12th February 2018

Exploring Somerset History

The corner of Britain that Lakeside Holiday Park calls home is one steeped in history. From the sites of Bronze Age settlements to more recent memories of 20thcentury rail travel, there’s so much history to experience in the area.

Like many other coastal regions, northern Somerset was a popular destination for Victorian holidaymakers and leisure seekers. The influence of this influx of wealth had a huge impact on the area that is still visible today.

One of the most striking relics of this bygone age is Birnbeck Pier, located to the north of the more modern pier in Weston-super-Mare. Birnbeck Pier was first opened to the public in 1867 and entertained guests until its fears over storm damage to the structure led to its closure in 1994. Since then the pier has fallen derelict and is named as one of top 10 most endangered buildings by the Victorian Society. While there is no visitor access to the pier it stands as a striking monument to the area’s past and is certainly a sight to behold.

The Victorian Gasworks Company Workshop on the other hand, has had a slightly better fate – now being the site of the Weston Museum. This recently refurbished museum gives patrons an insight into the history of Weston as far back as the Stone Age. With entertaining exhibits and displays, the Weston Museum is well worth a visit for those interested in local history. The museum is currently expanding, meaning there’s even more to come from this local favourite in the coming years.

For those with a military interest, why not explore Brean Down? The fort currently inhabiting the peninsula was built in 1860 to act as shoreline defence for the local area – but there is evidence of a settlement on the site going back as far as the Bronze Age. Decommissioned in 1901, the fort was expanded and put to use once again during WW2 as a gun emplacement and experimental weapons testing site. This national trust site features a car park, gift shop and café, giving you an opportunity to relax after exploring this piece of Somerset history.

If you’re looking for something a little older, why not visit King John’s Hunting Lodge in Axbridge? This Medieval merchant building houses three floors of local and natural history and geology and is a great visit for those wanting to explore Somerset’s varied past.

If you’re more interested in more recent history – or if you’re just a steam train fanatic – then the Railway Heritage Centre in Sandford is a must visit. This small, quirky museum is built into the old Sandford station building and features many curiosities and artefacts from the line’s history – including a restored 1940s Sentinel steam engine, the sister locomotive to the one originally used on the line.

Located in picturesque Burnham-on-Sea, Lakeside Holiday Park is a great place to stay while you dive deep into the history of northern Somerset. All of the sites listed above are under 30 minutes drive from your doorstep at Lakeside. For more information or to book a stay, visit our website – we hope to see you soon!