You’ve probably heard about the little town of Bruton, on the river Brue in South Somerset. Bruton turns heads. It gets noticed. It gets coverage in the national press who say “it’s more than just another sleepy village… it’s a celeb magnet!”
For us, none of that matters. It’s not about Bruton being “bang on trend” with "two of The Corrs living nearby" (not that we’ve got anything against So Young, the K-Klass remix!! :)
For us, Bruton is more than the superficial first date you get drunk with once & never call again… & if the trend changes, (as trends tend to do!) we’re in it for the long haul. Why? Because the more time we spend here, the more we want to discover - & that’s what makes Bruton incredibly special. There are pockets of people doing things differently all over town - & that’s got us more than just a little bit hooked!
So, over the coming weeks, we’ll be writing a few features about these unique little pockets of Bruton & the people creating them. For now though, if you’re planning a weekend away, start with these gems & you won’t go too far wrong.
Caro’s a contemporary store & coffeehouse, set within an 18th century stone-fronted cottage that was once the local bakery. These days, the store’s filled with cool, perfectly positioned treats & there’s also one very special room for a stylish sleepover. If you’re lucky enough to bag it, fill the freestanding bath, lay back & take in the views of the famous Bruton Dovecote. And on a rainy afternoon, grab yourself a coffee, an awesome cake by The Bakemonger & illustrate your own book! We chose ‘The Mysterious Prawn’ & can honestly say we’ll never forget it (check out our twitter feed for the evidence).
Update 2018 - Caro's now at 18-20 High Street.
Love cheese? Love vodka? Want to taste some cheese & sample the best Bloody Mary on the planet? Stop here & you absolutely will. You’ll not only get to try & buy their delicious local cheeses (the oak-smoked cheddar is ace by the way), the lovely people at The Godminster Shop will also whip you up a Bloody Mary containing their finest horseradish spirit. Once you’ve tried it, there’s no way you’ll be leaving without a bottle or two. We didn’t anyway!
We couldn’t just walk past the window of Phillips & Skinner without a look inside... not when the window display involves soft toy poodle, lion, swan & badger heads! Open the door & you’ll discover a curiosity shop of eclectic, unusual pieces for the home & vintage finds that've clearly been lovingly chosen. Phillips & Skinner is certainly worth exploring & if you’re looking for a hard to find item, Amelia is definitely the lady to chat to!
Say hello to the heart of the High Street - a stylish, converted Chapel that lives up to the hype. Housing a bakery, wine shop, café, bar & restaurant, there’s also 8 contemporary bedrooms if you fancy staying over. We particularly love it here at night, & there’s nowhere cooler for a glass of red & a pizza straight from the wood-fired oven.
Apart from the pizzas, freshly baked bread, friendly staff, huge high ceilings, awesome wine list (we could go on), our favourite thing is the beautiful glass artwork suspended from the ceiling (oh & the painting of the little & large dog, displayed on the mezzanine level). Check it all out to see if you’ve got as much of a crush on At the Chapel as we clearly have!!
We stumbled across artisan coffee roaster, Bean Shot Coffee, completely by accident & we’re bloody thankful we did! We didn’t know they’d won 'Best Coffee Roaster' in the UK Coffee Shop Awards 2015, beating 60 other roasters to the crown. Well, we do now & we completely understand why. The passion for coffee was obvious from the moment we stepped through the door. The guys roast to precise roasting profiles & I’ve never tasted a smoother cup of decaf. Try their coffee & you’ll be a convert! We totally are.
Don’t miss the Dovecote! Actually, you can’t really. This historic watch tower stands proudly on the top of Lusty Hill (I know!) surveying the town & everything in it. We decided to take a closer look very early on Sunday morning & I’m so glad we forced our slightly hungover arses out of bed. We climbed to the top, met the resident pigeons, nearly got blown away in the wind, but it was totally worth it for the feeling of breezy peace & quiet - as well as the awesome views over the pretty town & surrounding countryside. You feel a bit ‘king of the world’ up there, or like you should shout ‘By the Power of Greyskull’ really loudly - or something less 80’s, maybe.
You can’t really visit Bruton without checking out Hauser & Wirth, where you get an unrivalled experience in art & architecture... all nestled within the beautiful Somerset landscape. As well as the Gallery & Arts Centre, grab a bite to eat at the Roth Bar & Grill, or pop along to one of the regular events for something a little bit out of the ordinary. Last weekend we discovered that eating fermented vegetables & making spoons out of milk is all in a day’s work for The House of Ferment. Minds officially blown!
And for something completely different…
You might think Bruton & cider-fuelled heavy rock in a pitch black warehouse at 3.30 on a Saturday afternoon would never go together. You’d be wrong! This weekend we got exactly that at the Bruton Art Factory, as Zodiac Mindwarp took to the stage against the backdrop of his paintings of Rupert the Bear & Babar the Elephant. Just goes to show, expect the unexpected in Bruton. Know where to look & you might surprise yourself!
Finally, if you’ve read any of our other blogs, you’ll know we normally do a ‘review in 3 words’ at the end. This time, I’m going to break my own rules (I blame the effects of Zodiac Mindwarp!) & do Bruton in five: More than meets the eye.
P.S. The obvious place missing from this bit of writing is Matt’s Kitchen. Two reasons. One: we haven’t been yet & two: Matt doesn't open his kitchen on Saturday or Sunday, so if you’re in Bruton over the weekend you obviously won’t get in :) We’ll be visiting soon though, so watch this space for a blog.
P.P.S. Check out our Instagram for lots more Bruton pics!