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On a cottage holiday, a visit to Minehead is essential. Minehead is one of Somerset’s premier coastal resorts, and a popular seaside town, with a wide, sandy, family-friendly beach. Butlin’s Somerwest World on the seafront offers a host of rides and family entertainment, whilst in town Aquasplash will keep children occupied on the days when the sun isn’t shining. Once the mainstay of the town’s economy, many of the fishing boats which dot the shoreline are now employed offering recreational boat trips to visitors. Another mode of transport to be enjoyed is a trip on the West Somerset Railway, a must for visitors keen to experience the nostalgia of a ride on an authentic stream train, whilst gaining a glimpse of some of the county’s most beautiful countryside at the same time, with Exmoor, the Quantock hills and the coastal towns and resorts along the Bristol Channel.

Another popular day out is at nearby Dunster Castle, run by the National Trust. A fine castle with a turbulent history, whose records go back at least as far as Norman times, Dunster castle is an arresting sight as it stands proudly atop a wooded hill above the charming village of Dunster. Tours of the castle can be made, while the surrounding parkland, gardens and tranquil riverside walk make for pleasant places to stroll. Ensure to visit the National Collection of Strawberry Trees, which is cultivated within the castle grounds, along with the subtropical plant collection and delightful Mediterranean garden complete with citrus fruits. Dunster itself is a very pretty Somerset village, complete with thatched cottages and an ancient packhorse bridge; to take a gentle stroll around it is to take a step back in time, with many of the buildings on the main street dating from medieval times. Dunster Working Water Mill is a converted eighteenth century working mill with a lovely riverside location. There is also a riverside tearoom, and a shop selling flour ground at the mill as well as other local crafts and produce.

Cleeve Abbey, at Washford, just a short drive from Minehead, is one of the finest examples of a surviving Cistercian monastery in the country; a two storey building which, unusually, remains with an intact roof to the present day. The riverside grounds make a great place for a picnic on a sunny day, and there are full facilities maintained by English Heritage. Of a different nature, the Tropiquaria Animals and Adventure attraction is a great all-weather family day out located at Watchet, just outside of Minehead. Amid a jungle reconstruction complete with tropical waterfall and dazzling birds flying freely overhead are hands-on opportunities to hold some rather more unusual animals in the Tropical Hall. Ring-tailed lemurs, gibbons, wallabies, meerkats and many more exotic animals roam the parkland areas. Two life-size pirate ships offer children the chance to run off some energy outside, once the animal visits are over, in a designated play area filled with fun and entertainment, whilst the rope bridges and ladders of the indoor play area will keep them happy on rainy days. This area also has a designated space with slide and ball pits for younger visitors.

Why not take a look at our self catering cottages in Minehead?

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