“ City: Somerset / Country: England „
We decided to go down to Brean in Somerset for our first family holiday when my daughter was 6 months old and as my husband used to go there every year when he was a child we thought Brean was apt. He warned me before we went that there may not be much there, though we were looking forward to it anyway.
When we arrived in Brean, although warned about its size, it did surprise me at how small it was, though it was a lovely looking area indeed. We stayed at Pontins, Brean Sands, which was right near the beach, though I wont go into detail of the camp as this review is of Brean itself.
With all that said, let me take you into Brean...
Brean is situated within Somerset on the West coast between Weston-Super-Mare and Burnham on Sea. It is a small village size town with a sandy beach running down the side of the town which interlinks with Burrow beach just 5 minutes walk down the road. There is no real shopping town, and if this is needed, I would recommend Weston opposed to Burnham as there is a lovely big shopping center right near the main tourist spot beach. Weston is approximately 15 minutes drive from Brean. There are a few typical holiday shops along the road by the beach which sell the characteristic postcards, seaside equipment and of course, fish and chips! There are also a few pubs and restaurants around the area, one - the Seagull - is a great family entertainments restaurant and bar, situated opposite Pontins, Brean Sands backing onto the beach. They have nightly entertainment which includes karaoke, quizzes and music. There is also a decent sized amusements with pool house on the road as well as the leisure park (please see my other review for more in depth review of this).
Approximately 10 minutes from the center of Brean, you can find Brean Down. This is a lovely part to visit, though only if you don't mind walking. It is primarily made of carboniferous limestone and is owned by the national trust and is rich in wildlife, history and archaeology. You can find the old fort here, which was built in 1865 as well as what appears to be a pagan shrine. It was used as a prime defense area during the wars as well as a test area for rockets being launched.
The fort is amazing, and something my husband remembered vividly from his childhood. Of course, if you are not a fan of historic places then you may not be interested in the actual fort, though I would recommend walking down to Brean Down just for the lovely views over Brean. Perfect on a sunny day and plenty of places to have a picnic.
This is pretty much the main part of Brean. There are a few attractions, and also the beach with both I will cover in a bit more detail under the relevant headings in this review.
Although small, though, Brean is such a lovely town to come to with wonderful views from the Down and great country walks. The roads are very much countrified with some very narrow in places. The main road towards Weston goes through fields and can be quite confusing, though we didn't get lost which really says something with my driving! There are a few different routes, though only one real main road around this area. Due to this, though, roads are quite quiet and crossing the road usually isn't a problem.
***Brean and Burrow Beach***
When you go on a summer holiday, most people want to know whether the beaches are good or whether they are dirty and unsafe, whether it be for swimming in the sae and sunbathing, building sandcastles and burying your family members in the sand, or simply walking along the beach.
The nearest beaches are obviously Brean Beach and Berrow beach (Berrow beach interlinks Brean beach just 5 minutes down the road). The beaches have lovely sand and when the tide is right, the sea is lovely. The back of the beach for the majority of the coast here is full of sand dunes which are beautiful and give shade when shade is needed. There are a couple of downfalls, though, to these beaches. The first is that when the tide is out there are areas which become too dangerous to walk on due to sinking sand and mud. These are well signposted, but you need to hold some caution at these times. There are also large parts of the beach marked out for cars to park. This is a benefit and an annoyance as it limits the beach size and car fumes can be annoying, though at least you don't need to walk too far from your car with your arms full to the brim with beach equipment. One other thing I did notice, or rather didn't, was there were no visable lifeguard points. A car was driving around, though, which held lifeguards though this may be different in high peak time, I am not sure. Car parking on this particular beach area is £8 for the whole day which is a little steep, though there are limited other car parks nearby which is how they make their money!
For a bigger and perhaps better beach, though, it is a small drive (about 15 minutes) to Weston beach which is more of the typical seaside resort that you might expect. Here there are pleanty of different car parks, including yet another beach park to steal money from your pocket, and shops and arcades like you might expect. The sand is the same as in Brean, with few areas of sinking sand, though these are not as big areas. There wasn't many stalls or entertainment as you might see at a place such as Bournmouth, though we were in low peak time which could make all the difference. There is also a decent sized pier here with amusements and rides along with food stalls. I will speak more of Weston in surrounding areas part below.
***Attractions In and Around Brean***
Brean itself doesn't have many attractions and most you will need to drive to, though it does have a few which are well worth going to see.
The main attraction is Brean Leisure Park (please see my other review for in depth review). This is the biggest leisure park in a wide area of the west with everything from rollercoaster's to nightly entertainment, crazy golf to snooker rooms. It is free to enter and is run on a pay to ride scheme.
Animal Farm Adventure park is just a mile from the sea front in Berrow and took us about 10 minutes to drive from our Pontins site in Brean. This outdoor park is focused upon children and is all based outdoors so not a good idea if you have bad weather. There are many pets to cuddle and baby animals with three levels of a mega play barn, acres of fields with animals, toddler play areas, slides, trampolines and much more.
A small sea aquarium is on the beach of Weston just 15 minutes from Brean. See Sharks, Eels, Rays, Seahorses and hundreds of other sea creatures. We didn't actually go here as it looked tiny from the outside.
Helicopter museum in Weston for all those interested in this and is open Wednesdays to Sundays.
Court Farm Country Park is in Banwell which is nearer to the motorway. There are 20,000 sq. ft. of undercover entertainment with animals and rides.
Cheddar caves and gorge is 11 miles from Brean though well worth visiting. We spent a whole morning here, and although didn't go into the caves because of our 6 month old daughter, we spent a lovely time walking around the village. It is so beautiful here and plenty to do including caves, climbing, hiking, museums and shops, quaint cafes, open top bus ride, RockSport Outdoor Pursuits, Abseiling and much more. I will try to write a review on this at a later date, but I would certainly recommend going here if you stay in Brean.
There are also many attractions further from Brean, though this is practically all within an 11 mile radius. As you can see, a fair amount, though if you are looking for a busy holiday, then this possibly isn't the place to go.
There are many campsites and hotels around and in Brean.
A website which may prove useful:
I would certainly recommend going to brean, especially if you like the quiet type of hoiday, though as you can see, there are some things around, a lot for children, though Brean Down and Cheddar are possibly the best selling points to this area.