Taunton: events to enjoy in 2017

Vivary Park war memorial

Vivary Park war memorial - Credit: Archant

Clare Gladstone looks at what’s going on in Taunton in the year ahead and suggests a few reasons to visit

Welcome to Taunton

Welcome to Taunton - Credit: Archant

Somerset’s county town is a bustling community of shops, art galleries, venues and picturesque open spaces.From shows at The Brewhouse Theatre to exhibitions at the Museum of Somerset there are always plenty of dates to add into your calendar.

If you need some retail therapy, Taunton is packed with big name High Street favourites coupled with independent shops to explore. And when you need a break for lunch, there are always plenty of eateries to tickle your tastebuds, from stylish restaurants and cosy pubs to coffee shops and perfect places for afternoon tea.

Block 9 by Alce Harfield

Block 9 by Alce Harfield - Credit: Archant

Funding good causes

A new way of raising thousands of pounds to help good causes in Taunton Deane and West Somerset is being explored. Taunton Deane Borough Council and West Somerset Council hopes to set up a local lottery with prizes up to £25,000 every week and, if agreed, it could be introduced this spring.

Similar schemes are running in other parts of the country and Taunton Deane councillor Jane Warmington says: “Thriving voluntary and community groups are incredibly important and we want to help them as much as we can. Setting up a local lottery is another way the council can do this to support the dozens of good causes we are lucky enough to have across our area. They are a wonderful lifeline for lots of people and give many of us the opportunity to play a greater part in community life as volunteers. A local lottery could benefit us all.”

The lottery would be open to everyone over the age of 16 years with 60% of every £1 ticket being bought going to local good causes.

Taunton Flower Show

Taunton Flower Show - Credit: Archant

In the running

This year’s Taunton Marathon and Half Marathon takes place on April 2. Choose between running 26 or 13 miles through the villages around Taunton, starting at Somerset Collage of Arts and Technology. Entry £22 or £24.

Taunton Triathlon starts on May 28 at Taunton School. Take part in a 400m swim in the indoor pool, 28km bike ride that takes in some of the villages around the town and a 5km run around the town centre. Entry from £30, if booked before January 31.

Hestercombe Gardens

An artist's impression of how the new shop will look

An artist's impression of how the new shop will look - Credit: Archant

Take a walk around Hestercombe, a unique collection of gardens spanning three centuries of garden history and design. The 50-acre site also includes the Victorian Shrubbery and the Georgian Landscape Garden as well as garden shop and bookshop, plus enjoy lunch or afternoon tea in Stables Café or The Column Room Restaurant. Learn how to keep your roses in perfect shape when head gardener Claire Greenslade holds a rose pruning workshop on February 24 at 10am. £17 online/£18 offline and half price garden admission (01823 413923).

Visit more of Somerset’s gardens here: 25 of Somerset’s prettiest gardens you need to visit

A celebration of art

Somerset artists will be displaying their work at a celebratory Exhibition Art Fair at Taunton’s Creative Innovation Centre (CICCIC) in Paul Street from March 6 to April 2. The Art Fair is to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Sumo55, a multi-media web design company that works with clients in the creative industry.

Museum of Somerset

Museum of Somerset - Credit: Archant

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The exhibition will include bead knitting designs created by artist Jan Truman on her favourite 1970s knitting machine, acrylic canvases by Alce Harfield, and paintings by Philip Ledbury and Charlotte Roffe-Silvester.

The artists will be on hand to meet members of the public at a special event on March 10 from 5-9pm when there will also be live music, stalls and displays, a café and bar, as well as the chance to network with other businesses. Tickets £3 (01823 337477).

Don’t miss…

UK reggae pioneers UB40, featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue, will be coming to Taunton Racecourse on June 11. The three are all founding members of the original Birmingham band and enjoyed huge success over 30 years from 1979 until 2008, including number one albums and multiple top 10 gold and platinum selling albums and Grammy nominations, plus four number ones worldwide.

Brewhouse Theatre

Brewhouse Theatre - Credit: Archant

Tickets from £38.50.

Flower Show Help

Taking place at Vivary Park, Taunton Flower Show is a great community event, attracting many thousands of local residents as well as visitors from the wider region.

This year’s event takes place on August 4 and 5 and the show organisers are always keen to attract more volunteers to help out over the two days. Around 250 volunteers are needed for a variety of roles, including selling tickets and stewarding at the gates, stewarding in the main marquees and the three car park areas, selling programmes, assisting in the competition marquee, stacking chairs and tables and litter picking the day after the show. Visit the website to find more information on the show and how you can help.

Taunton Live Arts Festival

Taunton Live Arts Festival - Credit: Archant

Join the carnival

This year’s illuminated Taunton Carnival is set to take place on October 21 and has been crowned Miss Taunton 2017, The Carnival Queen.

More than just cricket

Fixtures start in early spring at Somerset County Cricket Club with the first match against Gloucestershire taking place in front of the home crowd on March 19. The Cooper Associates County Ground will also host an international match with England V South Africa on June 23. Visit the website to check fixtures or buy tickets. But you don’t have to wait until match day to enjoy the club’s grounds. Stragglers Coffee House on the ground floor of the Somerset Pavilion is open to the public on non-match days and in the Colin Atkinson Pavilion, enjoy a winter carvery lunch from noon to 2pm every Sunday until March 26. Make a booking on 01823 425343.

Sheppy’s Cider Farm, Shop and Museum

In 2017 the Sheppy family celebrates 100 years of producing cider at Three Bridges Farm, Bradford-on-Tone near Taunton.

Current family members David and Louisa Sheppy are planning for the next generation. In the spring of 2017 Sheppy’s will open the doors of their refurbished buildings and welcome visitors to Sheppy’s House of Cider and Fine Foods. The shop will feature Sheppy’s ciders from a dedicated tasting counter and Old English Longhorn beef, together with other locally sourced food and drink.

There will be a café and a stylish restaurant serving menus using local ingredients, together with a bar set inside the old cider-making apple bay and a unique cosy bookable venue inside an old oak vat.

Shows galore

From music and cinema to children’s stories and dramatic theatre, The Brewhouse Theatre & Arts Centre has something for everyone.

Upcoming shows include storytelling with A Pocketful of Grimms on February 19, an evening with comedian Jenny Éclair on March 3, Vienna Festival Ballet’s Cinderella from March 31 to April 2 and tribute show T.Rextasy on October 29. Find full events listings on the website.

Taunton Live Arts Festival

From Monday July 24 to Sunday July 30, Taunton will welcome people to celebrate the diversity of culture in Somerset with the Taunton Live Arts Festival. Expect traditional Indian weaving alongside Somerset withy basket work; line dancers to come face to face with Palestinian stick dancers; and clog dancers will mingle with belly dancers. Taunton Farmers’ Market will organise tasters of food from all over the world too – yum!

Find out how you can get involved by contacting Jenny or Liz via @infotauntonlive.co.uk.

Keep up to date with what’s on in Somerset with our 5 things to do at the weekend

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