Head west for sand castles, steam engines and a very, very big wheel
British breaks: Somerset
Sunday 28 June 2009
Get down to the beach between 4 July and 7 September for the Weston-super-Mare Sand Sculpture Festival (westonsandsculpture .co.uk).
Sculptors from the World Sand Sculpture Academy in Holland now visit each year to work their magic. If you're in Weston on 19 July, you can also catch Channel 4's T4 on the Beach, including performances from top stars and bands.
Admire the engines, tractors and road rollers at the 22nd West Somerset Railway Steam Rally on 2 August (wsra.org.uk). Or step further back in time to the Iron Age at the Lughnasa Skills Fair (somerset.gov.uk/ somerset/cultureheritage/heritage /pmc). On 2 August, Peat Moors Centre will bring to life its reconstructions of Iron Age roundhouses with a celebration of the ancient festival of First Harvest, or Lughnasa, to mark the end of summer.
Cookery demonstrations, literary talks, and stand-up comedy are among the cultural events taking place alongside performances by The Levellers and the Bath Philharmonic Orchestra at the Frome Festival (frome festival.co.uk) from 3 to 12 July. Three nights of music from the Americas will take place in the grounds of Montacute House near Yeovil from 3 to 5 July for the charity Music For Africa (music forafrica.org.uk). The Priddy Folk Festival (priddyfolk.org) will host folk music and ceilidhs in the village of the same name from 10 to 12 July. And finally, Status Quo and Myleene Klass are on the bill of Music at the Abbey in Glastonbury (glastonburyabbey.com) on 8 and 9 August.
Raise a glass at North Newton near Bridgewater on 10 and 11 July, when the Somerset village hosts the Newt Beer Festival (newtbeerfest.com). Meanwhile, gardeners can seek some green-fingered inspiration at the Taunton Flower Show (tauntonflower show.co. uk) on 7 and 8 August, while the rest of the family enjoys watching dog display teams and a motorbike stunt show.
See the sights
Take in the views from the Wheel of Weston (worldtouristattractions.co.uk). The 13-minute journey in climate-controlled capsules on this 40-metre-high giant observation wheel offers views over the Bristol Channel to Wales, the Quantock Hills, Exmoor National Park, and Mendip Hills.
Follow one of the county's new car-free itineraries. All seven of these circular day trips can be downloaded from visit somerset.co.uk and take you around the county by bus, bike, steam train and on foot. Each itinerary has a theme such as local myths, regional food, and seaside fun.
Check out the tourist board's Sharing Somerset Secrets guide, which suggests one and two-day itineraries in different areas of the county, featuring ideas from local celebrities including cricketer Marcus Trescothick. And watch out for a new guide to the county's heritage, inspired by the London Underground map. The Somerset Routes touring guide – due to appear on the tourist board's website soon – will take in museums, historic railways, castles, gardens and more.
For more ideas and accommodation suggestions, go to visitsomerset.co.uk.
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