Cider tasting in Somerset is a real treat at any time of year. Whether you time your visit for the spring blossoms, the autumn harvest or anything in between, the most important part of a visit to one of Somerset’s many independent cider producers is the chance to taste the finished product, fresh from the barrel.
Perry’s Cider, Ilminster
Take a look around this working cider mill, which is open to visitors every day except Christmas. Founded in 1920, they make single variety, farmhouse, vintage and draught ciders, all of which are available to taste in the farm shop, where you can also buy a range of good from jams and chutneys to Somerset cheeses and meats, plus books, plants, gifts and local art. The site also boasts a small museum, housed in the original 16th century thatched cottage where company started, as well as tea rooms serving light bites and a fantastic range of cakes, including gorgeous scones.
Perry’s Cider, Dowlish Wake, Ilminster, Somerset TA19 0NY
The Somerset Cider Brandy Company, Martock
They’ve been making cider for 150 years, and cider brandy since 1989, so it’s safe to say that the folk at The Somerset Cider Brandy Company know a thing or two about what makes a good tipple. As well as sampling their wares in their shop, surrounded by vintage cider making paraphernalia, visitors can explore the farm’s 160 acres of cider apple orchards – including climbing to the top of Burrow Hill, which boasts views across the Somerset Levels (you can see to Glastonbury Tor on a good day) – or take a peek at the vast copper stills where the cider is made in the distillery.
The Somerset Cider Brandy Company, Pass Vale Farm, Burrow Hill, Kingsbury Episcopi, Martock, Somerset TA12 6BU
Wilkins Cider Farm, Mudgley
For a traditional taste of Somerset, be sure to visit Roger Wilkins at Lands End Farm near Mudgley. There’s no shop to speak of, just a collection of barrels in the barn, but visitors are always welcome to stop in at the farm and have a pint of CAMRA award-winning cider before making their purchases. Roger also sells sell cheddar and stilton, locally grown vegetables, eggs and pickles, as well as cider flagons and drinking bowls. Cider tasting in Somerset doesn’t get more old school than this. You can also learn all about cider in this lovely film starring Roger >
Wilkins Cider, Land’s End Farm, Mudgley, Wedmore, Somerset BS28 4TU
Sheppy’s Cider, Bradford-on-Tone
Make sure to leave plenty of time for your visit to Three Bridges Farm, a working beef, sheep and arable farm and home to Sheppy’s Cider. There are 55 acres of cider apple orchards to explore, as well as a pond with ducks, geese and black swans, a children’s playground, and a rural life museum where you can watch a DVD showing the cider making process. Picnic tables are available in the summer, or pop in to the tea rooms for anything from a light snack to a full meal. There’s a range of traditional ciders and more modern blends to try in the farm shop, which also sells home-bred Old English Longhorn beef.
Sheppy’s, Three Bridges, Bradford-on-Tone, Taunton, Somerset TA4 1ER
Bere Cider Company, Langport
The craft cidermakers at the Bere Cider Company have four generations of expertise behind them. They use old traditional cider-making techniques and 100% English cider apples, many of which are grown in their own orchards. Head for the cider shed, AKA Jim’s Shack, to sample their cider, apple juice or perry – make sure you try their flagship Gold Rush cider. As well as their cider, you can also buy apple juice, cider vinegar, locally produced honey, jams, chutneys and pickles, cheese, free range eggs, traditional cider pottery and seasonal vegetables and logs. After visiting the cider farm, the nearby village of High Ham is just a short walk or drive away; it has beautiful panoramic views over open countryside from the Mendips and Glastonbury Tor to the Quantocks.
Bere Cider Company, Woodpecker Lodge, Bere, Aller, Langport, Somerset, TA10 0QX
Thatchers Cider, Sandford
What better place to enjoy a pint of popular Thatchers Gold than at Myrtle Farm, where William Thatcher started the family business more than 100 years ago. There’s a farm shop on site where you can try before you buy (there’s a large range on offer, made from apple varieties such as Dabinett, Somerset Redstreak and Porters Perfection), or take your time about it at The Railway Inn just down the road, which has recently been refurbished and decorated with artefacts and pictures reflecting Thatchers’ cider making heritage. If you fancy stretching your legs, the historic Strawberry Line footpath runs through a number of the farm’s orchards, as well as protected wetlands where you can see wildlife including deer.
Thatchers Cider, Myrtle Farm, Sandford, Somerset BS25 5RA
Rich’s Cider, Watchfield
Cider tasting in Somerset is best experienced with a delicious home cooked meal, and that’s exactly what you’ll get in the restaurant at Mill Farm, where Gordon Rich and his family have been making cider for many years. The restaurant’s open plan layout means you can watch your food being prepared as you wait, whether you fancy a light lunch, afternoon tea or Sunday carvery. The ciders can be sampled in the on-site shop too, if you don’t have time to stop for a bite.
Rich’s Cider Farm, Watchfield, Highbridge, Somerset TA9 4RD