Housed in Taunton’s 12th-century castle the Museum of Somerset is a fantastic free attraction to visit with lots to see and learn. I visited last September and enjoyed an hour or two wandering around all the exhibits and immersing myself in Somerset’s history.
The Museum of Somerset is located right in the heart of Taunton which is such a cute little town to wander around, especially in the sunshine. The museum can be easily reached from various car parks and is accessible for wheelchair users too.
Amazingly the museum is free to enter as it is run by the South West Heritage Trust. Of course like any charities, they welcome donations so drop some change you have if you visit as it really is worth it in my eyes!
The Tree of Somerset
I just loved this beautiful sculpture of the tree of Somerset. Apparently, the sculpture is 175 years old which is pretty amazing in itself! It must have taken a lot of love and hard work to make and really is stunning to look at.
Foundation Stones Gallery
After entering the museum the first gallery you come to is entitled Foundation Stones. It displays how Somerset’s landscape was created 400 million years ago and shows the changing climates it experienced.
So apparently this fossil below is the first complete plesiosaur skeleton to be found in Britain for more than a century! Never heard of it myself but it looks pretty cool! Apparently, it was found by a Somerset fisherman in 2003 – it makes you wonder how long it would have been waiting around to be found!
Claiming the Land Gallery
Next up as you follow the downstairs of the museum is the Claiming the Land gallery. This details the history of how people started to farm the land and the beginnings of human dwellings in Somerset.
Making Somerset & Discovering Galleries
Heading upstairs you will find the next few galleries called Making Somerset and Discovering. There’s a lot of moody lighting in here which adds to the storytelling of the Anglo-Saxon era in Somerset. The Discovery gallery details Somerset’s landscapes and traditions. There’s certainly a lot to look at and read about too!
Look at all those skulls – they are a bit creepy looking aren’t they!
Going Places Gallery
Next, I explored the Going Places gallery which tells you all about Somerset after 1750 and the introduction of transport. It was cool to look at all the old-fashioned bikes – can you imagine ever riding a penny farthing – looks like it would have been impossible!
Another dark and moody gallery is one that tells the story of the rebellious reputation Somerset had in the 17th century. It details stories from the Monmouth Rebellion and the Civil War. The models were a bit creepy in here!
Growing up in Somerset Exhibition
The museum often has lots of changing exhibitions and events. You can check them out on their website to find out what’s on. When I visited there was an excellent exhibition called Growing up in Somerset which was all about what life was like growing up in the county. There was information on going to school, what toys people enjoyed and general day to day living in Somerset.
I always love going to museums and exhibitions like this as I can imagine what my life would have been liked decades ago and compare how different it would have been to my childhood.
I’ll admit that despite being on my own I did sit down a have a quick go on Mario Kart – I mean who can resist?
There was also a lovely section displaying photos from Stanley Kenyon. The World Before Yesterday display showed copious amounts of photos taken between the 1930s-1970s. The pictures of local businesses, events and daily Somerset living really brought the exhibition to life.
Somerset Military Museum
Housed with the Museum of Somerset is the Somerset Military Museum. Here visitors can see displays full of military uniforms, weapons, and memorabilia. There are displays and information on Somerset infantry and yeomanry and was really interesting. The museum also explores why soldiers want to fight for their country – something I think is always interesting to consider.
Just look at all those medals! Quite the collection!
After exploring the museum it was time for some lunch. I grabbed a bite to eat in The Castle Cafe. There was lots to choose from including cakes, afternoon teas, and homemade lunches. I enjoyed a ham and cheese toasted sandwich with a can of fizz and sat outside in the castle courtyard.
I had a really good visit to the Museum of Somerset and would certainly recommend it to people visiting the Taunton area. It’s free to enter and you can certainly spend at least an hour or so exploring all the different galleries and exhibitions. The shop and cafe are nice too and it seems like a great place to amuse children for a while! I particularly enjoyed the Growing Up in Somerset exhibition and seeing the amazing Tree of Somerset. Highly recommend!
After spending a comfy night at The Fernery B&B in Lynton I decided to explore the Valley of the Rocks which had been recommended to me by host Jo from the B&B. A short walk from the B&B through the town of Lynton and you find yourself at the start of a lovely coastal walk to see the Valley of the Rocks.
It was a lovely warm September day enabling perfect exploring and walking conditions. I hadn’t heard of the Valley of the Rocks and so was intrigued as to how this piece of North Devon coast got its name and what I was about to see. I enjoyed seeing the views over Lynmouth and see where I had had my fish and chip dinner the night before!
It was cool to pass by some of the Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway which I travelled on the night before. It’s not a long journey down to Lynmouth but nice to give people a wave as they make there way down the cliff!
The tarmac path is super easy to follow and I think would be suitable for wheelchair users and pushchairs. There’s plenty of benches situated along the path which are handy for taking a quick rest if needs be and soaking up the views out to sea.
