Visit Cheddar: Places to stay, things to do

Discover the true beauty of Cheddar and its famous gorge with a weekend away to Somerset. Nick Peers goes exploring the cliffs and surrounding area

Cheddar-by-mick-finn-70c1090
Why go there?
The limestone gorge is undoubtedly Cheddar’s most famous landmark, so if possible try to approach it from the A39, which will enable you to travel the entire length of the gorge on the B3135 to the eastern boundary of the village. Much of Cheddar spills out into the flatlands beyond, but it’s an easy stroll back into the gorge.
Here you’ll find the major tourist attraction of the Cheddar Gorge and Caves. You’ll have to pay £16 a head for entrance to the attractions on offer, but you get your money’s worth. If the caves don’t appeal, your ticket price includes access to the top of the gorge via a 274-step climb to the Lookout Tower. Here you’ll get stunning a view of the village and reservoir, and a beautiful cliff-top walk that showcases the gorge’s pockets of heath, scrub and woodland that provide home to a wide variety of flora and fauna.
If you want a more gentle pastime, explore the village’s many shops and cafes, where you’ll have ample opportunity to sample genuine Cheddar cheese, the village’s other main claim to fame.
 
Where to stay
If you want to stay in the gorge itself, then Cox’s Mill is the place to base yourself. Prices start from £30 for single occupancy or £50 for double occupancy, and include breakfast. The hotel enjoys stunning views of the gorge as well as various water features, all harking back to its original function as – you’ve guessed it – a working mill. Look out for the spectacular waterfall, which can be seen from the outdoor terrace adjoining the hotel’s bar.
 
Where to eat
The Gardeners Arms prides itself on home cooking using local ingredients where possible, including vegetables sourced from the allotments just behind the pub. It’s been licensed since 1871, but the buildings date back to the 16th century, giving it real historical flavour. With starters for under a fiver, and mains ranging from £9-15, there should be something for everyone’s palate.
 
Tell us a local secret
Cheddar Gorge has its own unique flower, the Cheddar Pink. By purchasing a ticket to enter the caves and gorge you’re contributing to the preservation of this species as well as the general environmental wellbeing of the gorge itself.

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