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A medium-sized town on the northern coast of Somerset with a historic waterfront

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West Somerset Railway
South West Coast path
Blenheim Gardens
Working Portcullis
With a population of just over 10,000, Minehead is a medium-sized town on the northern coast of Somerset.
Historically, the waterfront is the most important part of the town - even to this day, it includes a pier dating from the year 1616. Minehead has a long and fruitful past as a busy trading port, with ships often making the trip across to Wales, carrying cargos of sheep, foodstuffs, and other cattle.
The town grew in the Victorian age, as tourism began to become big business. In the present day, holiday makers remain a common sight, particularly on the beach. This kilometre-and-a-half-long stretch of coastline offers the usual sand, sea, and sun, including some good opportunities for sailing, wind surfing, and other watersports.
For people looking to see more of the county, Minehead is worth visiting simply for its station on the famous West Somerset Railway. At 37 kilometres long, this is the longest steam-powered railway in the United Kingdom. It makes it way towards the county city of Taunton, eventually reaching its terminus at the nearby village of Bishops Lydeard. The journey takes in many of Somerset's best sights, and has been a popular draw for tourists for several decades.
Minehead is also the starting point for the South West Coast Path, which is the longest footpath in Britain. It goes on and on, up hills and across rivers, before eventually ending up in Dorset's Poole Harbour, over 1000 kilomtres later. Its numerous peaks and troughs mean that hikers who manage to complete the entire path will have climbed a total of around 35,000 metres - which is nearly four times the size of Mt. Everest. It's worth the ascent though, because the route takes in some of England's most astounding scenery, including two designated World Heritage Sites. These are the Jurassic Coast - a stretch of wild, rugged cliffs and rock formations - and the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape, a collection of remains from the region's time as the world's biggest producer of copper and tin.
But before you set off on a gigantic journey like that, remember that there's plenty to see and do without leaving Minehead at all. The locals are particularly proud of Blenheim Gardens, their beautiful ornamental park, as well as the Minehead & West Somerset Golf Club, which is the oldest in the county. However, perhaps the best thing to do here is to just explore the town itself. It is filled with thatched cottages and slender lanes, making for an old, nostalgic atmosphere.
In addition - just in case anybody runs out of things to do - Minehead tries to keep both its residents and visitors occupied by putting on a jam-packed schedule of festivals, celebrations, and events. These include more traditional occasions like the Minehead and Exmoor Festival - a display of classical music that has been running annually since 1963 - as well as more modern events like the Britain's Strongest Man competition, which Minehead has hosted several times.
The area is also known for the popular Butlins resort, which is located just next to the beach. Every year, some people arrive for their holiday there without realising how much the town of Minehead itself has to offer. It makes for a very nice surprise.
Visitor Information
West Somerset Railway runs a service for most of April to October. Special timetables apply in winter. Fares vary depending on the journey. It is therefore advisable to check the timetable. The Railway Station, Minehead, Somerset, TA24 5BG. Tel: 01643 704 996

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