SOM­ER­SET, AVON & WILT­SHIRE

Practical Caravan - - Travel Great Escape -

Som­er­set is a place of su­perla­tives: Ex­moor has Britain’s tallest tree, the high­est sea cliffs and the most red deer. Take a wildlife sa­fari to ob­serve it all. It’s also a Dark Sky Re­serve and has the sec­ond high­est ti­dal range in the world. Bird­watch­ers should head to Steart Marshes, one of the UK’S largest new wet­land re­serves. On the edge of the Mendip Hills, Ched­dar has the largest gorge in Eng­land with the big­gest un­der­ground river and the high­est in­land cliff. The vil­lage was the site of a Saxon palace for the kings of Wes­sex. At Wookey Hole, the UK’S largest cave sys­tem, kids will love the Val­ley of the Di­nosaur and the 4D cinema with mov­ing chairs, wind ef­fects and 3D screen. A newly dis­cov­ered cave is now open and a cav­ing ex­pe­ri­ence means you can have a go at travers­ing, climb­ing and ab­seil­ing. For an aerial spec­ta­cle, head to the Som­er­set Lev­els and the Avalon Marshes, one of Britain’s finest low­land wet­lands, for star­ling mur­mu­ra­tions. In Wilt­shire, Lon­gleat sa­fari park is host­ing a Killer An­i­ma­tron­ics ex­hi­bi­tion, where you can see preda­tors come to life. Ex­hibits in­clude a life-size great white shark and a su­per-sized Venus flytrap. Other events in­clude the Food and Drink Fes­ti­val (23-24 June) and Sky Sa­fari (14-16 Septem­ber). The newly opened REME Mu­seum in Lyne­ham, Chip­pen­ham, is ded­i­cated to the story of the Royal Elec­tri­cal and Me­chan­i­cal En­gi­neers, formed in 1942, and holds an ex­ten­sive col­lec­tion of ve­hi­cles and weapons dat­ing from WWII.

Ship­shape and Bris­tol fash­ion

There are plenty of rea­sons to visit Bris­tol, which be­came a UNESCO City of Film in 2017 for its con­tri­bu­tion to the film in­dus­try. It’s home to Aard­man An­i­ma­tions, which has es­tab­lished a new city sculp­ture trail for 2018 in aid of Bris­tol Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal and the Spe­cial Care Baby Unit at St Michael’s Hos­pi­tal. A newly opened mu­seum, Be­ing Brunel, devoted to the life and works of Vic­to­rian en­gi­neer Isam­bard King­dom Brunel, is lo­cated along­side his SS Great Britain, the first iron-clad, pro­peller­driven ship to cross the At­lantic. In Au­gust, the spec­tac­u­lar Bris­tol In­ter­na­tional Bal­loon Fi­esta takes to the sky, cel­e­brat­ing its 40th year. The Ge­or­gian city of Bath will host its multi-arts fes­ti­val in May, and the Bath Car­ni­val in July. Take an open-top bus tour to see the city’s lay­out be­fore pick­ing out what you want to see.

■ Turn to p79 of the Top 100 guide for site info

CLOCK­WISE FROM LEFT The beau­ti­ful city of Bath is a must-visit at any time of the year. The new REME mu­seum in Lyne­ham. Hot-air bal­loons will be fly­ing in Bris­tol this Au­gust

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