POSTC ARD PERFECTION; SPECIAL FEATURE Writer and mother-of-two Julie Cook is exploring the West Country by train. This week she visits stunning Frome and Wells in Somerset for cheese, cider and cathedrals.
TINY, cobbled streets snaked up steep hills. With so many listed buildings everywhere, and some lanes too narrow for cars, I had to pinch myself and ask: Have I gone back in time? I'd travelled by train to Frome, Somerset. With its little lanes and beautiful river running through it, it's a town that's picture postcard perfect.
After exercising on the steep streets, I came across a market selling flowers, fish and locally-produced pies - as well as pulled pork and chilli sauce.
"People love the street and market food here," the vendor told me, "because everything is made locally."
He wasn't wrong. The steak and ale pie I tried was divine.
From Frome, I took a short train ride to Castle Cary before travelling the half-hour or so to Wells.
One imposing landmark dominated the horizon - Wells Cathedral.
Its facade is stunning and imposing, and I could barely drag myself away. But, the cathedral interior is equally impressive with its intricately decorated cloisters and breathtaking stained glass windows.
There are many tiny chapels as well as an ancient, curving stairwell which takes you up to the chapter house - a beautiful, curved room with more amazing stained glass.
After the cathedral I explored Wells itself - a picturesque, small city with traditional pubs and tea rooms. I stopped at a market stall selling locallyproduced cheddar cheese, chutneys in every variety and Somerset cider.
I opted for a bottle of cider and a real ale chutney which went down a treat with some cheddar I'd picked up in Frome.
Next, I walked to the Bishop's Palace, which sits next to the river, its turrets reflected in the water. It's a beautiful spot, with grassy banks or benches where you can stop to rest or have a picnic. Just 100 metres from here there's also a recreation ground which is great for the children.
At the end of my day in Somerset, I boarded the train. Grassy fields whizzed past full of fluffy white sheep.
Places of interest in Somerset are so easily reached by train and, with so many local types of cider to try, I am very glad I ditched the car for the day!
WHAT TO DO History buffs Frome's cobbled streets, Wells Cathedral and The Bishop's Palace Foodies Tea shops, old English pubs, and the street market food Kids will love the Bishop's Palace and there's a recreation grounds in Wells. Also, don't miss Wookey Hole Caves, just nine minutes from Wells by car.
Nature lovers Frome has Millenium Green, a beautiful open space with local wildlife Julie travelled with First Great Western trains. Low train fares are easily obtainable online in advance visit firstgreatwestern.co.uk.
With mTicketing* (available on selected routes) just simply scan your ticket and go...
SCENIC: Somerset countryside