Somerset Day: Seven of the best things to do to celebrate our county

Saturday, May 11 marks Somerset Day, an annual celebration of our county's history. The date was inspired by Alfred the Great, who legend has it called the people of Somerset to arms against the Vikings on May 11, 878 AD.

But this year, instead of fighting invading armies, people across Somerset can enjoy food festivals, open orchards, and quirky competitions. There's something for everyone: music, food, drinks, history, and the open-air.

From Watchet to Wincanton, Taunton to Yeovil, there's great fun to be had across the county this Saturday.

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Open weekend at the orchard, Wincanton

It wouldn't be a proper celebration of Somerset without cider. And this year, you can raise a glass to our county at an award-winning orchard.

Dowding's orchard in Shepton Montague (near Wincanton) is opening its gates this weekend for just £1 per adult. Teetotal or a designated driver? Not only will there be ciders and gins, there will also be plenty of delicious apple juice.

Birds of prey will also be on display over the weekend. The orchard open days will run from 10am to 8pm, Saturday, 11 May to Sunday, 12 May.

Town criers' competition, Ilminster

Hear ye, hear ye! Town criers from all the over West Country will be journeying to Ilminster to take part in this quirky competition. Participants will be wearing traditional dress in what is sure to be a unique event.

Hungry from listening to all that bell ringing? After the winner is announced there'll be a buffet.

The town criers' competition will take place from 9am to 2pm on Saturday, May 11 at the Market House and Arts Centre.

Somerset Day Storytime, Watchet

If you're looking for family-friendly fun, Somerset Day Storytime at Watchet Library might be just the ticket. Parents and children can gather round for stories about dragons, a famous symbol of our county.

Perhaps this is your child's first Somerset Day, and what could be a better introduction to the festival than thrilling tales of fire-breathing dragons? Storytime will be at 11am on Saturday at Watchet Library and is free to attend.

King Alfred Day at Avalon Archaeology, Westhay

The Great Saxon king has inspired a great day out at Westhay, a few miles from Glastonbury. Visitors will be able to immerse themselves in the 800s, with actors dressed for the times.

Visitors can learn to write Saxon-style, dress up in historical clothes, and even make their own King Alfred coins. Ever wondered what it would be like to sit in a Viking ship or a Saxon dining hall? Wonder no more and visit Avalon Archaeology on Saturday between 10am and 4pm.

Adults can enter for £5, children for £3, and children under five for free! You can also visit again free of charge for the rest of the year.

Yeovil Beer Festival, Yeovil

Now that Summer's well and truly here, why not cool off with a pint at Yeovil's beer festival? Organisers boast a choice of 33 beers and 22 ciders for the thirsty connoisseur.

There will also be music performed throughout the day across two stages. This year, the festival will be raising money for Children's Hospice South West.

Yeovil Beer Festival is strictly for adults and will take place at Yeovil Town Football Club on Saturday from noon to 11pm. An afternoon ticket is £10, an evening ticket is £15, and an all-day ticket is £20.

eat:Taunton, Taunton

Gastronauts can head to Taunton for a food festival hosting dishes from across the West Country. Eat:festivals pride themselves on being "grown from the land around us", and are a must-see event for people who are passionate about locally-sourced food.

The festival also promises gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan cuisine so there should truly be something for everyone. The food festival is free to attend and will be held on Hammer Street and East Street on Saturday, between 10am and 4pm.

Ham Hill History Walk, Stoke Sub Hamdon

Do food festivals, beer tents, and a procession of town-criers sound a bit too high-key for you? Perhaps you're looking for something more quiet and reflective this Somerset Day?

Ham Hill History Walk will take visitors on a stroll through history, taking you up the hill while sharing tales from the area's incredible past. It's predicted to be a lovely warm day, so don't forget to bring water and sun cream!

The walk costs £8 per person and must be booked by emailing Please include the number of people who'd like to attend a contact number.