Traditional folk music, both song and dance, was important in Somerset's agrarian communities. Somerset songs were collected by Cecil Sharp and incorporated into a number of works including Holst's A Somerset Rhapsody. Halsway Manor near Williton is an international centre for folk music. The tradition continues today with groups such as The Wurzels, who specialise in Scrumpy and Western music. The number of Morris dance sides declined drastically following the First World War, but saw a resurgence during the 1950's, and Morris dancing is now a common site at events throughout the summer.
Many traditional rural trades such as basket making have survived, and many other crafts such as jewelry, leatherwork and pottery can be found at studios around the county.
The Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts takes place most years in Pilton, near Shepton Mallet, attracting over 170,000 music and culture lovers and entertainers from around the world. The Big Green Gathering which grew out of the Green fields at the Glastonbury Festival is held in the Mendip Hills between Charterhouse and Compton Martin each summer. The annual Bath Literature Festival is one of several local festivals in the county which include the Frome Festival and the Trowbridge Village Pump Festival, which, despite its name, is held at Farleigh Hungerford in Somerset. The annual circuit of West Country Carnivals is held in a variety of Somerset towns during the autumn, forming a major regional festival, and the largest Festival of Lights in Europe.
In several villages Punkie Night is celebrated each October.
According to Arthurian legend, Avalon became associated with Glastonbury Tor when monks at Glastonbury Abbey claimed to have discovered the bones of King Arthur and his queen. What is more certain is that Glastonbury was an important religious centre by 700. It claims to be "the oldest above-ground Christian church in the World" by dating the founding of the community of monks to AD 63, the year of the legendary visit of Joseph of Arimathea, who was supposed to have brought the Holy Grail to England.
During the middle ages there were also important religious sites at Woodspring Priory and Muchelney Abbey. The present Diocese of Bath and Wells covers Somerset and a small area of Dorset. The Episcopal seat of the Bishop of Bath and Wells is now located in the Cathedral Church of Saint Andrew in the city of Wells, having been previously based at Bath Abbey. Before the English Reformation, it was a Roman Catholic diocese. There is also a Benedictine monastery, Saint Gregory's Abbey (commonly known as Downside Abbey), at Stratton-on-the-Fosse, and a Cistercian Cleeve Abbey near the village of Washford. Culbone Church is the smallest English parish church still holding services.
Many legends exist about Somerset. The Stanton Drew stone circles are said to have been formed when a wedding party continued to dance on the Lord's day. Likewise the Witch of Wookey Hole is said to have been turned to stone by a priest.
The Norton Fitzwarren Dragon is just one of many stories about dragons in Somerset. After a battle a dragon was formed from the pile of corpses and it began terrorising the area by devouring children and destroying crops. A young man took on the beast and after a long and bloody struggle, he pierced the dragons heart and cut off its head. In All Saints Church, a sixteenth-century rood screen depicts the story.
.]] There are a number of museums and art galleries in the county, several of which are in Bath. These include: the American Museum in Britain, the Building of Bath Museum, the Herschel Museum of Astronomy, the Jane Austen Centre, and the Roman Baths. Fine art collections can be found at the Victoria Art Gallery, Holburne Museum of Art and the Museum of East Asian Art.
The main Somerset County Museum along with the Somerset Military Museum are in Taunton Castle, while museums such as the North Somerset Museum, the Somerset Rural Life Museum in Glastonbury and the Peat Moors Centre, explore the counties rural history and crafts.
Other visitor attractions reflect the cultural, historical and industrial heritage of the county: Claverton Pumping Station, Dunster Working Watermill, Nunney Castle, King John's Hunting Lodge in Axbridge, Radstock Museum and Westonzoyland Pumping Station Museum.
Somerset has 11,500 listed buildings; 523 Scheduled Monuments; 192 conservation areas; 41 parks and gardens including those at Barrington Court, Holnicote Estate, Prior Park Landscape Garden and Tintinhull Garden; 36 English Heritage sites; and 19 National Trust sites including Clevedon Court, Fyne Court, Montacute House and Tyntesfield; as well as Stembridge Tower Mill, the last remaining thatched windmill in England. Other historic houses in the county which have remained in private ownership or used for other purposes include Halswell House and Marston Bigot. Among the county's most distinctive architectural assets are the Somerset Towers -- more than 90 late medieval square-topped church towers, some intricately adorned with delicate tracery window openings, pinnacles, golden hamstone arches, gargoyles, and merlons.
Bath Rugby is an English professional rugby union club that are based in the city of Bath. They play in the Guinness Premiership league. The club has experienced major success, having in the past won England's domestic competition, the Anglo-Welsh Cup (as the John Player and Pilkington Cup), as well as the Heineken Cup. Founded in 1865, Bath Football Club is one of the oldest and most successful clubs in existence. They play at the Recreation Ground, also known as the Rec.
The Somerset County Cricket Club is one of the 18 major county clubs which make up the English domestic cricket structure, representing the historic county of Somerset. Its limited overs team is called the Somerset Sabres. The club has its headquarters at the County Cricket Ground, Taunton. First-class games are also played at Bath. Former grounds include Weston-super-Mare, Frome, Glastonbury, Wells and the Imperial Tobacco ground in south Bristol.
Yeovil Town F.C. is an English football team based in Yeovil, Somerset. The club play in League One after having won the League Two championship in 2004-05. They won promotion to the Football League as Conference champions in 2003, and had long been established as the most successful non-league team in the FA Cup - having defeated major Football League teams, most famously Sunderland in the 4th Round in 1949, going on to play in front of more than 81,000 against Manchester United at Maine Road. They play their home games at Huish Park.
In addition to the English national newspapers the county is served by the regional Western Daily Press and local newspapers including; the Bath Chronicle, Chew Valley Gazette, Clevedon Mercury and the Mendip Times. Television and radio are provided by BBC Somerset, GWR FM Bristol, Ivel FM Yeovil, Orchard FM Taunton, and HTV (now known as ITV Wales & West Ltd).