Activities & Places to visit near The Old Post Office
Located just a few minutes' drive from Puckington is Ilminster, a pretty town with a wonderful history, which dates back to 725. It is one of the most beautiful and popular market towns in Somerset with its medieval streets surrounding its stunning 15th century Minster Church.
Due to the town's association with the nearby Muchelney Abbey it has been the home to a weekly market for several centuries. There is also a good range of independent retailers lining the streets, including the award-winning Bonners Butchers, a delicatessen, a greengrocer, a fishmonger and a florist.
The historic Mulchelney Abbey was once a landmark of the Somerset Levels. Today it is an English Heritage Site that recognises the past of a wealthy Benedictine House whose principal buildings were demolished by Henry VIII in 1538.
As the second oldest religious foundation in Somerset, the abbey has plenty to offer its visitors, whether they are interested in history or a family looking for a day out. The site still has the foundations of the abbey, the remains of a decorated cloister walk and the only thatched monk lavatory in the country! There is also the 16th century Tudor house, which is still intact and has beautiful rooms and stunning architecture to admire.
For children visiting the abbey there is an adventure playground and a dressing up box.
Combine a visit to the abbey with a walk along the Parrett Trail or a bike ride along the National Cycle Route 339.
Just a short drive from the Old Post Office is one of Somerset's most pretty towns. Taunton is surrounded by stunning scenery, from the Somerset Levels to the Quantock Hills. The country town has a thriving shopping centre, stunning architecture and an excellent cricket ground, where the Somerset team are based.
As the retail capital of Somerset, the town's high street is home to some of the country's most well-known shops, including Marks and Spencer and Debenhams. There is also a good range of independent shops, and plenty of restaurants and bars. On selected week days the town welcomes its antique market, where around 130 stalls are laid out in the centre.
There is evening entertainment to suit all tastes, including the Brewhouse Theatre and Tacchi Morris Arts Centre. On the outskirts of the town is the Hollywood Bowl, a large ten pin bowling centre, Mecca Bingo and the Odeon Cinema, which has eight screens showing various newly released films and blockbusters.
Visiting Somerset during the cricket season? Why not visit the Somerset Cricket Club at the heart of the town? Somerset's cricket team is one of the country's best with wins in the Twenty20 and host to several England matches. A cricket museum is located within the grounds and has a good range of memorabilia.
Looking for something a little more fast paced? Taunton Racecourse overlooking the Blackdown Hills is a great place to enjoy a day at the races.
Events held in Taunton include the Taunton Flower Show, a Steam Fayre and Vintage Vehicle Rally, Arts Weeks and Taunton's Illuminated Carnival.
On the outskirts of Taunton is Bishops Lydeard where the old West Somerset Steam Railway operates a traditional steam train bound for the seaside town of Minhead on the north coast. Relax in style as the train slowly meanders its way through the countryside.
Situated on the northern edge of the Mendip Hills is Cheddar, a large village, home to the biggest gorge in the country and several stunning caves. The village, which gave its name to Cheddar cheese, is a great place to visit with plenty of attractions on offer.
Recognised as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, Cheddar Gorge on the outskirts of the village has been the site of a human settlement since Neolithic times and even featured a Saxon palace. In 1903, the oldest complete human skeleton was discovered in the gorge and was estimated to be around 9,000 years old. There is also evidence of the Bronze Age and the remains of a Roman villa.
The caves at Cheddar are some of the best in the country with excellent examples of stalactites and stalagmites; two of the more interesting caves are Cox's and Gough's. Further caves house the Crystal Quest, an entertainment walk for children.
The pretty Dorset town of Sherborne is truly beautiful with its wonderful array of distinctive medieval buildings, abbey and two castles, one of which was built by Sir Walter Raleigh. The town also has an excellent range and variety of shops that attract visitors all year round, including a violin repairer, corsetiere, antique shops and art galleries.
If you are visiting the town with young children make sure you drop in at the Toy Barn at Blackmarsh Farm, where there is a large play area with climbing frames, trampolines and swing sets.
Celebrating a special occasion, or looking to try something different, why not experience a magical hot air balloon flight over the Somerset countryside? Virgin Hot Air Balloon Flights launch from Sherborne Hotel and provide scenic trips over the surrounding area. Keep an eye out for Cadbury Castle, rumoured to have once been a part of Camelot!
Lyme Regis and the Jurassic Coast
Just a 40 minute drive from Puckington is Lyme Regis on the south Dorset coast. The pretty town is home to a wonderful sandy beach where a number of activities can be enjoyed, including windsurfing, water-skiing and sailing.
