20 hidden gems around Taunton
- Credit: Archant
Laura Briggs seeks out some (perhaps) lesser known highlights in the county town of Taunton.
Remember to practice social distancing on your visit and book ahead wherever possible for restaurants and events.
Once the main entrance to Taunton from Exeter in the middle ages, the quaint and narrow Bath Place offers a number of independent shops and cafés for the visitor to enjoy. The street features on Taunton's heritage trail. Brendan Books, Bath Place Music and Ginger Fig all call this pretty street home.
Taunton and Bridgwater Canal
Connecting Bridgwater and Taunton, the canal is mainly rural and a welcome idyll for nature lovers. At Maunsel Lock, a scale model of the sun makes up part of the Somerset Space Walk where planets are set along the canal for six miles each way to demonstrate the enormity of space. Maunsel Lock also boasts the canal centre which offers boat trips and refreshment.
Narrow-boats, wildlife and a tow-path that runs the length of the canal make this a perfect getaway.
Boasting three centuries of world class garden design, and one of the most highly regarded collaborations between garden designer Gertrude Jekyll and architect Edwin Lutyens, Hestercombe is a gem which offers a full day out for any visitor. A contemporary art gallery, formal and landscape gardens, the Stables Café and Column Room Restaurant mean there is literally something for everyone in this piece of paradise nestled in the shadow of the Blackdown Hills.
Trull Waterfall, Amberd Lane, Trull
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To find this beauty, park in the centre of Trull village and walk through the playing field behind the Memorial Hall. When you see the roundabout at the end of the playing field you'll see a footpath across a bridge which leads through a meadow to Trull Falls.
A perfect photo opportunity awaits and with a village pub and a community café close by, you can enjoy refreshment after visiting the falls.
Silvers Pantry, Procters Farm Shop, West Monkton
Away from the town centre, in a farm setting, Silvers Pantry is renowned for its quality menu and service. This hidden gem is well worth a visit.
The Glass Bridge, Behind the Museum of Somerset
The Museum of Somerset is well worth a visit in itself, but go behind the scenes and you'll find the stunning glass bridge, which links Castle Green to Goodland Gardens. In the 1100s the Bishops of Winchester created Taunton Castle as the administrative centre of their great estates in Somerset and the entire site was defended by moats.
Sensory Garden, Vivary Park
The former boating pond in Vivary Park is now a sensory space specifically for those with sight, mobility, hearing and learning difficulties. The sensory garden includes ornamental grasses and aromatic plants and flowers such as chocolate cosmos and lime-scented thyme. A memorial stone to commemorate fallen Royal Marines from 40 Commando also sits within the sensory garden, a smaller replica of one that stands in the garden at the marines' base in Norton Manor Camp.
White Post Nursery Cafe, Langford Budville
Enjoy wood-fired pizzas, brunch and light lunches, nestled in the grounds of the White Post Nursery. The nursery also offers the chance for a peaceful browse among the shrubs and plants.
Willow Cathedral, Longrun Meadow
The Willow Cathedral is an impressive structure and the ideal place for a family picnic. Take in the breathtaking meadows covered with wildflowers and to enjoy the wide open green space just ten minutes from Taunton Bridge.
The Courtyard, St James' Street
Tucked behind the main street, The Courtyard is a pretty deviation with independent shops and Augustus, a classic bistro.
Situated right beside the River Tone, Riverside Place offers an array of independent shops selling designer goods and The Boathouse café is open for breakfast and lunch.
COACH, French Weir Park
Coach (Centre for Outdoor Activity & Community Hub) is a charity with a new community building located in Taunton's French Weir Park. COACH links 69 acres of public green space at Longrun Meadow with the River Tone and Taunton's town centre and provides a number of activity and sporting programmes.
Taunton Antiques Market, 27-29 Silver Street
Open on Mondays only, this antiques treasure trove is a great option for collectors looking for memorabilia, collectables, glassware, coins, and jewellery.
Somerset Cricket Museum, Priory Avenue
Somerset Cricket Museum is located at the edge of the County Ground, within a 500-year-old Grade II listed building, and displays all manner of cricket memorabilia.It also holds the archives of Somerset Cricket Club, which can be made available to researchers or other interested visitors.
The Shed, Goodland Gardens
A totally refurbished former toilet block in Taunton's Goodland Gardens is now a stylish café in the ideal location to enjoy the views.
If you're looking for rooms with a luxury feel and great food, or you just want to have a delicious cream tea then Wellies in Corfe will be right up your street.
Not only that but anyone looking for some adrenaline-fuelled activities there's plenty to choose from such as tank driving, falconry, gliding or painting.
Taunton Farmers Market
Every Thursday from 9am until 3pm in Taunton High Street you'll find a great selection of regional cheeses, chutneys, home-made bread and cakes and all the best the county has to offer in terms of produce at this popular farmers' market.
Stop off at this garden centre near Taunton for a great selection of plants and a refreshment ot two in the café.
The Bank, Middle Street
Great food and cocktails in a contemporary setting, The Bank serves modern British Food and offers a cosy bar and an upstairs restaurant with a roof terrace for al fresco dining.
The Plough, Station Road
We couldn't have a list of hidden gems without a great pub featuring somewhere. Supporting the Campaign for Real Ales (CAMRA) The Plough has a wide selection of local ales and ciders and regularly features DJ sets. It's also dog friendly if you want to bring your four-legged friend along too.
This article was updated by Martha Griffiths in 2021.