Somerset Day – 12 things I love about Somerset

Today, May 11th, is the first ever Somerset Day. Somerset Day has been established to celebrate everything that is wonderful about Somerset; it’s not just that place you drive through on your way to Cornwall you know.

I have lived in Somerset since I was eight years old, aside from my brief fling with Bristol, in a total of 18 different houses. Even though I loved living in Bristol, and had dreamt about it for years, I still felt nostalgic for what I consider my home county. What’s not to love about a country that includes historic cities like Bath, iconic towns such as Glastonbury, beautiful countryside and coastline?

For me though, the things I love about Somerset are more personal, like the drive over the hills between Taunton and Bridgwater. I must have made the journey hundreds of times and yet it still has something special about it. Every single time I drive it I think of my Gran, driving every Saturday morning from her home in Bridgwater to go to Taunton. She would visit the library, (she loved crime fiction) and Marks & Spencer, (she always had a little stack of their rich tea fingers in the morning), before going for coffee in the County Stores. She’d then drive back across the hills, stopping on the way at Hawkridge reservoir for a while to look at the view.

My Gran died over ten years ago now but I do miss her often. We spent a lot of time with her but I still feel guilty about the time I bumped into her in Taunton one Saturday morning, outside Clintons, when she was on her way to the County Stores. She had her library books already and asked me if I wanted to go and join her for her coffee. I must have been about 20, and would have had a small Bee with me, and when you’re 20, having coffee with your Gran isn’t always the top of your list, so I made my excuses and went about my shopping. It’s silly I know, but I still feel bad about that, and I hope she knows that if I bumped into her now I would definitely stop for coffee.

Slightly melancholy story aside, there are lots of other things I love about Somerset, so to celebrate Somerset Day, here are some of them:

  • Both of my children were conceived and born here, in Musgrove Park Hospital. (The birth bit, not the conception, I don’t have some weird hospital fetish).
  • I went to school here, and college, and even the first year of my degree course was done at Bridgwater College. I basically did all of my growing up here – good bits and bad – I don’t really remember living anywhere else as a child.
  • Fair and carnival, obviously.
  • I met my boyfriend here. (Ahhh!)
  • I have roots here. Both my parents were born in Somerset and all of my grandparents died here. My Grandma and Grandad built their own house in Bridgwater back in around 1951 and they lived in it for the rest of their lives, until a few years ago.
  • All of my memories of my sister Annabel are Somerset based; all of the games we played, tunnels we made under beds, the time we turned our bunk beds into a slide – it’s all in Somerset.
  • I was living in Somerset when I quit full time employment and decided I was going to work for myself. It was the WHSmiths in Bridgwater that I visited to copy down the email addresses of hundreds of magazine editors, so I could tell them I was a writer now and to ask them what they would like me to write.
  • I made all of my best friends in Somerset, picking them up along the way in school, college and then later at breastfeeding group and in work. Like my friend Jo, who I did A-levels with. My oldest friend Nicky and I liked the look of her when we started college so just plonked ourselves down next to her in our first lesson. “Do you want to be our friend?” we asked. “Sure,” she said. And the rest is history.
  • The cottage industries and the people who are a little on the eccentric side – have you ever been to the Bakelite Museum in Williton? I rest my case.
  • I learnt to drive here, practising my 3 point turns on the wide roads around the back of Asda in Taunton.
  • I had my first kiss here – behind a bush in the playground when I was eight, with two friends keeping guard.
  • Waking up to weird and wonderful stories from around the county on BBC Somerset and the top class radio journalism that is Ben McGrail.

What do you love about Somerset?





  1. 11 May, 2015 / 9:23 am

    For me, Somerset is where I got married, so it’s always going to be a pretty important place.

  2. 11 May, 2015 / 1:13 pm

    My spiritual home, my new love and the best place to bring up my babies. I love the landscapes, the sky, the people and the pace.

  3. 11 May, 2015 / 4:50 pm

    How lovely to feel so rooted in somewhere! I don’t know Somerset too well other than going to a friends wedding there, and a fair few childhood trips to Bath (which is such a beautiful city) when I used to live in Newbury but I’m hoping to explore more areas of the UK as we take more doggy-friendly holidays so shall add Somerset to my list!

