There are a wealth of interesting towns and villages within a short drive or cycle of Bath, Radstock is one of those and is thought to be the best preserved former coal-mining towns in England. Found just nine miles south west of Bath, Radstock is tucked away between the surrounding Somerset hills and houses its own interactive museum in the town’s former market hall. Other intriguing sites include the largest collection of orchids outside Kew Gardens and a 15th century church tower.
It’s known that a settlement has resided in Radstock since the Iron Age, but it wasn’t until much later in the mid-1700’s that real growth started after coal was discovered in the area. You can learn more about the rural town’s history and heritage with a visit to the Radstock Museum, which hosts engaging exhibitions for both kids and adults alike to enjoy. Explore the dangerous working conditions of the mines, step inside the strict Victorian Board School and learn how community life centred round the church and the pub.
Step back in time and savour stories of those who adorned North-East Somerset throughout the 19th century, with further exhibits showcasing local geology and a virtual reality experience through a Victorian coalmine also on offer over the two-floors. Catch a glimpse of industrial and social history, with an insight into local trades, such as blacksmithing, shoe making, printing and brewing. You will also find an adjoining shop and tearoom to tempt you during your visit.
For those keen to mount the saddle, there are two cycle routes through the town, the local Greenway and a section of the National Cycle Network, which runs from Bath through Radstock and onto Frome and the South Coast. You may prefer to set out on the circular Miners trail and retreat to the quiet country lanes between the beautiful Mendip Hills, The traditional market town of Midsomer Norton can be found just a short distance along the road, with fresh produce to be found at the Farmers’ Market, on the first Saturday of each month.