11 MAY IS SOMERSET DAY
Many people living outside the county of Somerset will be unaware that Somerset Day is fast approaching. Introduced in 2015, the date of 11 May was chosen (following an online vote) as Somerset Day. The idea behind Somerset Day is to provide a focal point to celebrate all that is great about this wonderful county.
So, why the 11 May you may be thinking? Well, the date was chosen in honour of Alfred the Great. In 878, this King of Wessex gathered together the people of Somerset to march against the Viking army. (The picture above is of King Alfred’s Tower. It is believed to mark the site where King Alfred rallied his troops.) Alfred and his Somerset men defeated the invading Vikings and Alfred went on to become a dominant ruler. Apparently, he is the only English monarch to be accorded “the Great” in his title!
But enough of the past. Today, tourism plays a vital role in the health of the Somerset economy. According to a recent report by Visit Somerset around 26,000 people are employed full time in the tourism industry (and I’m very happy to be one of them) which accounts for around 10% of all employment in Somerset.
That being said, our glorious county has a long way to go before the tourism sector catches up with those of Devon and Cornwall. There must be thousands of people who still just drive through Somerset on their way further West. Please stop (preferably at my B&B in Croscombe!) and see what this amazing county has to offer. I hope the following whets your appetite ahead of Somerset Day.
SO MUCH TO SEE & DO IN SOMERSET
Like the seaside? Well Somerset has over 60 miles of coastline. This varies from sandy beaches to rugged, Jurassic sections packed with fossils.
Love the countryside? Somerset has plenty of that too. Around two thirds of Exmoor National Park actually lies in Somerset and there are three large Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. (All easily accessible from The Cross…)
Enjoy soaking up the culture? No problem. Somerset has an abundance of historical buildings and heritage sites (the county contains over 10,000 listed buildings, over 500 ancient monuments and 36 English Heritage sites). Just a few miles from me are mystical Glastonbury (said to be the home of Christianity) and Wells (England’s smallest city). The latter is currently in the running for UK City of Culture 2021.
Family attractions more your thing? Somerset has plenty of them. Aside from a host of cracking National Trust properties there are gorges, caves, museums, gardens and leisure parks to explore. There is something fantastic going on each and every month; from music festivals in the summer to huge, illuminated carnivals in the winter.
Somerset offers so much more than great cider, tasty cheese and a massive music festival.
As a Somerset girl I’m proud to support Somerset Day. I hope you will come and experience this glorious county for yourself.