28+ Things to do in North Somerset

North Somerset is probably the area I knew best before moving to the south of the county in 2021. Previously being an inhabitant of Bristol, we were always skipping across the border to find fun things to do in North Somerset.

From long walks on the coast, to Iron Age hill fort hikes, big animal zoo visits, to marine lake dips and cooling off in an open-air lido – the list of North Somerset things to do is diverse, exciting and scenically-pleasing. 

​​I’ve put together a guide to the best things to do in North Somerset – ideal if you’re local and looking for inspiration, or if you’re visiting the area and want to make the most of your time in the county.

Things to do in North Somerset

Things to do in North Somerset Attractions

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, Wraxall

This countryside attraction is home to big zoo animals including tigers, rhinos, giraffes, bears and elephants as well as smaller animals, like bunnies, goats and guinea pigs.

As well as wildlife, there are adventure playgrounds (including a unique-looking elephant slide) giant maze and ginormous indoor soft play complete with beehive maze, slides, ball pit and ride-on tractor area.

Click here to check ticket prices for Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm

Clevedon Marine Lake

Built in 1929 and recently refurbished, Clevedon Marine Lake is an enormous tidal infinity pool with a photogenic Bristol Channel backdrop. You’ll need a thick skin or a wetsuit to brave a dip in the water (it’s about 13.5 degrees C in May), or you could always take a paddleboard or canoe.

Even if you’re not venturing in, it’s nice to just walk around the edge, and there’s crabs if you have the kit to fish them out.

Clevedon Marine lake
Clevedon Marine Lake

Clevedon Pier

Pay just a few pounds and you can sashay (or croon One Direction style – the band filmed on the pier a few years ago) down the UK’s only Grade 1* listed pier.

Clevedon Pier was finished in 1869 as a landing point for paddle steamers transporting passengers along the Severn Estuary from Wales and Devon. Waverley cruises still take people to Minehead, Ilfracombe, Penarth, Porth Cawl and Swansea from here.

If you’d rather stay put, there are some cracking views across the Severn Estuary to Wales, plus a pagoda cafe at the far end serving coffee and cake.

Click here to find out more information about Clevedon Pier

Clevedon Pier North Somerset, people heading to beach
Clevedon Pier
Clevedon Pier North Somerset
Clevedon Pier

Helicopter Museum, Weston-super-Mare

The Helicopter Museum houses the world’s largest dedicated helicopter collection, with over 100 exhibits on display in an all-weather undercover hangar. Highlights of the famous collection include ‘The Hind’ gunship, and the world’s fastest helicopter, the Westland G-Lynx.

As well as the aircraft, the museum also has a kid’s play helicopter, rare toy helicopter displays, a museum cinema, helicopter experience flights and it hosts regular open cockpit and children’s’ fun days (you can see Santa arrive by helicopter at Christmas!)

Click for more information about The Helicopter Museum

Brean Leisure Park

Brean Leisure Park is a coastal amusement park in Brean, near Burnham-on-Sea, about 20-minutes drive from Weston super Mare. Open from Easter-November, the theme park has over 40 attractions for all adrenaline levels including indoor and outdoor Roller Coasters, a Wild Water Log Flume, Dodgems, Crazy Boats, a ghost train and more.

Brean Splash outdoor water park is also located here and its water play area for under 12s, water slides for young and older kids, shallow pool and a sunbathing area make it great for a hot day. There’s also an indoor splash pool, indoor swimming pool and baby pool. 

Click to check ticket prices to Brean Leisure Park

Portishead open-air pool

Portishead lido is a large, open-air pool overlooking the Bristol Channel. It’s heated by green energy and has a non-slip, shallow toddler pool alongside the larger swimming pool. Amphitheatre-style steps overlook both the swimming area and the view beyond – perfect place to bask during a heatwave!

When you’re not wallowing in the water, there’s a tuck shop and onsite cafe for snacks, or you could bring your own for a picnic.

