I went to Cheddar Gorge at the weekend on the way back from deepest, cideriest Somerset. Saw the brown signage away from the M5 and thought, hey why not! I didn’t have any major expectations, having not been there before, but I was hopeful of finding a huge fissure, carved into cheesy yellow crags with rivulets of Worcestershire sauce running down the walls.

Cheddargorge

So it turns out the gorge is made of rocks and mud and plants and goats and suchlike. Even more distressingly it’s filled with a road and the endless car parks at that road’s edge. Still, seeing as I needed somewhere to park, I can hardly complain. Having done so myself and the missus wandered on foot up the gorge, to find the touristy spectacles that did await. But after seeing nothing but more car parking we turned round and headed down instead. We found the old and more than slightly cheesy village of Cheddar, with its grotty mix of olde worlde cheese shoppes and nasty 60s concrete cave / museum entrances. We paid £15 for an Explorer ticket that enables us to do everything there is to do in Cheddar and its gorge at any time over the next ten years! We only managed Gough’s Cave and the tour bus since we were pushed for time, but they represented acceptable value for money.

Gough’s cave is the bigger of the two cavey attractions, and it slags off Cox’s Cave as being relatively unimpressive so we didn’t bother with that one. It took us an hour or so to go through the quite extensive network of passages and chambers, with large orange audio-guide handsets clamped to our ears for the well pitched talky tour. Staff were helpful too and even turned all the lights off in one of the chambers for our amusement and edification. You’ll have to go in there yourself to find what wonders await, but here’s just a single picture to whet your appetite.

Goughcave

The tour bus took some finding as the map on the leaflet is near useless and simply says “by the lake”. Turns out that means the bottom-most of at least three lakes strung through the village. Once aboard and up to the top deck it’s a quick 15 minute ride back up the gorge (past our parked car) with a decent guide on board explaining everything and pointing out all the stuff I’d missed in my earlier foray.

It’s not exactly the Grand Canyon but overall it’s a nice day out. We went on a Monday so it wasn’t very busy. It’s probably hellish when it’s swarming.

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