Planning a trip to Cheddar Gorge and need all the essential information? Whether you are visiting for a day trip or staying a little longer. This blog post will break down everything you need to know for a stress-free time.
The village of Cheddar and Cheddar Gorge is a must-visit place in Somerset! We made a stop here for lunch back in 2019 on a drive home from Cornwall. Ever since was determined to return.
Set within the Mendip hills Cheddar Gorge is simply is a winding road that is towered by beautiful limestone cliffs. It is a popular place for rock climbers, walkers and families alike.
How to get there
Cheddar is a great base for exploring or even as a stop-off for anyone visiting Bath, Bristol and Western-super-mare. Its close proximity to the M5 makes it easily accessible.
Parking in Cheddar Gorge
You have a couple of parking options, however, it all depends on what you plan to do for the day. When we visited Cheddar Gorge it was over a long weekend. We knew as it was a tourist hotspot that it would be very busy. So bare in mind which day of the week you are visiting.
Parking for Cheddar Gorge walks
One thing you will notice is the car parking spaces along the gorge road. And they mostly always seemed to have spaces. They are a short walk into the village but perfect if you are looking to go walking.
Cliff St Car Park Cheddar
Cliff St Car Park is the parking that we used the most for accessing cheddar village. Situated right on the edge of the village, it offers more spaces than the smaller car parks. It is just a 2-minute walk to the shops.
You can park for 1, 2 and 4 hours, or all day. Paying either by cash at the machine, or downloading the Pay By Phone app and using a card.
Cheddar Gorge & Caves Car Park
This car park is the official Cheddar Gorge car park and for the caves with tourist information centres around it. It is marginally further into the village, however, there are fewer spaces to compete for.
Things to do in Cheddar Gorge
Cheddar Gorge Walks
There are lots of walks to do around the gorge varying from easy strolls to longer more advanced hikes. we managed 2 walks over our weekend.
Firstly, we did a nature reserve walk, we put Abley Warren Drive into our google maps where there is a couple of parking spaces. This was a simple walk along a gravel path, surrounded by beautiful hilly fields. It is also home to a flock of very curious sheep, which offered lots of entertainment for our toddler.
The second was the famous Cheddar Gorge walk (well part of it). This was a little more advanced but even Roman managed it so it is still a very easy one. We started by parking at Black Rock. It was around 9 am when we arrived and were lucky to get a free parking space. Opposite the main signed entrance, you will see a very steep looking path of rocks, this is the start of the footpath. We walked up to the top of the gorge to see the incredible views. You can then walk a loopback down using jacobs ladder. However, we just walked back down the way.
There are 2 main caves that are open to the public, one of the most popular caves to visit is Goughs Cave. It has significant historical and geological history, best known as the home to the ‘Cheddar Man’, found in 1903 he is Britain’s oldest, complete skeleton. It is also the site of the largest underground river system in Britain.
The second is Cox’s cave which is smaller than Goughs. Cox’s cave is more for older children and adults. Firstly, they do not have access to take a pram inside. Secondly, along the route, you will also find some scary statues of goblins which younger visitors may find a little too much. If you are travelling with brave children, I wouldn’t let this put you off. There is a great crystal quest adventure at the end is the highlight of this cave.
Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company
Any trip to Cheddar wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Cheddar Cheese shop. Offering a mouth-watering variety of flavoured cheddars you’ll find it hard to leave without a purchase. They leave the cheese to mature in the natural cheddar caves, this helps to give them the unique flavour they are famous for. You can also learn how they make their cheddar by booking onto one of the tours.
Jacobs Ladder Cheddar
I mentioned Jacobs Ladder earlier in the cheddar gorge walks. You can come down Jacobs ladder free of charge, If you are looking to see those views, but don’t fancy planning a major hike, then a great option is to pay to walk up. It does however take you a few steps to get to the top – 274 steps to be precise!
Things to do around Cheddar Gorge
A village just outside of Cheddar, Wookey Hole is a must-do, especially for the younger children. Its most popular attraction is the limestone caves but you will also find mini-golf, a fairy garden, an animated dinosaur valley and museums. Tickets cost £16.50 for an adult and £13.50 for children over 3 (under are free) so not the cheapest but a great day out if you have little ones in tow.
Around a 20-minute drive from Cheddar Gorge, you will find Glastonbury. Mainly famous for its music festival, but also a beautiful town. There are lots of things to do in Glastonbury, but we went there to do the circular walk from the abbey to the Tor. It is an easy walk on grass and steps, the only main battle is the wind! The views at the top were amazing and the tower itself is a national trust site and has lots of mystery and legends surrounding it.
Brean beach is another fantastic day out, just a 25-minute drive from Cheddar. Parking is easy and fun, either along the front or literally on the beach, we opted for beach parking as we had never driven on the beach before. All-day parking costs £5 in any of the car parks, there is also a national trust car park which is free to members right at the end of the road.
The beach itself is a really long stretch of sand, we arrived when the tide was right out and to get to the sea would have taken forever! We walked along the rocks and watched people rock climbing, if you are still feeling active you could also walk the brean down which takes you along the top of the cliffs. A small shop with toilets offers foods and drinks and a resident ice cream van was a great treat after our walk.
Where to eat
La Rocca Restaurant
Situated right in the centre of Cheddar. A wonderful Italian restaurant, with beautiful views down the picturesque village. They are open for brunch, lunch and dinner and serve up a great cup of Italian coffee.
Lion Rock Tea Rooms
If you are looking for something lighter or sweeter then this is a great stop. Again right in the heart of Cheddar. They offer afternoon tea and some delicious cakes with indoor seating. Inside offers cute and quirky decor whilst its outdoor seating in the secret garden is great for a sunny day.
If you have a sweet tooth like us, then you will love this little find. They sell amazing cupcakes in so many flavours that you couldn’t even imagine up half of them. They also have a great selection of gluten-free options including black forest gateau as well as coffee and caramel.
Where to stay in Cheddar
We stayed in Cheddar Woods Resort and Spa, I booked this through the hoseasons website. The accommodation and facilities were great, we stayed in a 3 bedroom lodge that was dog friendly. Each lodge has a wrap-around veranda with seating and views of the beautiful mendip hills. Inside offers modern interiors and everything you would need for the weekend – dishwasher tablets, cleaning tools, toiletries and tea/coffee/hot chocolates. The resort itself offered a swimming pool, spa, gym, farm shop and restaurant all on-site.