A detour off the M5 in Somerset takes you to Cheddar and the Cheddar Gorge. This area is in the middle of the Mendip Hills area of Outstanding Beauty and well worth the visit.
Cheddar Gorge has a range of activities for the whole family in an all-inclusive Explorer ticket.
I found parking available off-road at pay and display areas for £5 a day until 5.00pm at the time I visited, May 2019.
These are the attractions that are available on your ticket. Unfortunately, I had heavy rain showers while I was there and I was also driving from Penzance to Cardiff. I didn't have much time or the weather on my side to do the Cliff-top walk.
Large caverns, formations from the limestone rock and the stalagmites and stalactites are what greats you inside this huge cave.
The Stalagtites and Stalagmites in a pool of water. An easy way to remember which is which, is Stalagtites hold tight and Stalagmites might grow up to reach the top.
The tour takes about 45 minutes to walk around, with an audio guide available to give you insights at points around it.
Cheddar Cheese, since 2006, is still being matured down in the cave. It is kept down here as the temperature is at a steady 11°, and the humidity is perfect for maturing it as it has been for centuries before.
A good sealed path leads you around but there are also stairs to help you navigate up and down the steep gradients.
The stairs coming back from the end of the tour. Notice the steepness from the back of the cave back into the main part.
The lighting accentuates the natural features, accentuating the limestone formations that give us St.Paul's and Niagara Falls.
See how over hundreds of thousands of years water has transformed the limestone into beautiful formations
At the end of the cave viewing are information boards explaining all about finding and learning about Cheddar Man.
A 15-minute film that takes you on a journey through the gorge.
This is accessible through the Escape Rooms hub which is a separate attraction next to Gough's Cave.
This little museum packs a lot of information in a small space. Explore the area at the time of Cheddar Man and learn the migration of early humans out of Africa.
With findings from excavations, they create a picture of what life was like for early humans. Moving from room to room your learn how humans have evolved through the centuries and millenniums.
This interactive walkthrough lasts about 30-minutes and projects the story of the hunting man on the walls of the cave.
You walk through the cave and watch the story illuminated on the walls and at the end, you see running man sending you in the direction of the next viewing.
As it is dark in parts, I used my torch app on the phone to navigate my way around. Although you can't get lost, you can run into dead ends. There is also flashing lights during the visual displays and strobe lighting effects.
At the end of this attraction you go through the door that leads straight into the next.
Take the 274 steps up to the next two attractions, the Lookout Tower and the Cliff-top Walk.
There are rest areas at a few points up the stairs, with information boards on the flora and fauna in the area.
Once at the top you can go right for the lookout and left for the cliff-top walk.
The lookout is another 48 steps up to a 360° platform with views for as far as you can see below.
This lookout is like a fire tower, narrow with steep steps.
As I said earlier I didn't have the time or the weather on my side to do the 3-mile, 2-hour, loop of the cliff-top walk.
Good sturdy walking shoes are essential. The walk can be muddy and steep in parts, perfect for the primitive British goats that love this terrain.
It's not called an Area of Outstanding Beauty for nothing and I'm sure when the weather is at its best this would be a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.
There are more attractions to be done in the area including the Escape Rooms, Rock Climbing, Adventure Caving and the Black Cat Free Fall.
Please check out the link above to book these as they are popular especially the Free Fall, and have to be booked well in advance of your visit.
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