Dating back to the 14th century Lyme has a lovely range of shops, art galleries and restaurants to explore. The town also has its own theatre, cinema and museum. In 2011 the town opened the refurbished Marine Parade Shelters, which are in keeping with the essence of the town but now provide facilities and information to visitors; and at the Jubilee Pavilion there is an easy-to-use touch screen information point with maps and details about the Jurassic Coast.
When visiting Lyme Regis take the time to see The Cobb, which is known for its naval architecture and links to Jane Austen's Persuasion, and, if possible, tie in in your visit with one of the many events that are held in the town, including its Jazz Festival, Fossil Festival, Life Boat Week and Regatta Week.
Stretching for 95 miles from Swanage to Exmouth the Jurassic Coastline can explain 185 million years of the earth's history. Awarded the World Heritage Site status due to its unique importance in coastal history, the Jurassic Coast is forever changing but always in keeping with the natural environment, making it a truly magnificent area to spend time.
The Jurassic Coast provides visitors with the opportunity to see the far-distant past, as they walk through Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. As the cliffs around Lyme Regis continue to erode and fall into the sea more and more fossils are uncovered.
Glastonbury Tor and Glastonbury
Overlooking the beautiful Isle of Avalon is Glastonbury Tor, an iconic Somerset landmark with views stretching from the Levels towards Dorset, Wiltshire and Wales.
Managed by the National Trust the hill rises high above the Somerset Levels, allowing it to be seen for miles. Over the years excavations of the site have discovered links to the Iron Age, the Romans and the Saxons. The original wooden church that was built on the hill was destroyed in 1275 and replaced by the stone church of St Michael's in the 14th century, whose ruins remain atop the hill.
At the foot of the Tor is the Chalice Well Trust and Gardens, which is very popular with lovers of mythology with its links to Joseph of Arimathea and King Arthur.
The small town of Glastonbury is famous for its global music festival held in the summer; however, it is a lovely place to visit at any time of the year with its quaint country shops and traditional tea rooms.
Whilst visiting Glastonbury enjoy the ruins of the Abbey, where many believe King Arthur was buried beside Guinevere. Even if you don't believe in the legends surrounding Glastonbury Abbey it is a wonderful place to spend time to soak up the peace and tranquillity.
Nestled in the heart of the Somerset countryside is Clarks Village, an extensive out of town designer shopping outlet. With more than 90 designer and major high-street stores located in the village it is paradise for visitors seeking a bargain. To make your shopping trip even more enjoyable, Clarks has a beautiful landscaped garden to explore and a wonderful terrace with a variety of restaurants.
Some of the stores located at Clarks include Barbour, Coast, Dartington Crystal, Levi's and Radley.
Tie in your visit to Clarks Village with a trip to Street, the nearby village, and the original home of Clarks shoes, which are remembered in the Shoe Museum.
The Mendip Hills
Designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1972, the Mendip Hills is a stunning area of the South West to enjoy a day out with friends or family. Walk through King's Wood where the ancient oaks are protected by the National Trust, explore the mines at Charterhouse or discover Wookey Hole, a cave system with attractions for all ages.
Looking to walk around the Mendips? Take advantage of the Mendip Way, a 50 mile footpath across the hills from Weston-Super-Mare to Frome. Alternatively, the Monarch's Way is a 615 mile footpath, which follows King Charles II's escape route from the Roundheads in 1651.
Only a few miles from Puckington is Barrington Court, a Tudor manor house free of any furniture and period collections, which allows its visitors to use their imagination to sense what it would have been like to live here over the centuries.
Saved by the Lyle family in the 1920's the house was returned to its former glory with more than £4 million spent on its renovation, leaving a beautifully designed home now run by the National Trust and open to the public.
Outside, Barrington has a stunning Gertrude Jekyll inspired garden, which is wonderfully colourful. There is also a walled-kitchen garden, which produces fruit and vegetables for Strode House Restaurant.
In 2015, Barrington Court was seen by millions on TV as it was transformed into the 17th Century home of Cardinal Wolsey in the BBC drama Wolf Hall, which explored the life of Thomas Cromwell.
Less than a half hour drive from the Old Post Office is a second National Trust house packed full of charm and character. Montacute House is a wonderful example of an Elizabethan mansion with a gorgeous garden and architecture.
Completed in 1601, the house was built with local ham stone by master mason William Arnold. Once finished it was a statement of wealth and showmanship.
The house is home to more than 60 Tudor and Elizabethan portraits, loaned to Montacute by the National Portrait Gallery and displayed in the Long Gallery, which is the longest of its kind in England.
