Shepton Mallet is a great location for a holiday, or just a couple of nights away: surrounded by beautiful towns and other places which are well worth a visit. All of these attractions are within an hour by car (depending on traffic!).
Within 15 minutes
Shepton Mallet is a town and civil parish in the Mendip District of Somerset; with the Mendip Hills to the north and the River Sheppy running through the town. The Fosse Way, the main Roman road into south-west England, also runs through Shepton Mallet and there is evidence that it was once a Roman settlement. Shepton Mallet is also the closest town to the Glastonbury Festival.
Very short walk
Shepton Mallet Prison
Also known as Cornhill, HM Prison Shepton Mallet is a former prison which operated from before 1625 until 2013 at which time it was the UK's oldest operating prison. It is a grade II* listed property.
It is now a tourist destination which offers guided tours, ghost tours and other activities.
Very short walk
Kilver Court & Gardens
A historic house and gardens in Shepton Mallet, and once used as a factory with textile mills powered by the River Sheppey, Kilver Court is now home to a shopping village. From the gardens you can see the impressive Charlton Viaduct.
East Somerset Railway
A railway, over 160 years old, which runs between Cranmore and the Mendip Vale; once part of the former Cheddar Valley line until it's closure in 1964. It is now preserved and run as a heritage railway and services include a number of dining experiences.
Image by Rodw, public domain
Wells is a tiny cathedral city and civil parish on the southern edge of the Mendip Hills; named from three wells dedicated to Saint Andrew, one in the market place and two within the grounds of the Bishop's Palace and cathedral. Once a small Roman settlement and then a trading centre based on cloth making. Wells is notable for its involvment with the English Civil War and Monmouth Rebellion.
The Mendips are a beautiful range of limestone to the west of Shepton Mallet. Running east to west between Weston-super-Mare and Frome, the hills overlook the Somerset Levels to the south and the Chew Valley and other tributaries of the Avon to the north.
Beginning around 15 mins
Within 30 minutes
With it's famous Tor (pictured), impressive Abbey ruins and the town's reputation for myths and legends (and spiritual aura), Glastonbury is well worth a trip. Plus of course, once a year or so it becomes the focal point for the famous music festival nearby.
Lytes Carey Manor
Lytes Cary is a Grade I listed National Trust manor house with associated chapel and gardens near Charlton Mackrell and Somerton. The property has parts dating to the 14th century to 20th centuries, "yet all parts blend to perfection with one another and with the gentle sunny landscape that surrounds them" according to historian Nikolaus Pevsner.
Tintinhull House & Garden
Tintinhull Garden is a small 20th century Arts and Crafts garden surrounding a 17th-century Grade I listed house. The property is in the ownership of the National Trust. It is visited by around 25,000 people per year. It started as a small farmhouse in 1630 but was enlarged into its current form in the 18th century.
Situated near the village of Cheddar in the Mendip Hills, the gorge is the site of the Cheddar show caves, where Britain's oldest complete human skeleton, Cheddar Man, estimated to be over 9,000 years old, was found (as well as older remains from the Upper Late Palaeolithic era. The caves, produced by the activity of an underground river, contain stalactites and stalagmites. The gorge is part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest called Cheddar Complex.
Within 45 minutes
Longleat is an English stately home – a leading and early example of the Elizabethan prodigy house. Along with a house is a hedge maze, parkland (landscaped by Capability Brown) and a safari park. It was the first stately home to open to the public, and the Longleat estate includes the first safari park outside Africa.
Montacute House is one of the few Elizabethan mansions to have survived almost unchanged from the Elizabethan era. Built by Sir Edward Phelps at the end of the 16th century it was occupied by his descendants until the 20th century where at one point it was let out to Lord Curzon and his mistress, the novelist Elinor Glyn. It has been in National Trust hands since 1927 and is Grade I listed. It includes the Long Gallery, the longest in England, which serves as a south-west outpoist of the National Portrait Gallery. Montacute has often been used as a filming location for films and TV.
Stourhead House & Gardens
Stourhead is a large estate at the source of the River Stour and includes a Palladian mansion, impressive gardens, the village of Stourton and woodlands. It is part owned by the National Trust. The House was built (on the site of the original manor house) in the early 18th century; and was rebuilt after being gutted by fire in 1902. It's gardens include an artificially created lake and monuments which are placed to frame one another: following a path round the lake is meant to evoke a journey into the underworld. The National Trust's corporate font is based on an inscription that was once in the grotto at Stourhead.
Prior Park Landscape Garden
Surrounding the Prior Park estate south of Bath, this garden was designed in the 18th century by the poet Alexander Pope and the landscape gardener Capability Brown, and is Grade I listed and is now owned by the National Trust. The garden was influential in defining the style known as the "English landscape garden" in continental Europe.
Bath is the largest city in Somerset and is most known for its Roman baths which were built on the site of hot springs at around 60 AD (when the city was known as Aquae Sulis). Along with the baths is an impressive Abbey, founded in the 7th century (and rebuilt in the 12th and 16th); as well as a number of examples of Georgian architecture such as the Royal Crescent, Circus and Pump Room.
Barrington Court is a Tudor manor house built in the mid 16th century (with a vernacular stable court built a in 1675). It was the first house to be acquired by the National Trust, in 1907. It was orignally surrounded by a medieval deer park and in the 17th century a formal garden was constructed. Though this had largely disappeared, a new garden was laid out by Gertrude Jekyll in an Arts and Crafts-style and now contains walled kitchen gardens, fruit orchards and ornamental gardens. Barrington Court was the filming location for the BBC's Tudor-era Wolf Hall.
The American Museum and Gardens is based at Claverton Manor near Bath. The manor house, believed to be the third built at Claverton was constructed in 1820 and is a Grade I listed building. The grounds of the museum (which include trends in both English landscape and American landscape design) have fine views of the valley of the River Avon. The museum is the only one devoted to American decorative arts outside the United States.
Within 1 hour
Dyrham Park is a baroque country house and ancient deer park in South Gloucestershire. The house, attached orangery, stable block and accompanying parish church are all Grade I listed buildings, with the park Grade II listed. The house and estate are owned by the National Trust and have recently undergone renovation; the are open to the public some days as well as hosting events and attractions, open-air concerts, and are used as a filming location.
Old Wardour Castle
Wardour Castle (which is located in Wiltshire) was built in the 1390s and partially destroyed in 1643 and 1644 during the English Civil War. It now forms impressive multi-level ruins, a Grade I listed building managed by English Heritage. A later house, the nearby New Wardour House (now converted into luxury appartments) was built in the 18th century and included Old Wardour as part of it's landscape.