How to Spend the Day at Cheddar Gorge

Since moving to London, I have been desperate to find good hiking. So, when I was told about Cheddar Gorge, I knew I had to make the trip to see what all the ‘hike’ was about (bad pun intended). Cheddar Gorge is almost 400 feet deep and three miles long, making it England’s largest gorge. Not to mention it has the most amazing views along the walk! It is believed that the gorge began forming during the last Ice Age, one million years ago! It formed from the melting glaciers which formed a river and over time this carved out the amazing steep cliffs that we get to hike today. Eventually, this river found its way underground, and today you can go explore Cheddar Gorge’s famous underground caves.

Cheddar Gorge views from the top

Looking for other places to visit in England? Read my blog on Bucket List Destinations in England or why not read my post on the Best Non-Touristy Things to do in London.

How to Get There

For sat-nav purposes, you want the address: The Cliffs, Cheddar, Somerset, BS27 3QE . This will take you to the bottom of the cliffs where you will see ample parking. At different points, you can park on either side of the road to start your Cheddar Gorge walk. When we visited in June 2021, the parking was free. It’s important to note that you can also park in Cheddar itself. There are car parks in the village. We opted to park in a car park at the bottom of the village, that way we were able to walk through Cheddar and then up the Gorge, taking in all the sights of the wonderful village.

Wildlife on the Gorge

Goats at the top of the gorge

You will be surprised to know that you may just meet some goats along your walk. We bumped into three that had climbed up the side of the gorge and came out of nowhere! Luckily though, they are quite used to people and quite friendly, as long as you leave them alone.

You may also come across Soay sheep on the hills. They’re very rare and native to Britain. We didn’t see any, but I’d love to know if you get the lucky chance of spotting one when you visit!

You might also spot other flora and fauna along the way. We were pleasantly surprised to spot a small bluebell field coming to the end of its bloom as we passed through.

Cheddar Gorge Walks and Hikes

There are many different points to start your Cheddar Gorge walk, we chose to start our walk at Jacobs Ladder and Tower. It is a steep climb up, but there are stairs the whole way up. We went this way because we wanted to do the loop and end back on the other side of the village, plus we preferred going up the stairs rather than down them.

The hike in total is 5.8 km long and is classified as a difficult hike. I wouldn’t really say it is difficult, but I would say that there are really steep hiking points which can get tiring, especially if you go on a really hot day as we did! There are many different viewpoints to stop at to take in the full views of Cheddar and the lake. Of course, you will also see the cliffs and the 400-foot drop! You can get more information about Cheddar Gorge on the All Trails website.

If you carry on walking you will eventually wander through the bluebells (if you are visiting in May/June) then you will start to walk back down towards the road. Once you get to the road, you can either turn left to walk along the road towards Cheddar, or cross the road and carry on on the cheddar gorge walk.

You’re Half-Way There

Through the gates, you will smell the wild garlic and start your walk back up the hill. You will come to another point which is quite a steep climb. There are stairs here, too! Once you finish this ascend you can stop for a snack. Now, it is important to note that you need to bring your own picnic! We were told you can stop here to eat and naively we thought that meant there would be something for us to buy. HA! What idiots… So pack your own lunch! You’ll be hungry at this point.

After you’ve admired the views from this side of the gorge, you will begin your walk back down to the village. This site is rockier and there aren’t clear stairs. Be careful as some of the stones are wobbly. Eventually, you will spot beautiful cottages in the distance. You are nearly back to Cheddar when you spot them! Now, it’s time for lunch.

Helpful Tip: Depending on how fast you walk, the hike will take you around 2.5 to 3 hours.

cottage at the end of the cheddar gorge walk

Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company

The most authentic place to buy you guessed it, cheese! They have a gift shop where you can buy all things cheddar and you can also pre-book to visit their visitors centre. The cheese is amazing. Quite honestly some of the best cheese I’ve ever had. The cheddar crumbles as you cut it and has an explosion of flavour when you eat it. I’m not lying when I say that I can still taste the cheddar cheese right now, as I describe it. If you’re a cheese lover, you need to visit the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company.

Cheddar Gorge Caves

It’s no secret that this area is famous for its outstanding natural beauty. Not only can you admire the views from above, but you can also book to go on a cave tour. You will learn all about their prehistoric ancestors. The cave really started to get noticed when it was excavated in 1890. The cave itself, called Gough’s Cave has some serious geological significance. We read that Britains oldest complete skeleton was found here in 1903. Inside the cave! They called him ‘the cheddar Man’. Aside from the cheddar man, the cave is the largest underground river system in Britain! Unfortunately when we visited the caves were closed, so definitely book ahead if you are wanting to explore the cheddar gorge caves.

Ending Your Day

So, you’ve hiked the gorge and admired the views. You’ve had a picnic on the gorge, or maybe you stopped at one of the cosy restaurants after your walk to eat some of the local food. We stopped and had a delicious cheese sandwich! You’ll want to now peruse the local shops that align both sides of the street. Take note of the character of the buildings. Buy some freshly made local fudge. Oh, and don’t forget to buy some local cheese! You will NOT be disappointed. I promise you that.

You will have the perfect day out in Cheddar jam-packed with local experiences. Remember, if you want to experience the Cheddar Gorge caves it is best to check availability in advance.

Did you enjoy reading this guide? Please leave a comment.

Happy hiking!

Trea | @maphermiles

10 Comments

  1. 19 June 2021 / 5:56 PM

    What a beautiful place, and what better way to end the outing than with some cheese!

    • 20 June 2021 / 8:29 AM

      Thank you, Megan. I couldn’t agree more… Who doesn’t love cheese! 🙂

  2. 19 June 2021 / 7:07 PM

    This looks like a fantastic area to go on a hike! I’ve heard of it before but haven’t manage to make it to Cheddar Gorge yet – hopefully I can soon!

    • 20 June 2021 / 8:30 AM

      It was so beautiful! Especially in Spring when all the flowers are blooming and the skies are clear. The views were incredible. I hope you get to visit soon!

  3. 19 June 2021 / 7:09 PM

    Wow, what a beautiful location. I’d absolutely love to hike Cheddar Gorge and explore the caves. I didn’t know England had a deep gorge like this.

    • 20 June 2021 / 8:31 AM

      Thank you, Catherine. Neither did I! It’s taken me 6 years to find it. Cheddar is known for its famous caves. I hope you get to go one day.

  4. 19 June 2021 / 7:12 PM

    I would love to visit Cheddar Gorge, thanks you for such a helpful guide! It looks so beautiful and I would really enjoy seeing the wildlife. I appreciate the tips on visiting the caves and enjoying the cheese!

    • 20 June 2021 / 8:33 AM

      Thank you, Erica! It’s truly a beautiful place! I won’t lie the cheese was one of the best I’ve ever tried!

  5. 20 June 2021 / 11:36 PM

    I loved reading about what all the ‘hike’ was about haha awesome post, I love hiking in any new destination

    • 21 June 2021 / 8:15 PM

      Ha! I’m so pleased you liked my pun! It’s a really cool place, definitely worth visiting! Thanks for your nice comment 🙂

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