    • Jo Middleton
      11 May, 2015 / 4:58 pm

      Ooh, if you’re looking for doggy friendly holidays I’d definitely recommend Ladram Bay – Devon rather than Somerset but still. We also went to a place called Ston Easton recently which was FAB and doggy friendly if you are looking to splash the cash.

      • 11 May, 2015 / 5:05 pm

        Thanks so much for the tips, I’ll check those out! X

  4. 11 May, 2015 / 5:06 pm

    I like you have many memories and reasons why I love Somerset, I shall share them if you will permit me!

    1. I too, grew up here, village primary school, secondary and sixth form all at Chard

    2. I trained at Frome before transferring to Yeovil and then finally back to Ilminster to serve the community I grew up in.

    3. There’s nothing more magical than in the autumn, driving across from Butliegh towards Glastonbury as the sun rises and the mist is low to the ground, the sunlight catching on the Tor.

    4. I got married here, my kids too born at Yeovil and Taunton.

    5. My first kiss on a bench in Vivary Park (classy I know)

    6. The Somerset County Youth Choir where I made friends I still have today!

    Nowhere else in England feels like Somerset. Like home!

  5. 11 May, 2015 / 6:57 pm

    Ah I love how much you love it, I kind of have to admit though that I really want to move. I have good memories of growing up in Glastonbury but I hate where I live now with a passion. I’m literally driving up to Bristol about 4 times a week at the moment just be able to do something! There are some bits I like though, there are lots of national trust places… Mr C on the other hand loves it, he grew up in a village and has never really lived anywhere else whereas before moving to Glastonbury we lived in lots of other places and my family all live further up north where I was born so that feels more like my home. Sorry for this essay!! x

  6. Jonet Middleton
    11 May, 2015 / 8:19 pm

    Hi, don’t feel guilty, you gave her an enormous amount of pleasure, more than anything else I think! I miss her too – her comments on two engagements in as many weeks would have been interesting!! Love Mummy xx

  7. Louis
    11 May, 2015 / 8:54 pm


  8. Lucy
    11 May, 2015 / 10:42 pm

    I love how Somerset is SO green but even after living here for 13 years I don’t feel that I know it! e.g. I don’t even KNOW the route to Bridgwater over the hills. How embarassing, when I work there… It sounds lovely! I want to know it!!!

    I also turned down my Grandma for lunch when I was about 20 and not very well. I still feel awful about that too. Daft I know.

    • Jo Middleton
      12 May, 2015 / 3:37 pm

      You’ve never driven over the hills to Bridgwater??!!! I am shocked.

      Drive out the top of Taunton towards Kingston St Mary and just follow the road until you come up at the top (after about 10-15 minutes) and the crossroads by the Pines Cafe. Then just go straight across (down the right hand side of the Pines) and down the other side – follow the road through Enmore, past Durleigh reservoir and then turn right out onto the top of Durleigh Road. Follow this and you’ll end up at the traffic lights in the centre of town.

  9. 12 May, 2015 / 10:22 am

    You had me at Glasto (and Bath). I will concede that Somerset is pretty darn groovy (but so far away from us sadly).

  10. 12 May, 2015 / 6:08 pm

    Gosh, where to start? Frome? Wells? Glastonbury? The Somerset levels? The pubs? The Cider? The delicious countryside? Feel lucky to live a stone’s throw from it all!

  11. Jo
    12 May, 2015 / 10:02 pm

    Ahhhh, how could I not comment, I’m very pleased you ‘liked the look’ of me, how differently things would have turned out if I’d have said ‘no go away’ xxx

  12. 14 May, 2015 / 2:01 am

    Do you know I have never, ever been to Somerset! What a Travesty! Need to sort that out right away… well… when we are next in the UK obvs x

  13. 17 May, 2015 / 11:05 pm

    Wow sounds like you have some amazing memories from this part of the world and it’s clearly played a huge part in your life – I do love Somerset and there is so much it offers, so much to see

    Laura x

  14. 19 May, 2015 / 8:46 am

    i still can’t believe that i’ve never been to somerset!

  15. Anne Wallwin
    22 July, 2015 / 1:11 pm

    we had our first holiday in somerset last year and i loved it! So much pretty countryside and amazing views.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.