Tuesday, 22 November 2011

We love Taunton, Somerset’s county town: things to see, shopping, places to eat

Since we moved to the country, the Big Metropolis for us is Taunton, the capital of Somerset. It’s our favourite place round here when we need to do a large shop or a large variety of shopping; more of shopping later, though, because there’s plenty else to tell. I temped in Taunton for a while when we first moved to Somerset, and during my lunch breaks I discovered some of its secret (and not so secret) places and things to see. Here’s a taster.

Vivary Park is great for a wander, well used but still peaceful, with lots of interesting corners. There are some gorgeous houses backing on to the park, at which I’ve cast many an envious look.

If you only have time to look at one of the churches in Taunton, make it St Mary Magdalene. The churchyard and surrounding streets are also very atmospheric, giving a feeling of what the town must have been like in the days before the car parks were needed.

The River Tone flows though the town (Tone-town, it must’ve been!) and it’s a nice stroll along the pathways at Goodland Gardens and French Weir. As I write this, there’s some renovation work going on by the riverside so not all the paths are accessible.

Through the archway at Castle Bow you’ll find a collection of historic and picturesque buildings. The castle itself contains the beautifully laid out Museum of Somerset, recently opened again after a massive redevelopment.

Shopping! The main retail areas in the town centre are the High Street, East Street, North Street and the adjoining arcades, where there are all the usual chain stores and independent shops too. There’s a good farmers market on the High Street every Thursday. For plenty of interesting individual shops, try the area around Middle Street and the back streets near the bridge, also Bath Place off the High Street.

Food is dear to our hearts, and we generally combine a visit to Taunton with a good lunch. Some of our favourite places to eat include The Sanctuary on Middle Street (their light lunch menu is very good value); Brazz on Castle Bow (part of The Castle Hotel); the Castle Green Inn (on Castle Green, would you believe?); the Flying Aubergine (great name!) by the river; there are many more too.

Find more information about Taunton, and a link to a heritage trail, at http://www.visitsomerset.co.uk/explore-somerset-towns-and-villages/taunton-p500243

No comments: