12 of the Best Taunton Visitor Attractions

Taunton, is a town brimming with hidden treasures and delightful experiences.

In this guide, we’ll be exploring some of the best things to do in Taunton and the local area, from serene gardens to immersive museums. 

With any luck, you’ll be able to put together a fantastic travel itinerary that takes in all of the major Taunton attractions.

1. Explore Taunton Castle and the Museum of Somerset

Taunton Castle and Museum

Photo: swheritage.org.uk

Taunton Castle is a remarkable example of Norman architecture dating back to the 12th centur that’s set in middle of Taunton.

As you navigate through the fortified structure, pay attention to its historical grandeur, in particular, the Great Hall. 

Within the castle, you’ll find the Museum of Somerset, a treasure trove of regional history.The museum houses ten galleries filled with over 3,000 artefacts.

Notable exhibits include the ‘Frome Hoard’, the largest collection of Roman coins ever discovered in Britain and the ‘Somerset Military Museum’, dedicated to the regiments of Somerset.

Explore the castle grounds, adorned with beautiful landscaped gardens offering a quiet retreat.

But bear in mind, the terrain can be uneven, so wear comfortable shoes.

After your exploration, consider stopping by the Castle Café for a bite to eat.

A worth opening entry in our guide to 12 of the best things to do in Taunton.

2. Escape to Vivary Park

Next on our Taunton travel guide is Vivary Park, an emerald haven located right in the middle of town.

Set over 7.5 hectares, the park showcases some stunning flower beds, charming old trees and vast open spaces – the perfect backdrop for a peaceful walk or a delightful picnic.

The park also includes a 18-hole golf course, tennis courts and a miniature golf course. Younger visitors will love the two dedicated play areas, kitted out with modern, safe play structures that cater to various age groups.

A highlight for many is the renowned Vivary Adventure Centre, boasting challenging high ropes and climbing walls – and yes, more mini-golf.

In the summer, the park takes on a new life with a burst of colour from the meticulously maintained flower beds, a mixture of perennials and annuals that will captivate any gardening enthusiast.

Feed the ducks at the ornamental pond, or take a seat on one of the many benches dotted around, absorbing the serenity while watching the world pass by.

3. Discover French Weir Park

Discover the peaceful allure of French Weir Park, a hidden gem tucked away near the heart of Taunton.

As you enter the park, you’re serenaded by the gentle whispers of the River Tone, a delightful waterway that gracefully weaves its way through the park, enhancing its pastoral ambiance.

Enjoy exploring the extensive network of well-maintained footpaths, ideal for unhurried walks or brisk runs.

Keep an eye out for the local fauna residing in the park’s diverse ecosystems, including leafy woods, verdant meadows and the tranquil riverside.

The park boasts a play zone for children, table tennis, a petanqui pitch and an outdoor hub.

This offersa range of activities driven by the community, from outdoor fitness classes to engaging environmental learning experiences.

Take the opportunity to have a picnic beside the river.  Pick a sunny riverside spot, lay out your blanket, and bask in the peaceful surroundings.

French Weir Park provides not just a patch of green – it’s a tranquil oasis offering an escape from the rhythm of city life.

4. Enjoy Hestercombe Gardens

As one of the major Taunton historical attractions, Hestercombe Gardens is ahorticultural haven located just a few miles from town.

This unique 50-acre estate showcases three centuries of garden design, all painstakingly preserved for you to explore.

First, step into the tranquil Georgian landscape garden, filled with serene lakes, cascading waterfalls, and quaint thatched follies.

Then, meander through the intricate Edwardian formal gardens, designed by the legendary partnership of Gertrude Jekyll and Sir Edwin Lutyens.

Not to be missed is the Victorian shrubbery, which houses a collection of rare and beautiful plants.

For the little ones, there’s an adventure playground and nature trails waiting to be discovered.

The estate also boasts an art gallery that regularly exhibits works from local and international artists.

After your exploration, consider stopping by the Stables Café or the Column Room Restaurant, where you can enjoy locally sourced dishes or afternoon tea.

Immerse yourself in the exquisite tapestry of history, architecture, and botany that Hestercombe Gardens provides. Each visit offers a unique journey through time, season, and a world of botanical beauty

5. Discover Fyne Court

Discover the allure of Fyne Court, a hidden treasure located in the Quantock Hills near Taunton.

