Are you looking for the top things to do in Cheddar Gorge? From hiking, hot tubbing and afternoon tea, there are lots of things to do in Cheddar Gorge.
Cheddar Gorge is best known for its picturesque and naturally occurring caves and rocky limestone in the Mendip Hills in Somerset.
Near the imposing 450ft cliffs lies the charming village of Cheddar where you’ll find tearooms, independent pubs, cheese shops and delicious ice cream.
Things to do in Cheddar Gorge
It’s the perfect getaway if you are looking for a fun staycation in the UK? Cheddar Gorge is Britain’s largest limestone gorge with dramatic cliffs that rise over 450ft.
Spend a weekend exploring stunning hiking trails, underground caverns, traditional shops, cute cafes, cheese tastings and proper English pubs.
It’s an area of outstanding natural beauty and is an ideal British holiday for outdoor enthusiasts, couples looking for rural escape and families seeking a weekend break in the countryside.
Planning your Cheddar Gorge holiday
A trip to Cheddar Gorge requires a little planning and organisation. You’ll need to think about how you’ll get there, where you’ll stay, what attractions you want to visit and what you’ll pack for your countryside break?
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Cheddar Gorge clifftop walk
The most iconic and popular walking route in Cheddar Gorge is the clifftop walk. This circular three-mile route can be accessed via Jacobs ladder and is included in the price of the Cheddar Gorge and Caves Explorer ticket. Cheddar Gorge is actually private land. Although a public bridleway does cross it.
It’s a taxing walk up Jacob’s ladder as you ascend 900ft above sea-level, with 274 steps to reach the top.
Once you have reached the top you are rewarded with the most incredible views of the gorge, the winding roads and the Mendip hills!
The walk is quite exerting as most of the first half is uphill, you will also have to negotiate some rough terrain on this particular hike.
Before you hike Chaddar Gorge
Before you set off to on your cheddar gorge cliff top walk, here are a few key points to remember:
- Make sure to purchase your Cheddar Gorge and Caves Explorer ticket to gain access to Jacob’s ladder and the clifftop walk
- Wear sturdy walking boots, it’s steep in parts so you will need suitable footwear
- Bring a water bottle
- Keep dogs on a lead
- Be aware that parts of the walk are inaccessible to wheelchair users or people who have limited mobility
- Bring hiking equipment and lightweight clothing layers
Walking routes around Cheddar Gorge
If you don’t want to get a Cheddar Gorge and Caves Explorer ticket, you can always walk around the bottom of the gorge or visit the National Trust website to see what free walks are available in the area.
You can also take a short drive and park at the top of the gorge for a gentler walk to Long Wood, Black Rock, Velvet Bottom and go up to Charterhouse.
Cheddar Gorge Parking
You can follow the road along the bottom of the gorge passing shrubbery, wildflowers rock formations and free-roaming goats and sheep.
If you are coming for a day hike you can park at the bottom of the gorge using the pay and display spaces.
Some of the local Cheddar Gorge pubs also offer parking and the cost can be redeemed against a drink, for after your hike.
Some local properties also rent out affordable private parking spaces on the Just Park website for advance parking bookings.
Cheddar Gorge Cheese
You can’t visit Cheddar Gorge and not try some locally made cheese, they have been making the stuff for centuries after all.
There are many shops selling a huge variety of cheese, as well as locally made pickles and cider.
Visit the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company, a family-owned, independent small artisan cheesemaker, to learn more about their cave-aged cheddar.
The caves in Cheddar have the ideal humidity and steady temperature for maturing the cheese and is sold as a premium product.
Take a self-guided tour through the cheese company to see the cheese manufacturing process, sample their cheeses and then purchase some delectable cheese in the shop afterwards.
Cheddar Village Shops
If you are looking to pick up gifts during your visit to Cheddar, there are over 30 independent shops selling a huge range of gift items. You can also shop for local produce including local beers, preserves, cider and cheese.
