Cheddar Gorge is one of the UK’s most spectacular natural locations, boasting seven separate attractions where visitors can step 500-million years back in time – not to mention, deep underground.
The gorge and caves, of course, are famous for the discoveries made about Britain’s pre-historic past; and, following a recent upgrade, The Museum of Prehistory now gives visitors a fresh look at our forefathers’ skills of fire-lighting and tool making, and presents examples of weapons and equipment that would have been used and developed millions of years ago.
The new-look Museum not only underlines the significance of Cheddar Gorge through displays, modern info-graphics and bite-sized information, but also illustrates how mankind survived, thrived and developed culturally.
While the Museum focuses on the most significant local finds, including a reproduction of the oldest almost complete skeleton – “Cheddar Man” – the overall aim is for visitors to gain a better impression of just how significant Cheddar Gorge & Caves is in relation to The Stone Age.
It’s all part of an ongoing £400,000 investment plan, which got under way in 2016 with the introduction of new branding and interpretation – and also resulted in a major new attraction for Cox’s Cave.
Now arguably the highlight of any tour through Somerset’s Cheddar Gorge, the new attraction gives visitors the chance to experience the magic and the splendour of the Cheddar Cave’s natural underground wonders.
Dreamhunters – The Adventures Of Early Man opened its doors to the public in May 2016 and features state-of-the-art projectors, sound systems and lighting, to create a spectacular multi-media walk-through experience for its 21st century visitors.
The route through the caves makes full use of a dramatic natural setting to tell the story of how our ancestors overcame ancient fears, and fierce predators, and made the tools and weapons needed to build shelters and hunt in order to protect the tribe. The full experience takes the visitor on a journey through pre-history lasting approximately 30 minutes, and is included in the overall cost of admission.
Nearby Gough’s Cave is widely recognised as one of the most beautiful stalactite caverns in the world. It is also where Cheddar Man was found. In here, audio guides bring the cave to life, telling the fascinating story of its Ice Age creation, Stone Age occupation and Victorian exploration.
Cheddar Gorge itself is one of the UK’s most iconic landscapes, and can be explored in several ways – one of the most popular of all being The Gorge Open-top Bus Tour, which offers 20-minutes of amazing views and informative commentary.
For the more active visitor, it’s possible to enjoy one of the most stunning walks in England – the three-mile Cliff Top Gorge Walk, which usually takes around one-and-a-half hours; or the climb the 274 steps of Jacobs Ladder, up to The Lookout Tower, where the rewards on offer are the breathtaking views.
A National Nature Reserve, this world-famous destination is a haven for wildlife, an international centre for caving and rock climbing…and arguably the best picnic spot in the country!
For some visitors, however, the ultimate way of exploring Cheddar Gorge & Caves from top to bottom just has to be Cheddar Gorge X-Treme, which offers adventure caving, and rock climbing. Led by a team of highly trained guides, it’s hard, dirty and fun – and suitable for beginners.
Access to Cheddar Gorge and Caves (which includes Dreamhunters, Gough’s Cave, The Museum of Prehistory, the Lookout Tower, Cliff-top Gorge Walk and Gorge Open-Top Bus) is currently priced at: Adults £19.95 (online £16.95); Children (5-15) £13.95 (online £11.85); Under 5s Free.
For further details, and updates on 2017 prices, visit http://www.cheddargorge.co.uk