This nature reserve and garden, managed by the National Trust, offers a rich blend of history and natural beauty that is sure to captivate every visitor.

Begin your visit by exploring the wild garden, an informal landscape that has reclaimed the grounds of the historic Crosse family estate.

Unusual trees and shrubs, planted during the estate’s heyday, now blend seamlessly with native flora, creating an enchanting woodland haven.

As you wander, look for remnants of the past, such as the old boathouse and the quirky folly, which offer echoes of the estate’s illustrious past.

Keep your eyes peeled for local wildlife – the grounds are a haven for an array of species including dormice, bats and many types of birds.

Fyne Court also hosts a fascinating exhibition about Andrew Crosse, a pioneer in the field of electricity who once resided here.

The on-site Courtyard Café provides a range of refreshments, perfect for a restful break during your visit.

A Taunton sightseeing exploration just wouldn’t be the same without a visit to this beautiful nature reserve.

6. Visit Sheppy’s Cider Farm and Museum

Sheppy's Cider Farm and Museum

Image: sheppyscider.com

Immerse yourself in the world of traditional cider-making at Sheppy’s Cider Farm and Museum, a family-owned cider farm nestled in the beautiful countryside just outside of Taunton.

This award-winning cider producer offers a delightful mix of heritage, craftsmanship, and delicious tastes.

Start your visit with a self-guided tour of the museum, where you’ll learn about the rich history of cider-making in the region and the Sheppy family’s six generations of expertise.

You’ll see historic cider-making equipment, and get a glimpse into the evolution of the craft through the centuries.

Next, visit the farm shop to browse a selection of artisan products, including their range of ciders, apple juice and local Somerset produce.

Don’t forget to explore the apple orchards, the heart of Sheppy’s cider production, while also paying a visit to the Apple Bay Restaurant and Bar.

You’ll be able to enjoy a locally-sourced meal, not to mention a glass of cider from the farm. Also, check their events calendar for cider tasting events, tours and apple harvesting celebrations.

Sheppy’s Cider Farm and Museum offers an authentic, enjoyable insight into Somerset’s cider-making heritage and is one of our favourite things to do in Taunton.

7. Experience the Somerset Space Walk

Launch into an educational adventure along the Somerset Space Walk, a scale model of the Solar System spanning the beautiful landscapes between Taunton and Bridgwater along the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal.

This unique outdoor exhibit offers an immersive way to appreciate the vastness of our cosmic neighborhood.

As you embark on the 22 km route, you’ll encounter scale models of the planets along the way, placed in their relative distances from the Sun, which is located at the Maunsel Lock Centre.

Marvel at the sheer size of the Solar System as you journey from the Sun to distant Pluto.

Each planetary installation is accompanied by informative signage detailing fascinating facts about the represented planet.

You’ll gain a newfound perspective on the cosmos as you literally walk through space.

Ideal for both walking and cycling, the Space Walk provides a great combination of education and exercise in the beautiful Somerset countryside.

Remember to pack a picnic to enjoy along the canal, taking a break from your interplanetary journey to simply enjoy the natural beauty around you.

The Somerset Space Walk offers a cosmic adventure on earth, turning a simple walk or bike ride into an awe-inspiring voyage through the Solar System.

8. Go to The Willow Cathedral

Venture into the enchanting Willow Cathedral, an organically grown piece of living architecture nestled within the Longrun Meadow in Taunton.

This unique structure, fashioned entirely from willow, stands as the UK’s largest structure of its kind, offering a tranquil retreat amidst nature.

The Cathedral, standing 8 meters high and 15 meters in diameter, is modeled after a traditional place of worship, complete with a spire, a nave, and side aisles.

Within its walls, you’ll be surrounded by a network of living willow rods, woven together and continually growing, creating a calm, ethereal atmosphere.

As you stroll through the Willow Cathedral, take a moment to observe the intricate patterns of the woven willow and the way the light filters through the gaps, casting enchanting shadows.

The cathedral’s location by the River Tone only enhances its tranquil setting.

Whether you’re seeking a peaceful spot for reflection, an unusual piece of natural artwork to admire, or a unique backdrop for photography, the Willow Cathedral is a must-visit.

Its beauty changes with the seasons, from lush green in the summer to a stark, architectural form in winter, offering a different experience with each visit to Taunton.

