Mendip Hills, Somerset
One thing that makes the Mendip Hills so unique is the diversity of the landscape; in parts it's very craggy and precipitous, in others, soft and rolling, so pootle around enough and you'll see everything from steeply sloping grasslands, wooded combes and windswept plateaus to dramatic gorges, rocky outcrops and winding lanes that take you to peaceful villages with traditional country inns. It seems almost everywhere you look there are the most astounding views over the Somerset Levels, the Bristol Channel and the Chew Valley.
Whilst The Mendips aren't packed with touristy things there's still plenty to do, especially if you like being outdoors enjoying the indisputable benefits of fresh air and exercise. There are cycling routes like the Strawberry Line and the West Mendip Way, and plenty of footpaths. Walk up through the woods to Crook Peak (that funny looking hill you can see from the M5), hear skylarks on summer evenings, take in views that roll on and on for miles. You'll find more views at Brean Down - and a chance to play on the sandy beach, or there's Ebbor Gorge with its caves and dramatic limestone cliffs. Brent Knoll is another good viewpoint and here's a thing - in Roman times it was an island known as 'The Mount of Frogs', but that was long, long before the Somerset Levels were drained. Perhaps one of the busiest places in the hills is Cheddar Gorge, England's largest at 400ft deep and 3 miles long! Down in the subterranean caves you can see stalagmites and stalactites and the very cavern where Britain's oldest complete skeleton was found - Cheddar Man, some 9,000 years old, is now kept in the Human Evolution Gallery of The Natural History Museum in London.
Kids will love a day out at Wookey Hole with all its activities and attractions, though more for everyone is a trip to Wells, the smallest city in England, where you can visit the cathedral, the Bishop's Palace and take a peek at the cobbled Vicar's Close, the oldest continuously inhabited street in Europe - it's a bit like something out of a Harry Potter film set. You'll find plenty of places to eat in the Mendip Hills, but we think those cosy pubs that are off the beaten track are the best; try the Queen Victoria at Priddy, The Crown at Churchill or The Queen's Arms at Bleadon.