Somerset

Somerset is known for cider, cheddar cheese, lush green countryside, the Wurzels and Glastonbury. But the county offers much more than this – it's a fantastic place for families to make their home.

The 21st century has seen an influx of new residents leaving busy cities to look for a quieter, more family-oriented lifestyle. The population of the South West is one of the fastest-growing in the UK. Several military bases mean there are many families who are posted to the region from other parts of the UK, many of whom stay long term.

Somerset offers wonderful countryside, from Exmoor and the north Somerset coast to the breathtaking Cheddar Gorge and from Glastonbury Tor to the flat landscape of the Levels and the Hamstone Hills in South Somerset. For most Somerset residents, it's easy to find somewhere close by to walk the dog or go for a bicycle ride after work.

Parents have a variety of schooling to choose from. While there are no state grammars in the county, there are several highly regarded state schools, particularly in Taunton, Wells and Bruton, home to Sexey's, one of the few state boarding schools in the country. Private options include Millfield, known for its sporting facilities, Wells Cathedral School, as well as a Steiner school in Bruton.

Somerset residents also like to shop – Clarks Village in Street is an outlet retail park that always seems to be teeming – while other popular spots are the Mulberry factory shop in Shepton Mallet, Cribbs Causeway in Bristol – home to Ikea among other retailers – and Frome which is increasingly developing as a home for independent retailers. Farmers' markets and car boot sales are seemingly everywhere on weekends, where you can always buy plenty of locally-made cider and cheddar cheese.

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