9. Visit Taunton Farmers’ Market

Enjoy the lively ambiance of Taunton Farmers’ Market which takes place every Thursday in Taunton’s historic town centre.

The market is rooted in over two decades of tradition, bringing together local growers, bakers and craftspeople in a colourful showcase of Somerset’s bounty.

Saunter amidst the vibrant market stalls, you’ll find a rich assortment of the finest produce.

From sun-ripened fruits and crisp vegetables to pasture-raised meats, artisanal breads, homemade preserve and locally brewed beverages, the market is a gastronomic delight.

Each stall is manned by the passionate producers themselves, giving you a chance to engage, ask about their process, and learn the stories behind the food you’re buying.

This is a unique farm-to-table encounter that connects you to the agricultural heart of Somerset.

Also, take the time to browse the artisan stalls, home to a variety of handcrafted wares, unique keepsakes, and regional treats.

Once your shopping is done, treat yourself to a warming cup of coffee and a freshly baked good from one of the market’s food vendors, soaking in the spirited market atmosphere

10. Experience the Somerset Cricket Museum

Embrace the spirit of cricket at Somerset Cricket Museum, located near the County Ground in Taunton.

This specialized museum presents a fascinating journey through the rich history of cricket in Somerset and beyond.

Housed in a 500-year-old Tudor barn, the museum’s collection is brimming with intriguing memorabilia that will captivate cricket fans and history enthusiasts alike.

Artefacts range from old uniforms and equipment to rare photographs, autographs, and personal items from famous players.

The museum places a particular emphasis on the local cricketing history, detailing Somerset County Cricket Club’s journey from its inception in 1875 to the present day.

Discover the stories of legendary Somerset players, their remarkable achievements, and how they have shaped the sport.

Look out for exhibits dedicated to cricket during both World Wars, women’s cricket history, and cricket’s wider impact on British society.

11. Unwind at Longrun Meadow

Unwind in the serene ambiance of Longrun Meadow, an urban oasis nestled amidst the vibrancy of Taunton.

This expansive local nature reserve, spanning 65 acres, serves as a peaceful retreat, teeming with wildlife and verdant beauty, and provides a breath of fresh air within the city limits.

Embark on a tranquil walk along the extensive network of paths, absorbing the picturesque views of the sprawling fields, dense woodlands, and the meandering River Tone that gracefully cuts through the meadow.

Keep a lookout for the diverse bird species that find refuge here, and perhaps catch a glimpse of otters frolicking by the river.

The meadow isn’t merely a sanctuary for nature, but also a vibrant centre for community activities.

It proudly hosts a thriving community orchard, ablaze with blossoms in the spring and brimming with fruit in the autumn. Be sure not to miss the annual apple celebration.

For fitness aficionados, the park hosts a popular parkrun every Saturday morning.

Families, meanwhile, can enjoy a picnic in the designated spots or simply relish the broad, open spaces.

12. See Taunton Minster (St Mary Magdalene Church)

Taunton Minster

Photo: tauntonminster.org

Step into a piece of Taunton’s rich history at Taunton Minster, a magnificent parish church standing tall in the heart of the town that’s one of the most historic Taunton landmarks.

Known for its intricately decorated tower, considered one of the finest examples of a Somerset tower, the church is a masterpiece of medieval architecture.

Constructed mainly in the 15th century, the church showcases stunningly detailed stone carving on the exterior and a vibrant interior enriched with notable features.

Look up to see the beautiful fan-vaulted ceiling, which is adorned with intricate angelic carvings and gilded stars against a deep blue background.

The stained glass windows are a spectacle in themselves, with scenes depicting biblical stories and local history.

Among them, the ‘soldiers’ window‘ stands out, commemorating the Somerset Light Infantry’s service during the First World War.

Explore the unique Jesse tree carving, an intricately designed piece showcasing the family tree of Jesus Christ, or take a moment to appreciate the grandeur of the historic organ, one of the largest in the Southwest.

For more information about some of the best visitor attractions in Taunton, see the official toursim site.

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Dale Shelabarger

Dale is the owner and founder of Cottages to Rent which he launched back in 2005. As well as promoting holiday cottages, Dale blogs regularly about top UK holiday destinations, visitor attractions and places of historical interest.