If you’re looking for great days out, the historic market town of Taunton has much to offer for the whole family. With a fantastic variety of things to do, reasons to visit Taunton range from heritage attractions and boutique shopping to more relaxing country walks. Taunton is the county town of Somerset with over 1,000 fascinating years of history. Situated near Blackdown Hills and Quantock Hills you’re not too far from a backdrop of unspoilt views stretching across an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
If you’re enjoying a stay at our Devon holiday park why not experience a little bit of sunny Somerset too? It takes just over 30 minutes to drive from Forest Glade Holiday Park to cross the Devon and Somerset border and arrive in Taunton. Here’s our rundown of the best reasons to visit Taunton:
Top up your historical knowledge by visiting the impressive heritage attractions that you’ll find in Taunton. Taunton visitor centre at Market House is the place to go find out more, pick up tickets and get started on your itinerary of activities.
The Museum of Somerset is set in part of the original castle which gives it a uniquely authentic feel. Delve into a fascinating journey through time as you uncover many centuries of local and military history. Whilst its free to enter, the museum is charity run by The South West Heritage Trust. Therefore much-deserved donations are always welcome and we’d definitely encourage it.
Taunton Castle – Photo credit: Gerry Labrijn on Flickr / (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Another example of historic architecture in Taunton is St Mary Magdelene Church. The iconic gothic landmark is visible on the skyline from some distance, but it’s worth taking a closer look around. The Grade I listed structure features a magnificent tower which is the highest of its kind in Somerset.
St Mary Magdelene Church – Photo credit: Gerry Labrijn on Flickr / (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Heading off the beaten track slightly but a worthy attraction nonetheless, is the West Somerset Railway Line. The ancient railway line is still in operation as a visitor attraction running from Bishops Lydeard (4 miles from Taunton) through several stations to Minehead. The sound of vintage steam locomotives roaring through the Somerset countryside is pure nostalgia, and we love it!
West Somerset Railway – Photo credit: Alison Day on Flickr / (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Parks and Gardens
Taunton has excellent public parks and gardens spread over many hectares of open green space. Its main Green Flag status parks serve as great way to explore Taunton, especially if you’re keeping budget to a minimum. Vivary Park is Taunton’s most well-known park. With a short distance from the town centre, it’s a popular location for a picnic spot. Its grounds are very well-maintained, there are play areas to keep the kids entertained and a crazy golf course to test your putting skills. Other notable gorgeous green spaces in Taunton include French Weir Park and Hestercombe Gardens.
Vivary Park with Taunton Castle in the background. Photo credit: Deborah Desmond-Hurst on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Wonderful walking tours
If you are on flying day visit in Taunton and looking to cram in all the sights, you can’t go far wrong with The Taunton Heritage Trail. This comprehensive and self-guided walking tour is one of our most recommended ways to explore the town. Following a route map (you can pick these up at the Visitor Centre) the trail takes in no fewer than 18 of the historic sites and buildings in the town. To explore the wider area of Taunton there is a choice of circular walks. These run from Taunton to Catlake and Taunton to Longaller.
The area surrounding Taunton makes a stunning backdrop for further discovery. Blackdown Hills and Quantock Hills, are both Areas of Outstanding Beauty and full of character. For the ultimate way to explore you can book a Quantock pony trekking experience.
Quantock Hills ponies – Photo Credit: Micahel Warren on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Taste authentic Somerset cider
Somerset is famous for cider-making with a history of fine producers utilising the county’s distinctive apples. These range from small farmhouse producers to much larger orchards with a commercial output. Why not celebrate Somerset’s fondness with cider with a tour of Sheppy’s Cider or Taunton Cider Company.
It’s a corker for cricket
In the heart of Taunton you can’t miss The Cooper Associates County Ground – the home of Somerset County Cricket Club. This is a stadium with a great atmosphere and simply a must for cricket fans. A first class venue which plays host of some of the most exciting one day and T20 matches on the cricket calendar. It’s no wonder the town is known as one of the top places in the country to sit back and watch the great sport.
Taunton cricket ground – Photo credit: jaydubyasee on Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)
A shopper’s paradise
If there’s nothing more you enjoy than just a browse of the shops, with a coffee stop-off or a visit to a top restaurant, Taunton has it all. A fabulous mix of independent boutiques and high street shops are on offer. Head to Bath place and St James Street Riverside area for independents. There are shopping centres too – Orchard Shopping centre has a combination of retailers and eateries. County Walk Shopping Centre provides a conveniently located chance for a retail fix, plus coffee shops and restaurants.
Photo credit: Brett Jordan on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
We hope we have inspired you with some of the best reasons to visit Taunton, there are many, many more! Get in touch with our team if you’d like to know more about the area near Forest Glade Holiday Park. We’d be only too happy to help you get the best from your stay in our beautiful part of the country.