In a serene answer to the Underground arteries which rumble beneath London, more than 120 heritage sites across Somerset have been linked on a searchable “tube map”, breaking the county into “travel lines” on a quirky and colourful website.
Somerset Routes breaks down a wealth of sumptuous attractions, including details on upcoming fun and games taking place at each one. It encapsulates the breadth of the region’s heritage, from the border with Bath and the lands of King Alfred to 55 miles of stately homes (on the Hamstone Line) via cricket and cider opportunities.
“Countless copies of the map, guides and itineraries have been printed and issued, and the feedback we have received from visitors has been wonderful,” says local councilor Christine Lawrence, reflecting on a scheme initiated by Museums in Somerset in 2009.
“Creating a website which can be regularly updated has been a natural step in order to cater for the interest the project has generated so far, and to take the promotion of our heritage to a new level.”
You can customise your criteria, download your own neat itinerary or even find out about volunteering at some of the properties on the sleek new site. Highlights include the new Museum of Somerset, Glastonbury Abbey, Ham Hill County Park and ancient battlefields.
“The success of the map has been fantastic, and we hope that the new website can take the project to an even wider audience, encouraging yet more people to explore the county’s hidden gems” says Colin Spackman, the Chair of the museums alliance.
“Bakelite coffins, the oldest manmade road in Britain and early Victorian prosthetic limbs are just some of the treasures that can be found in Somerset. It boasts an amazing number of museums and heritage attractions, and the website celebrates the fascinating, quirky, important and often intriguing heritage locations in the county.”
- Visit www.somersetroutes.co.uk for more.
The Somerset Routes:
Alfred and Levels Line
Travel through 45 miles of the evocative Somerset Levels and explore ancient settlements, medieval abbeys and civil war sites.
This 85-mile circular line takes you through a range of different landscapes including the Somerset Levels, the Mendip Hills, Polden Hills and coastline.
From England's smallest city, to Somerset's border with Bath, more than 30 miles of scenic roads take you to some of the finest castles, buildings and palaces in the county.
Get the taste of Somerset in just 23 miles. Uncover ancient sites, glorious gardens and picturesque parks or stop for the obligatory cricket and cider experience.
This circular line showcases 55 miles of stately homes and beautiful gardens nestled between traditional orchards and rural villages.
Travel the 40-mile line named after the area's royal connections with King Alfred and the mythical King Arthur. The Kings' Line leads you from historic Montacute at the foot of Ham Hill, to the very borders of Somerset and Dorset.
Quantock and Coast Line
Stretching across the west, this line encompasses 60 miles of the widest variety of castles, abbeys, railways and quirky museum collections.
© Cheddar Caves
© Andrew Boatswain
© Montacute TV Toy and Radio Museum
© Ham Hill