In 2015 Montacute was used in the BBC drama Wolf Hall to represent Greenwich Palace. It had previously been used in films such as The Libertine and Sense and Sensibility.
Perry's Cider Mill
Any cider lovers staying at the Old Post Office? Perry's Cider Mill have been producing cider for more than 90 years and is happy to show off how it makes its brew. Walk around the working mill and savour some of the home-brewed cider before finishing off your day with a bite to eat in the farm's tea room. There is even a shop where you can stock up on your favourite cider!
Yeovil and the Fleet Air Arm Museum
Yeovil, the home of the 'Glovers' football team, and one of the country's largest aircraft and defence industries, including RNAS Yeovilton where the Royal Navy's Lynx and Sea King helicopters are primarily based.
The town has many attractions, as well as a good range of shops, open parks and historical buildings to discover. However, it is the Fleet Air Arm Museum that attracts visitors of all ages. Devoted to the flying arm of the Royal Navy, the museum houses a large range of memorabilia, from complete aircrafts to medals. A full size Concorde is guaranteed to wow. There are four big halls at the museum, the first shows the early development of aircrafts; hall two is dedicated to World War 2 and hall four the theory of flight. Hall three is a major attraction for children as it has been converted into the fleet carrier of HMS Ark Royal.
Forde Abbey near Chard is a place for all the family to enjoy. The working estate has a stunning house, which is open from April to October, and its wonderful gardens can be viewed all year round.
On arrival, children are given their own special entertainment pack with a guide to the house and an activity sheet. Letterboxing is also played at the abbey, with a trail placed around the garden. Complete the trail and get entered into the prize draw.
The medieval city of Wells is nestled on the southern side of the Mendip Hills and has a history dating back to the Roman times. The town inherited its name from the springs that were found in the area can be seen at the Bishop's Palace.
With a population of just 12,000, Wells is the smallest city in the country. The town was granted its city status thanks to its beautiful 13th century cathedral, which, along with many of the other historic buildings, remains largely unspoilt.
Wells Cathedral is one of Britain's most breathtaking with many of its original buildings in stunning condition. During excavations of the site a Roman Mausoleum was discovered, as well as another cathedral, the remains of which can be seen in the Camery Gardens. In the main cathedral there are more than 300 original medieval statues, along with wonderful arches and other architecture, including the unique scissor arches.
The medieval Bishop's Palace is well worth a visit when in the local area. For more than 800 years the moated palace has been home to the Bishops of Bath and Wells. There are 14 acres of gardens surrounding the palace, as well as several unique features that make it stand out, including its gatehouse with portcullis and drawbridge.
Bath is one of Somerset's most popular cities. The World Heritage Site is famous for its hot springs that were discovered by the Romans, who built a selection of baths and a temple in the valley of the River Avon.
During the Georgian era the spa town grew in popularity, which has resulted in plenty of Georgian architecture around the city.
As well as its history and Roman Baths, the city has a range of theatres, museums, sporting venues and gardens to entertain its visitors. There is also a fantastic range of shops to explore and more than 100 restaurants.
To make the most of a visit to Bath, enjoy one its city tours, or head to the Thermae Bath Spa, which offers visitors the chance to bathe in the naturally heated spring waters.
Cycling in Somerset
Within a 30 mile radius of the Old Post Office there are several excellent cycle routes. The nearest is the Barrington Round Trip, covering just under seven miles and taking in the beautiful scenery. There is even a lovely pub at Westpoint on the route, perfect for a relaxing break.
Other nearby routes include the difficult 54 mile trek around Taunton's Hills, and the moderate 10 mile journey from Merriott to Yeovil, which is reasonably flat and passes Montacute House and Ham Hill.
Bikes can be hired locally in Taunton, Chard and Yeovil
Walking in the local area
One of the nicest things to do when you arrive is to take a stroll along the country lanes surrounding the Old Post Office. The beautiful lanes around the cottage are bordered by flowering hedgerows and open fields where cows, sheep and rabbits graze. If you are walking late enough in the day you may even spot one of the local badgers.
Another local walk includes the one that takes you to Barrington, where you will find the local pub, The Barrington Boar, and the village football ground. Barrington Court, a National Trust property, is only a little further away. This walk has lovely views of Somerset.
A folder with information about local walks can be found in the cottage with details of directions.
Many other walks can be found in the local area, as far afield as the Exmoor National Park. So whether you are looking for a casual country stroll by beautiful thatched cottages, or seeking a thrilling hike over hills to admire breathtaking views, the Old Post Office can provide the perfect base.