Portishead Lido
Portishead Lido

Puxton Park

Set in 40 acres of rolling Somerset countryside, this wildlife and adventure park is great for all weathers. Outdoors, you’ll find animals such as meerkats, birds of prey, ponies, cows and all kids of kid-friendly fun. Tractor rides, a bouncing pillow, trampolines, a mini merry-go-round, a miniature train, crazy golf, numerous adventure play areas, bumper boats, a pedal kart track, diggers, boating lake, dodgems-style cars, a high ropes course and lots more!

Indoors, there’s a gigantic soft play, animals to pet in the discovery barn, a couple of restaurants and a farm shop selling local produce. The only problem is trying to fit it all in one visit!

Click to check ticket prices at Puxton Park

Tyntesfield

This handsome, gothic-style Victorian mansion sits in 540 acres of historic land, surrounded by beautiful Somerset countryside. As with most National Trust places, it’s family-friendly, with three natural play areas, a den building village in the woodland, seasonal trails and child-friendly activities taking place all year-round.

There’s much to explore with or without kids in tow – from open lawns and formal terraces, to a historic Orangery and working Kitchen Garden, don’t miss the magnificent pumpkin display, tulips in spring, autumn colours or Victorian Christmas.

Click here for more information about Tyntesfield

Tyntesfield House National Trust
Tyntesfield

Farringtons Farm Park and Play Barn

Farringtons Farm Park is home to an excellent Farm Shop selling homegrown and homemade produce, a café and huge play barn (split into three areas – a baby area, toddler frame and larger structure for older kids).

In the summer they open their Farm Park so visitors can meet farm animals and play in the tractor-themed playground.

Keep a look out for our seasonal events – in spring and summer, you can pick-your-own tulips and sunflowers, in October Farrington’s hosts the South West’s largest pumpkin picking.

>>18 Best farm shops in Somerset>>

Pumpkin picking Farringtons Somerset
Farrington’s Farm Park

Chew Valley Animal Park

In the heart of rural Somerset countryside, this family-run ‘zoo’ (as Chew Valley Animal Park call themselves) is a joy to visit with young animal lovers, especially in spring when little lambies and tiny piglets have just been born.

You can get up close to pygmy goats, pigs, chickens and book special animal interactions! Pet rabbits, stroke guinea pigs, have a mouse scoot up your arm or watch a rat snooze on your lap.

It’s great for kiddos who are a bit nervous around furry creatures as it can massively build their confidence around animals (as witnessed with our creature-fearful six year old who was well away with animal petting by the end of our visit!)

There’s also an outdoor play area, lots of other animals to see and beautiful views over Chew Valley lake.

The Grand Pier, Weston-super-Mare

One of Weston’s most famous landmarks, The Grand Pier, has been around since 1904. Under its covered roof you’ll find fairground rides, slot machines, rats to splat, a laser maze, hall of mirrors, a soft play area and even a Go Kart track. Not for the faint-hearted, it’s very much an assault on the senses – which means kids especially love it, adults might need a lie down afterwards.

Look out for special events taking place on the pier throughout the year – Santa’s Grotto, an Emergency Services weekend, fireworks and more.

Get out and about in nature

Poets Walk, Clevedon

Named in reference to poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Alfred Tennyson, who were inspired by their time in Clevedon, Poets Walk circular clifftop stroll is about 2km.

You can pick up the walk at the cliffside end of Clevedon marine lake. Take the path towards the woods and you’ll quickly reach a viewpoint looking out over the sea towards Clevedon pier and marine lake below.

Slightly further up there’s a small castle lookout (a.k.a Sugar Lookout, an Instagram fave), then keep following the path past a church and onto open green fields for far-reaching views over the channel, before circling back.

Poets Walk Clevedon
Poets Walk Clevedon

Uphill Nature Reserve

Uphill Nature Reserve is a perfect place to wander for sensational views over Weston Super Mare, the Somerset levels, Welsh hills and Bristol Channel. From Uphill village, hike up the hill to the tower – an old windmill (which you can climb).

To finish off your walk, drop down to Uphill beach, or extend your stroll to The Brean Down Way – an 8-mile walking and cycling route.

Long-distance walkers can take on The West Mendip Way (approx 30 miles in length), which runs between Uphill and the City of Wells.

