From an unlikely outpost of one of the world’s spangliest art galleries to one of England’s finest gardens, your South Somerset itinerary is sorted
Hauser & Wirth
Bruton was already on its way to national renown before Hauser & Wirth rocked up, but the arrival of one of the world’s most prestigious commercial art galleries certainly sped things along. Since it opened in 2014, the sprawling complex has become a destination in its own right. As well as the gallery, which has staged shows from many of Hauser & Wirth’s stable of international talent, among them Matthew Day Jackson and Takesada Matsutani, there’s a terrific restaurant, the Roth Bar & Grill, the Durslade Farm Shop and a glorious Piet Oudolf-designed garden. Over on Bruton High Street in a Georgian townhouse, there’s also a standalone Make Hauser & Wirth which showcases the work of artisans and is also worth a visit.
Durslade Farm, Dropping Lane, Bruton; hauserwirth.com
Stourhead House & Gardens
The bulk of the grounds may be in Wiltshire, but there’s enough of it in Somerset to justify inclusion here, particularly when it’s so easy to reach from Bruton and Frome. The Palladian house is full of treasures but the real draw here is the garden, one of the finest in England. Highlights include temples dedicated to Apollo and Flora, and the view across the lake which is particularly thrilling with its autumnal colour. From Stourhead you can walk a lovely two-hour loop via an Iron Age hill fort and King Alfred’s Tower, a folly said to mark the spot where Alfred the Great rallied his troops in 878.
Stourhead, Mere, Wilshire; nationaltrust.org.uk/stourhead
The Frome Independent Market
On the first Sunday of every month Frome town centre is transformed into an enormous open-air artisanal emporium with hundreds of stalls from the region’s best makers. Expect blankets from Bath, essential oils from lavender grown in the Mendips and natural soaps from Somerset. And there’s sumptuous street food of all stripes: craft cider trucks, elevated scotch eggs, high-end crumpets. Once you’ve filled your totes to overflowing, head to Bar Lotte for its special after-market evening drinks.
The Frome Independent Market, 6B Palmer Street, Frome; thefromeindependent.org.uk