Somerset is the very pinnacle of the West Country, a land doused in clotted cream, cloudy cider and more scones than you can shake a lump of cheddar cheese at. Of course, the food is just part of the story, what with so many stunning Somerset cottages to pick from, whether in the verdant Mendip Hills or along the wide sand beaches of Brean. This guide aims to help you pinpoint the sort of stay and the destination you'll love.

What can Somerset cottages offer?

Before delving into the Somerset cottages that cross this handsome county, consider the features you want from your stay. Some highlights are listed below.

There are dog-friendly Somerset cottages

Cheddar Gorge has plenty of cave walks and little Somerset pubs that are more than happy to welcome the pooch – some taverns even have their own canine menus. That's also the case in the Somerset cottages that surround it. Many are pet friendly, though it's possible you'll need to pay a small surcharge to bring your floppy-eared friend along.

Hot tubs can be part of a Somerset cottage

You can add a little luxury into the mix by opting for a Somerset cottage with a hot tub. After days of munching clotted cream and strawberries, you'll be able to crack open a local cider and take a dip in your own steaming spa tub to really get the holiday vibes a-flowing.

Country design

Somerset's quintessential country feel comes through in many of its rentals. Some are topped with a hair of thatch, while others have stone-built walls and blooming rose gardens. Inside, the lounges can be warmed by iron-wrought log burners and original features like exposed-beam ceilings are common.

Where to find your Somerset cottage

If you're not sure if you're more taken with Somerset's thatched-roof villages or salt-washed coastal towns, be sure to read on for a few destination tips across the county.

Taste the sea in Minehead

Rides on the steam-puffing locomotives of the West Somerset Railway can merge with visits to the elegant manor of Dunster Castle in the lively resort town of Minehead. Cottages in these parts will also offer access to the Somerset coast, which has wide beachfronts and grass-topped swathes of sand dune to explore from here all the way to Brean in the north.

A stay in Cheddar

Wedged into a crevice of the Mendip Hills, little Cheddar is probably most famous for the cheese that it gave its name to. However, only a single dairy now remains in the town, though people still flock to munch on the tasty strawberry crop and wander the craggy Cheddar Gorge, with its deep caves and falcon-watched lookouts.

The joy of Bristol cottages and Bath cottages

Although they sit just a whisker north of the county border, the 2 nearest cities to Somerset are worth a special mention. Bath attracts visitors with its elegant Georgian architecture, with magnificent crescents of buildings clad in honey-hued Bath stone, not to mention ancient Roman spas. Bristol cottages, meanwhile, will put you near a cool, hipster hub, where Park Street buzzes with bars and quays are ringed by pubs.

Getting cheap Somerset cottages

If you're keen to have as many pounds as possible for the tasty ciders and cream teas of Somerset, we recommend following these 3 handy hints to secure a bargain home rental in the county.

Always try to book early

It's really important to bag your home away from home in Somerset as early as you can, especially if you want to come and enjoy all the beer gardens and beaches during the summer months. That's because the best-priced cottages will often sell out quickly, leaving a smaller range of rentals and fewer deals the closer you get to your trip.

A visit in spring or autumn, perhaps?

Yes, Somerset certainly does look gorgeous in the summer, when the pubs slosh with cider and chatter and the countryside glows green. However, the region can also be very enticing in spring, when wildflowers bloom on the Mendip Hills and butterflies flutter by in the woodlands. Autumn is lovely, too, with ochre-hued fields and forests that change colour. You're also likely to find better cottage deals at these times of year, not to mention fewer travellers to share the scones with.

Go to lesser-known spots

Somerset's not a huge county, which means you can usually explore the places you want to if you have a car handy. Doing it that way means you can also stray away from the most popular haunts for booking your Somerset cottage. So, dodge Cheddar and beach-fronted Minehead and look to little Yeovil, Langport or historic Somerton instead.