For the best cheese in Cheddar Gorge, make a beeline for ‘Cobbs of Cheddar’ on union street whilst you’re in town.
This fabulous local delicatessen has cheese, meats, bread and fish and stocks a range of local products.
Lion Rock Tearooms
Treat yourself to an afternoon tea at the award-winning and picturesque Lion Rock Tearooms. The combination of retro decor, fabulous service and pretty garden views make this a top tearoom in the area.
Afternoon tea Cheddar Gorge
Sit in their ‘secret garden’ and spoil yourself with a ‘celebration afternoon tea’. Enjoy dainty sandwiches, homemade scones and a selection of sweet delights.
All served with a pot of tea and a glass of prosecco each, for 21.95 per person. One must have a glass of fizz when sitting in a secret garden after all.
Not a fan of afternoon tea? Why not visit Lionrock for Breakfast, lunch or a Sunday roast. You can enjoy the differently themed rooms, quirky decor and hospitable staff at any time of the day.
Mendip Hills walking trails
There are a huge amount of walking trails in the Mendip Hills with forests, valleys, lakes, rivers and charming countryside to stroll through.
Head to Rowberrow Warren [just north of Shipham] and take a gentle walk through leafy forests and small, babbling streams.
It’s a relatively easy and straightforward walk through the forest, with well-maintained paths.
There’s even a rustic swing hanging from one of the trees which makes for an ideal Instagram shot!
Dog walks Somerset
Looking for a longer walk? Try the Burrington Coombe-Rowberrow circular walk. This scenic and gentle walk starts at Burrington Combe.
It will take you through Dolebury Warren, Rowberrow Warren, the Mendips and then back to Burrington. It’s a great place for dog walking in Somerset.
If you have brought your pooch along for a stroll you can call into the dog-friendly, historic Swan pub.
This cute, countryside watering hole is easily found on this walk and is located on Rowberrow lane. Have a pint, local cider or a filling pub lunch here.
Climbing Cheddar Gorge
Once you have set eyes on the magnificent cliff faces of Cheddar gorge you are surely going to want to climb them.
You can book a Cheddar Gorge Rock climbing experience online or at the Cheddar Gorge Ticket office.
Instructors will guide you up the 50ft high outdoor climbing walls with expert climbing instruction.
Cheddar Gorge Rock climbing experience
You’ll also have all the necessary climbing kit and be scaling the wall like a pro in no time. You can then totally post your #Climbingselfie for Instagram bragging rights.
The Introductory climbing sessions last around 90 minutes and cost £24.95 per adult and £18.70 per child.
Cheddar Gorge climbing experiences are very popular, so I would try and book a few weeks in advance to get tour preferred date.
Spend a morning underground and explore Gough’s Cave in Cheddar Gorge, the largest and most impressive show cave in Cheddar.
This ancient chamber is 115 m deep, is over 2 miles long and has large chambers with picturesque stalagmites and stalactites throughout.
The cave was excavated in the late nineteenth century by Richard Cox Gough, who lived in Cheddar. It is also where the 10,000-year-old ‘Cheddar man‘ skeleton was discovered.
Tickets Gough’s cave
These days the caves are beautifully lit up with atmospheric lighting, you can take a self-guided tour around the cave with an audio guide to learn more about the formation, history and excavation of the cave.
Tickets to Gough’s cave cost £16.95 per adult when booked online and also includes access to Cheddar Gorge’s other attractions.
Attractions include the Dreamhunters at Cox’s Cave, Museum of Prehistory, Jacob’s Ladder, Beyond the View and the Cliff-top Walk.
Where to eat in Cheddar Gorge
There is a good selection of cafes, pubs and ice cream shops in and around the gorge, serving quality food in picturesque surroundings.
If you are after a quintessentially British dish, then make sure you grab a huge portion of fish and chips at Tuckers Fish & Chip Restaurant and Takeaway.
