Attractions near Orchard Farm Cottages, Castle Cary, Somerset
There's so much to do in the area that we have many repeat visitors returning to do all the things they didn't manage on their first trip (and because they like our cottages too!)
Top on the list of favourites for families is Longleat. With its safari park, stately home and numerous activities for children, it has something for all the family. We especially like the maze – it’s a great challenge to find your way to the viewing tower at the centre and then find your way out again! Go to Cheddar to explore the Caves and try Cheddar cheese made in the town, or visit the witch at Wookey Hole.
The Fleet Air Arm museum at Yeovilton is another favourite, with a visit to the simulated aircraft carrier not to be missed. The Yeovilton Air Day in June is a highlight in their calendar. A short drive from the cottages is the Haynes Motor museum where you can find your dream car, or if you happen to be here at the right time, go for a ride in it!
Our cottages are ideal for those interested in exploring National Trust properties with several 'house and garden highlights' nearby, including Montacute House, Lytes Cary, Tintinhull House, Stourhead and Barrington Court. The gardens at Stourhead are stunning, especially when the rhododendrons are out between late April and June.
The historic towns of Bath and Wells are within easy reach, Wells being a personal favourite with its beautiful cathedral and moat encircling the Bishop’s Palace. Wednesday morning is market day in Wells - a good day to visit. Glastonbury is fascinating to visit too, with its amazing shops offering everything immaginable for the spiritually inclined. The view across Somerset from the Tor makes the climb to the top well worthwhile. Next door to Glastonbury is Clark’s Village at Street – an outlet shopping centre renowned for its bargain prices. In contrast is the small town of Shepton Mallet, the venue of the recent TV series Turn Back Time, where there is a small market on Fridays.
We are also ideally situated for visitors wishing to visit the Bath & West Showgrounds just five miles away. As well as the annual Royal Bath & West agricultural show at the beginning of June, there are events (New Wine Christian conferences, antique fairs, motoring, horticulture, etc) all year round.
And of course there is the beautiful Somerset countryside to explore. Enjoy the many footpaths crossing the farm, where you may see foxes or deer. Badger setts are common, and you may be lucky enough to see a badger on a quiet road at night. Orchard Farm is frequently used by hikers as several long distance footpaths pass through Castle Cary, notably the Macmillan Way and the Leland Trail. There are cycle routes using the local country roads and the Somerset Levels are nice and flat, ideal for cycling.
Don’t just think about a summer visit. From mid-October to late-November there are evening carnivals, featuring illuminated floats. For those who have never attended such an event, this is an experience to remember. Floats 100 feet long with 25,000 light bulbs weave through town centres. The first three floats at last year's Bridgewater Carnival were illuminated by more lighting than the entire famous Blackpool Lights, and when there are 100 floats all together this is quite a spectacle.
Another spectacular winter sight is the starling roosts on the Somerset levels, made famous by the Autumnwatch programmes. Millions of starlings gather at sunset, swirling around in fantastic formations before plummeting into the reedbeds below to roost for the night.
Dave & Helen Boyer, Orchard Farm, Coopers Ash Lane, Castle Cary, Somerset, BA7 7NY
Tel 01963 350418