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West Somerset Railway

West Somerset Railway

Zummerzet Photography

Attractions in Taunton Deane

From historic houses to a heritage railway, to a centre where one of the oldest rural crafts still flourishes – there’s plenty to go and see in Taunton Deane.

Taunton was one of the most important stations on Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s Bristol and Exeter Railway and not far away is a well-preserved survivor of the golden age of Victorian train travel.

At 22 miles long the West Somerset Railway is the country’s longest heritage line, running steam and diesel services from Bishop’s Lydeard, a few miles outside Taunton, to the sea at Minehead, passing through spectacular scenery – and climbing to nearly 500 feet at Crowcombe Heathfield – in the process.

The picturesque Quantock Hills village of Bishop’s Lydeard itself is home to a rural life and transport museum giving a glimpse of the traditional farming methods of gentler, pre-mechanisation days in an area where agriculture continues to be the major local industry.

From picnic baskets to balloon baskets: they’re all made in Somerset from the withies, or willow shoots, which are grown and harvested on the Somerset Levels. Balloon baskets? Certainly. Balloon makers insist on them because only withy baskets have the strength and flexibility necessary to cope with heavy landings.

You’ll learn this and much more at the Willows & Wetlands Visitor Centre in Stoke St Gregory, where a wide range of locally crafted goods are on sale.

Lying just north of Taunton is Hestercombe House, an absolute must-see attraction for garden lovers. The house itself overlooks one of the finest formal gardens laid out and planted collaboratively by Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll, while there’s a more recently-restored classical 18th century garden nesting behind the house, complete with water and architectural features.

Meanwhile another architectural gem lies just a few miles away. It’s Cothay Manor, near Wellington, virtually unaltered since it was completed in 1480.

Taunton Deane also offers two outstanding museums, the award-winning and recently refurbished Museum of Somerset, housed in part of Taunton Castle, and Wellington Museum, which offers among other things an insight into the town’s industrial heritage.

Tags: Attractions in Taunton Deane, Taunton Deane Attractions

Number of items:

Number of items: 16

  1. Bishops Lydeard Mill

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    Bishops Lydeard Mill and Rural Life Museum

    Type

    Water Mill

    Bishops Lydeard, Taunton

    Located in the Vale of Taunton Deane, Bishops...

  2. Brewhouse Theatre and Arts Centre

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    Brewhouse Theatre and Arts Centre

    Type

    Theatre

    Taunton

    The Brewhouse is situated in the heart of...

  3. Cothay Manor

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    Cothay Manor

    Type

    Garden

    Greenham, Nr Wellington

    Nowhere evokes the magic of the past more than Cothay. Hidden for centuries it has remained virtually untouched since it was enlarged in 1485 and built in 1480.
    Cothay is situated five miles South...

  4. Cotleigh Brewery

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    Cotleigh Brewery

    Type

    Tour Guide

    Taunton

    Cotleigh Brewery started trading in 1979, and has...

  5. French Weir

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    French Weir

    Type

    Garden

    Taunton

    French Weir park is a natural green area offering...

  6. mill pond

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    Hestercombe Gardens

    Type

    Garden

    Cheddon Fitzpaine, Nr Taunton

    Discover 300 years of garden design in one inspiring estate. Wander along the lakeside paths of the Georgian Landscape Garden, admire the views from the Victorian Terrace and see the stunning...

  7. Museum of Somerset

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    Museum of Somerset

    Type

    Museum

    Taunton

    ENTRY TO THE MUSEUM IS FREE!

     

    Visit Taunton Castle

    Housed in Taunton’s historic castle, the Museum of Somerset tells the county's fascinating story from prehistoric times to the...

  8. Sheppy's Cider Farm, Shop and Museum

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    Sheppy's Cider Farm, Shop and Museum

    Type

    Museum

    Nr Taunton

    With a history spanning six generations, and over...

  9. Somerset County Cricket Club

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    Somerset County Cricket Club

    Type

    Sports Ground/Stadium

    Taunton

    Situated in the historical town of Taunton, Somerset’s county capital, the Cooper Associates County Ground makes for the perfect day out. Whether you are a family looking to enjoy a day’s cricket,...

  10. Somerset Cricket Museum

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    Somerset Cricket Museum

    Type

    Museum

    Taunton

    Display of Somerset County Cricket Club...

  11. Tacchi Morris Arts Centre

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    Tacchi Morris Arts Centre

    Type

    Theatre

    Taunton

    Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre is a multipurpose space...

  12. Taunton Racecourse

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    Taunton Racecourse

    Type

    Venue Provider

    Orchard Portman, Nr Taunton

    The youngest National Hunt racecourse in Britain and one of the most beautifully located, with outstanding views across the racecourse to the wooded slopes of the Blackdown Hills, yet only a few...

  13. Vivary Park

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    Vivary Park

    Type

    Garden

    Taunton

    The park is home to children's play areas, Aviary and picnic tables, War Memorial, Rose Gardens, Vivary Golf Course, Taunton Bowling Club, Victorian Fountain, Bandstand, Model Boat pond, Taunton...

  14. Wellington Museum, Wellington

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    Wellington Museum

    Type

    Museum

    Wellington

    Three hundred year old listed building housing...

  15. West Somerset Railway

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    West Somerset Railway

    Type

    Steam Railway

    Minehead

    The West Somerset Railway is the longest Heritage line in the United Kingdom. 

    The line is situated four miles outside the County town of Taunton, starting at Bishops Lydeard and finishing at...

  16. Willows and Wetlands Visitor Centre

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    Willows and Wetlands Visitor Centre

    Type

    Heritage/Visitor Centre

    Stoke St Gregory, Nr Taunton

    A warm welcome awaits you at the Willows & Wetlands Visitor Centre.

    Willow is as traditional to Somerset as cheese and cider, although perhaps not so much is known about it these days. Here in...

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