hills, separated by numerous gorges, including the unmissable Cheddar Gorge. Neighbouring the busy city of Bristol, Somerset also boasts two cities of its own: the small yet spectacular Wells, and Bath, lined with stunning architecture and filled with Roman heritage. Its main draw, however, are the sleepy villages which take life at a slower pace - not to be missed are Dunster and Porlock on Exmoor. Pretty thatched cottages line quiet roads running alongside gently trickling rivers, backing out onto country lanes and farms growing and making all kinds of delicious produce. Towns such as Minehead and Western-Super-Mare also make for great seaside spots, while Glastonbury, also in the north of the county, is a hippy haven where you can get in touch with your spiritual side.

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Insider tips

Somerset is widely associated with cider and over 400 varieties of cider apples are grown here | Look out for the Exmoor pony, Britain's oldest pony species, which often roams the open moors | The county has inspired a number of literary greats, including Evelyn Waugh, William Wordsworth and Jane Austen, with many places written about in their famous novels found here

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