Worlebury Hill Fort

Worlebury Camp is an ancient Iron Age hill fort built over 2,000 years ago, that overlooks Weston, Sand Bay, and the Bristol Channel.

Designated a scheduled monument since 1915, thanks to its rare coastal location, considerable defences and archaeological importance, there’s not much left of the fort to see today, but it’s a lovely spot for a walk and to connect with the area’s historical past.

Worlebury Fort from Sand Bay
View of Worlebury Fort from Sand Bay

Sand Point and Middle Hope

Sand Point, which lies just north of Weston super Mare is a natural pier that juts into the Bristol Channel and has spectacular views across Sand Bay and across the water to Wales.

This patch of North Somerset is National-Trust protected land and from the NT car park beside the beach, there is a lovely 3 mile route, which takes you on a circular coastal walk around Sand Point. During the stroll it’s possible to walk right out along the headland and drop down to the rocks on the shingley beach (just check the tide times beforehand).

Find out more information about Sand Point here

Ashton Court Estate

Ashton Court Estate is a whopping 800 acres of woodland and green open space, just a hop across Clifton Suspension Bridge. Mountain bikers, horse riders, golfers and families flock here for countryside ventures close to the city. Fallow deer are easy to spot wandering in fenced-off areas and there are gargantuan redwood trees to admire. The estate is a pretty scenic picnic spot, with views gazing back over the city.

If you’re visiting between March and October, check ahead to see if the Miniature Railway is running (90p a ride, 10 rides for £8) – it’s brilliant, cheap fun.

Pedal Progression

Mountain biking experts Pedal Progression, based at Ashton Court Estate, and offer public or private skills coaching, mountain bike hire and guided bike rides (with or without pub stops).

Brush up on your technique, then head for the purpose-built mountain bike trails at Leigh Woods and Ashton Court Estate for an exhilarating outdoor experience.

The Leigh Woods mountain bike trails offer a little slice of wilderness with beautiful scenery and a mix of terrains to challenge all abilities.

Goblin Combe Nature Reserve

Goblin Combe is a dramatic limestone gorge surrounded by woodland, stretching from Redhill to Cleeve in North Somerset.

The name alone gives these magical woods a certain mystique, and indeed, there is a folktale about the place involving primroses and fairies coming out of rocks!

There are several different walking trails to explore here (all marked on a sign at the beginning of the walk), so you can choose whether you want a relaxing saunter or steeper climb. If you do go for the uphill route, head for the vantage point of Cleeve Toot for sensational views of the Mendip Hills and all the way out to sea.

Priors wood nature reserve

Did you know the UK is home to more than half the world’s population of bluebells? I don’t know what percentage of those are in Priors Wood, but it’s a LOT. Vast numbers of them carpet the ancient woodland floor from late April, making full hillsides look as if they are glowing blue.

Once part of the Tyntesfield Estate, Priors Wood is a wildlife-rich nature reserve with streams (the one with the troll bridge is very popular with kids!) and plantations.

Prior Wood near Bristol Somerset
Prior Wood

Greyfield Woods and Waterfall, High Littleton

These 90 acres of woodland were once part of the Earl of Warwick’s hunting estate. These days the area is great for walkers who want a picturesque patch of countryside with a lovely waterfall.

From the car park, it’s a short trek along wide paths (once working routes and tramways), through ancient trees and across a field to the highlight of the hike, Greyfield Woods waterfall.

Brean Down

Two miles down the coast from Weston-super-Mare is one of the longest stretches of sandy beach in Europe – 7-miles of beach and dunes, bookended by one of the great natural landmarks of the Somerset coastline, Brean Down.

This natural promontory is a dramatic 97 metres high and sticks out 1.5 miles into the Bristol Channel. It’s a steep climb up over 100 steps, but once you’re there, you’re rewarded with 360 degree views over the Somerset Levels and Bristol Channel, looking back to Weston-super-Mare. Walk to the end to discover the ruin of a Victorian fort – built to defend the country against a possible Napoleonic invasion.

