Life & Style

Somerset’s Secret Address Book

With Somerset established as the new style mecca, we asked Tobias Vernon for an insider’s tour. The interior designer chose this creative county for the second outpost of his gallery/store 8 Holland Street, making him the go-to guide to West Country cool.

Image: The Newt

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WHERE TO STAY

The Talbot Inn, Mells

My local, this picture perfect old coaching house is the ideal spot to stay, eat, drink and experience the beautiful village of Mells. Great for a pint of Guinness or a Negroni alike, eat in the cosy dining rooms or book a room overlooking the cobbled courtyard.

Book here

Babington House, Nr. Mells

Soho house’s first rural outpost and still my favourite. I’m always there for a morning swim, a massage in the original Cowshed spa or for drinks on the lawn. Find out more

The Newt, Nr. Castle Cary

Sister to Babylonstoren in South Africa, The Farmyard is perfect for an indulgent weekend. Visit the gardens and don’t leave without a bottle of Babylonstoren chardonnay from the Farm Shop. Book here

Durslade Farmhouse, Bruton

A six-bedroom farmhouse at Hauser & Wirth Somerset, this unique renovation project is full of character and innovative twists on the classic farmhouse. Think original fittings, vintage furniture and art installations by Paul McCarthy, Guillermo Kuitca and more. Bring a bunch of friends and stay for the weekend. Book here

8 Holland Street, Bath

Watch this space for our new opening in Bath, complete with a rentable curated apartment in which to immerse yourself in the 8 Holland Street aesthetic. We can’t wait to share more details…

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Osip, image: The Modern House

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The Newt, image: Rich Stapleton

WHERE TO EAT

Castle Farm, Midford, Nr. Bath

Set in an artfully disheveled barn with a working kitchen garden, chef Pravin Nayar and his fab team serve up the best breakfasts, brunches and lunches, together with a not-to-be-missed Friday curry night. Arrive hungry and order everything! Book online

Osip, Bruton

Merlin Labron-Johnson’s tiny farm-to-table restaurant is chilled but with a Michelin star. Buy ingredients next door at their provisions store, The Old Pharmacy (the most delicious rice pudding, blood orange compote or perfectly wonky vegetables). Book online

Roth Bar & Grill, Bruton

Housed in the old cowshed of Durslade Farm (Hauser & Wirth), a visit this farm-to-fork practice is a treat, whether you’re there for brunch, lunch or dinner (for breakfast, I recommend their frothy fennel juice with a bacon brioche roll). As to be expected from this H&W venue, the walls are brimming with visual treats, from Henry Moore’s drawing of lobster claws to contemporary pieces from the Wirth’s private collection. Not to be missed. Book online

Landrace Bakery, Bath

Run by art historian turned cheese buyer turned master baker Andrew Lowkes and his team, this is the place to go for handmade bread from stoneground grains, as well as groceries, coffee and takeaway items. Find out more

Hesperian, Frome

Eat on the benches outside or order a takeaway from this fishmonger and seafood kitchen serving sustainably sourced fish. Don’t forget to visit Frome Reclamation around the corner! Find out more

Bradley Hare, Maiden Bradley

A new opening, set within the historic grounds of the Duchy of Somerset’s estate, visit this village pub for a pint of local ale and lunch in their 19th-century dining rooms. Especially cosy next to their roaring fires in the colder months. Book online

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The Bradley Hare

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Durslade Farmhouse

WHERE TO SHOP

8 Holland Street General Store, Mells

Housed in an old stone barn next to The Talbot Inn, this is our take on the traditional village shop, with a focus on homewares, ceramics, tablewares and more. Soon to stock Vibi Venezia slippers, Bella Freud candles and Leach Standard Ware. 8hollandstreet.com

Lulu at Babington, Babington House

Fashion editor Lulu Fry runs her boutique in the grounds of Babington House with a fantastic eye, offering a treasure trove of lustworthy pieces and unusual finds. @luluatbabington

Green Park Station Antiques Market, Bath

Hosted on the last Sunday of each month under the glass roof of the old Green Park Station, go hunting for antiques, sculptures, curiosities and gardenalia. greenparkstation.co.uk

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8 Holland Street

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8 Holland Street

China House, Mells

Say hi to our wonderful neighbour Didi, who displays a wide collection of china, antique finds and glass outside her cottage in Mells. chinahousemells.co.uk

Francis Gallery, Bath

Created by Rosa Parks of Cereal Magazine, this exquisitely designed space features an understated display of contemporary work by international artists, informed by Korean aesthetics. Recent exhibitions included Ben Nicholson, John Zabawa and Paul Philp. You’ll leave wanting everything, from ceramics to drawings, prints and etchings. Dogs are also very welcome. francisgallery.co

Caro, Bruton

You’ll find homewares, accessories and design at Natalie Jones’ delightful store, which comes complete with a wonderfully designed B&B space to stay… carosomerset.com

Toppings Book Shop, Bath

My favourite independent bookseller, Toppings boasts oiled wooden floors, globe lights and rolling library ladders, free tea and coffee and helpful staff. It’s the perfect place to stock up on holiday reading. toppingbooks.co.uk

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Hauser & Wirth

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Francis Gallery, image: Rory Gardiner

WHERE TO VISIT AND WHAT TO SEE

Stoney Littleton Long Barrow

A Neolithic long barrow (burial mound) with brilliant walks around the nearby village of Wellow, where you can stop for a pint in the Fox & Badger! Read more

Walled Garden, Mells

In the 1500s, this nursery and garden cafe was a site of a monastery belonging to Glastonbury Abbey. Enjoy a pizza from their stone oven in the outdoor cafe and return home with a boatload of plants for the garden. Read more

Frome Independent Market

This town booms on the first Sunday of each month with the sprawling Frome Independent Market. You’ll find fledgling and established artists and makers, local seasonal food and drink producers, vintage fashion, collectibles and furniture. Read more

Royal Crescent, Circus, Queen Square and Georgian Bath

One of my favourite things to do is wander around Bath, taking in the stunning Georgian architecture. Take a picnic to the lawns, rent a deckchair and marvel at the brainchild of John Wood, master architect and genius town planner. For a longer walk and incredible views follow the Bath skyline around the city. Read more

Hauser & Wirth, Bruton

Hauser & Wirth’s countryside outpost is the gallery and multipurpose arts centre nestled in the Somerset countryside. With an immersive artist-in-residence programme, the display is ever-changing and always exciting. Don’t forget to take a walk around their garden, designed by landscape architect Piet Oudolf. Read more

Stourhead garden, Wiltshire

The most stunning example of 18th-century English landscape gardening, this is a delightful place to wander and admire flora and fauna, as well as tucked bridges, grottoes and temples. Visit in summer when the rhododendrons are in full bloom. Read more

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