This award-winning restaurant and takeaway offer visitors the chance to experience some proper British traditional dining with a view.
Restaurants in Cheddar
There are plenty of places to grab a tea or coffee and cake around the gorge. You can watch the world go by with tea and scones at The Wishing Well Tea Rooms.
Or sit in the beautiful outside area of the Rock face cafe? I would also recommend having a brew at Cafe Gorge or sip filter coffee at the Waterfall Cafe.
Why not spoil yourself with a cream tea at the delightfully quaint Mousehole Cafe and Restaurant as well?
Best places to eat in Cheddar
Here’s a list of some of the best places to eat in Cheddar to get you started
- Sunday Carvery in the White Hart.
- Try a steak in the Bath Arms.
- Mixed grill in the Riverside Inn?
- Cream tea at LionRock Tearooms
- Sandwiches at Mousehole Cafe and Restaurant
- Pizza at Rockface
- Local ciders on tap and live music at the Cider Barn
Where to stay in Cheddar Gorge
There is a range of Cheddar hotels and accommodation options to choose from.
Depending on your budget you can choose from budget hotels, cottages, Airbnb’s or luxury self-catering accommodation.
If you are looking for budget accommodation in Cheddar Gorge, I highly recommend the YHA Cheddar. They offer high quality, affordable accommodation for visitors.
Some of the best places to stay inand around Cheddar include:
If you are looking to pamper yourself with a luxury stay in Cheddar Gorge then Strawberryfield Park has the luxury lodge for you!
Set in 14 acres of charming Somerset countryside this west country park has several different eco-lodges to choose from.
The park is ideally located for exploring Cheddar Gorge and the surrounding areas of Glastonbury, Wells and Bath.
We stayed in the ever so luxurious Deer Leap Lodge at Strawberryfield Park.
Luxury accommodation Cheddar Gorge
This is a stylish one-bedroom lodge with open plan living and dining areas, large decking area, sunken hot tub, sun loungers and contemporary design.
It’s the ideal romantic getaway for a couple looking for a countryside escape.
What we loved the most about the Deer Lodge was the extensive decking area and hot tub.
You can spend hours unwinding in the bubbles or relaxing with a book on the sun loungers, without a care in the world.
I believe we lost several hours of our life after a bottle of prosecco or two whilst soaking in the tub one evening.
It’s a delightfully tranquil stay in a little slice of luxury and is conveniently located near Cheddar and all the surrounding attractions.
Cheddar Gorge day trip
You can easily do a Cheddar Gorge day trip. If you are staying in the nearby towns of Bristol and Bath, it’s only a short journey.
If you are travelling by train you should aim to get the train to Weston-super-Mare and then Take FIRST Bus 126 (Sundays 826) to Cheddar.
You can also book a Glastonbury and Cheddar Gorge Day Trip from London online.
Depart London in the morning on a full-day excursion to visit some of the highlights of England’s West Country.
Are you planning a trip to Cheddar Gorge? Where are you planning on visiting? Let me know in the comments below.
Recommended travel resources
Flights: To search for flight deals check out sites such as Skyscanner, Kayak and Travel Supermarket to compare the costs of flights. My top tip to save money is to fly mid-week and take just hand luggage if possible.
Accommodation: I love a nice boutique hotel on my travel and I regularly use Booking.com as they have fantastic flexibility and cancellation. I also recommend Trip Advisor and hotels combined for hotel browsing. Additionally, I use Airbnb and TrustedHousesitters for homestays.
Travel Insurance: I highly recommend you always get travel insurance for your trips. Check out my Travel Insurance Page to see out why. I recommend World Nomads or Post Office travel Insurance.
Group Tours: I love booking group tours as a cost-effective and convenient way of discovering destinations. I recommend booking a small group tour with G Adventures.
Travel Guides: My favourite travel guide books are Bradt Guides, Lonely Planet and Rough Guides.
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