Brean Down National Trust North Somerset
Brean Down
Brean Down beach
Brean Down beach
Brean Down Beach
Brean Down Beach

Cadbury Camp Iron Age Hill Fort

On the ridge above Tickenham, 6th century BC Cadbury Camp’s Iron Age Hill Fort is now a herb-rich, grassy-sloped embankment and conservation area.

There’s tons of wildlife to sport while you’re walking – we visited in May and the place was alive with fluttering butterflies, bright blue dragonflies, pinging grasshoppers, crickets, buzzards and a herd of cows. It’s said that adders slither in these parts so keep your eyes peeled, and ticks are known to be rife up here – so check yourselves at the end.

There are a couple of walking routes suggested by the National Trust on their website – the 2-mile Cadbury Ramble and The Cadbury Climb (2.5 miles). Either will reward you with sensational panoramic views over green hills, patchwork fields and the Severn Estuary.

Cadbury Camp Tickenham North Somerset
Cadbury Camp

North Somerset towns

Weston-super-Mare

There’s more to Weston than its infamous reputation may have you believe. While some people still sneer at the thought of visiting, I personally enjoy a day out in the coastal town, particularly with kids in tow (here are my 24 reasons why!)

As well as a long sandy beach, views out to Brean Down and Steep Holm Island, donkey rides and fish and chips, there’s a street art trail to discover, a museum to peruse, plus Clara’s Cottage, a well-preserved 1940s home that gives a fascinating insight into life in Weston during World War II.

Birnbeck Pier is fascinating to see – the first and oldest of Weston’s pier resembles something out of Banksy’s Dismaland, all broken boards, flailing railings, and skeletal buildings – a haunting reminder of the town’s Victorian heyday.

And for rainy day fun, there’s Clip n Climb and Revo Glo Golf – a neon glow-in-the-dark crazy golf course. 

Birnbeck Pier Weston super Mare
Birnbeck Pier
Weston super Mare North Somerset
Weston-super-Mare

Clevedon

Salty swimming, sea glass hunting, pretty coastline and a side of Victorian English seaside charm – Clevedon is one of our favourite family trips when the sun is shining.

Ambling along the seafront, clambering over the rocks, strolling round the town, visiting the Pier, eating fish and chips on the beach, exploring the coastline on Poets walk and wandering around the marine lake make a fun day out.

North Somerset trails and tours

Thatchers Cider Tasting tor, Sandford

One of Somerset’s most recognisable ciders has been crafted at Myrtle Farm in Sandford, at the foot of the Mendip Hills for over 115 years. 

Book onto a guided Thatchers Cider Tour, where you’ll learn about how cider has been made during four generations of the Thatcher family, see how times have changed and of course, get the chance to try a few ciders too.

Aldwick Estate Vineyard Tours

Aldwick Estate is a 300 acre family-run farm located beneath the northern slopes of the Mendip Hills. They offer 90-minute tours of their 11 acres of grape vines, so you can discover the history behind the largest vineyard in Somerset, learn about English viticulture and see the grapes from which their wine will be made…and judge the produce for yourself by sampling a few! 

North Somerset events

North Somerset Show

  • When? 1 May 2023

The North Somerset Show is a one-day event organised by North Somerset Agricultural Society, showcasing the very best of livestock and horses, as well as rural events, crafts and food. 

Visitors can expect to see horse showing and jumping, tractor pulling, competitions for Blacksmiths, Sheep Shearers and Beekeepers, as well as traditional rural crafts such as stick making, lace making and felting.

Sample North Somerset’s finest produce and drink in the Food Hall, potter around the trade stalls and don’t miss the battle of North Somerset’s strongest man.

North Somerset Carnivals

Autumn is carnival season in Somerset and some 30 villages and towns host illuminated parades with floats, bands and dancers taking part in the procession.

The biggest and most famous are often referred to as the ‘Magnificent Seven’ – these are the Guy Fawkes carnivals and this ‘circuit’ takes place in November, with tens of thousands of people lining the streets to watch.

Four of the seven carnivals take place in North Somerset, in Weston, Bridgwater, Burnham-on-Sea and North Petherton (the remaining big three are Glastonbury, Wells and Shepton Mallet).

Liked this post on things to do in North Somerset? Discover more of the county:

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