Bordered by Bristol, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Dorset and Devon, Somerset incorporates the rolling Mendips and Quantock and Blackdown Hills, as well as Exmoor and large flat expanses like the Somerset Levels. The Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary lie to the north and west.
From the mystique of Glastonbury Abbey to the majesty of the cathedral in Wells to all that Bath has to offer to the caves of the Cheddar Gorge, this county has endless visual appeal.
Property in Somerset is typically constructed from local stone, like the Levels' limestone or the golden-coloured type from Ham in the country' south, and roofs are clay-tiled. Housing here is as varied as one would expect in a region of this size, from flats to terraces, semis, new builds and thatched cottages.
House prices in Somerset vary across the county, with the northern areas tending to be slightly pricier than the south. The gorgeous city of Bath, for example, does not come cheap. In the southern half, the Mendips and Taunton Deane are among the more expensive districts.
For town life, the county's administrative hub, Taunton, offers superb shops, restaurants and other local cultural and leisure amenities. There is also excellent shopping in Bridgwater and Yeovil, and a retail outlet shopping village in Street.
Yeovil is a thriving market town, again well-served for local facilities and with numerous Victorian and modern terraces, semis and flat conversions and new builds. Other possibilities include coastal resorts such as Weston-super-Mare.
Spread out along its 40 miles of coastline, the county's other main coastal towns include Minehead, Watchet, Burnham-on-Sea and Portishead.
Bridgwater Bay is a beautiful national nature reserve, while in western Somerset, where Exmoor meets the sea, the coastline is high and dramatic, with high cliffs and waterfalls.
And with a wide range of museums, superb days out, and cultural offerings ranging from Glastonbury to the Bath Literature Festival to a circuit of local annual carnivals, you certainly won't be short of things to do, wherever you are in Somerset.
Main arterial routes include the A37, A38, M5, A303 and A39, giving good access across the UK. Expect to find lots of narrow, winding lanes as well!
Good Rail services by the West of England mainline run through Yeovil, the Bristol to Taunton line, the Heart of Wessex line from Bristol to Weymouth and the Reading to Taunton line.
Nearby Bristol Airport runs national and international flights.
Schools provision is through Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and Somerset County Councils. The Cheddar Valley and West Somerset run a three-tier system, the rest of the county uses two tiers. In all there are over 50 state and 20 independent schools, with a particularly strong private sector.
A range of further and adult education courses is on offer, while Bath has two universities.
Somerset's big draws are the glorious local countryside, the relaxed pace of life and the mild weather. This explains why so many people take the plunge and decide to live in this unique, striking part of the world all year round - not just while on holiday.
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