The rugged cliffs and rocks are quite a cool sight – I love their formations and how dramatic they look overhanging the cliff tops.
Lots of feral goats can be seen chilling on the cliffside and going about their daily lives. I couldn’t help but stop and watch them; wondering how their small, skinny legs stop them from falling down the steep cliffs!
There were some super awesome views from this part of the South West Coastal Path – I only wish the weather had been a bit sunnier and clearer so I could have seen further out to sea.
Unfortunately, towards the end of my walk, it started to rain and I had to retreat rather quickly and finish the loop returning to the village of Lynton. I really loved the bit of coastline and the jagged cliffs. A walk to extend and come back to one day soon I think!
Back in September, I went on a lovely solo trip around the South West of England exploring some of Devon, Somerset and Dorset’s best spots. My first stop was to the lovely town on Lynton in North Devon where I stayed at The Fernery B&B.
Welcome to The Fernery
I arrived in Lynton and found some free roadside parking then headed slightly uphill to the B&B. I was greeted by host Jo who showed me to my room. It was a lovely double room with ensuite shower room.
The usual tea and coffee tray was included with bottles of water and some nice biscuits. Jo was helpful in showing me a map of Lynton and pointing out the best places to eat for dinner. My room overlooked the cute little garden too which was nice.
The Fernery is called the Fernery as apparently, it used to be one! On the B&B’s website, it states how it used to be a “prominent local retailer of the Victorian’s favourite foilage”. So there you go – I love staying somewhere with a little bit of history and character.
The location of The Fernery is right in the centre of the quaint town of Lynton and it was easy for me to walk to all the nearby shops, cafes and restaurants. I was also able to walk to the infamous Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway which is a cute water powered railway connecting the towns of Lynton and Lynmouth. I took a ride on the cliff railway down to Lynmouth where I enjoyed fish and chips in the harbour.
The Fernery is also a great location for getting outdoors and exploring the coast. I took a walk to see the Valley of the Rocks and was lucky enough to see some lovely coastal views and the sheep and goats that reside on the hills. It did end up raining though, which I stupidly wasn’t prepared for so had to stop off at the funky Charlie Friday’s Coffee Shop in Lynton for a hot chocolate to warm myself up! Of course, the villages of Porlock, Ilfracombe and Croyde are all within driving distance and the stunning Exmoor National Park too.
Breakfast was a very tasty affair. Served in the dining room which has loads of leaflets and travel books, breakfast was a full English served with tea and juice. Fruit salad, yoghurt and cereals were available too so I was certainly set up for the day! There are only three rooms at the Ferenry so there’s a nice quiet feel to it and allows for a very perosnal breakfast experience.
I would really recommend The Fernery B&B for a clean, comfy and welcoming stay in Lynton. It’s perfectly located to explore Lynton, Lynmouth and the rest of North Devon and I would certainly return again!
I paid £48 for my double room in the middle of September and booked via booking.com which I use all the time for booking accommodation as it’s so easy and gives you some great deals!
Have you heard about the awesome, quirky and fun nights at the museum The Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter, Devon are holding? If not then read on to hear about our night at the museum and see what we got up to at the first ever ‘RAMM Lates’ event!
Exploring the Museum After Dark
Back in February, we were invited to the first of the RAMM Lates events and my friend Charlie and I had an interesting night full of culture, music, art and history. Despite it having been on my bucket list since I moved to Devon, I hadn’t yet made it to The Royal Albert Memorial Museum and so was I was delighted to be asked to attend the first of these special events. I have always loved visiting museums; something I did a lot as a child. Still today I always look out for museums when I am visiting somewhere new. What I liked about the sound of the RAMM is the range of exhibits on display and the various changing exhibitions they hold. With the invite to the event promising a chance to explore the museusm, along with live music, dance performances and a cocktail or two I just couldn’t wait!
Upon entry to the museum, we were greeted warmly by staff and given a museum map and list of events for the night. Charlie and I decided to first explore the museum which was so interesting and excellent to explore with fewer people around! We loved reading about the history of Exeter and Devon and seeing all the animal exhibits on show. There was so much to look at and read we could have spent hours perrusing the displays!
One of the most interesting and captivating exhibits for me is the one with the huge lifesize animals – all created from real animal bones /skins. Some of them were so old it just blew my mind, especially given their excellent condition. It really gives you an idea of how big some of our wild animals are – especially elephants and giraffes!
There’s a lot of taxidermy in the museum which may not be to everyone’s taste, but we saw so many different species of animals – some of which we don’t think we had ever seen before. There’s lots to learn about all the animals too with facts to read and interesting information about the animals habitats and countires of origin.
The RAMM Lates promise lots of fun entertainment and we certainly enjoyed the range on offer. I stood for quite a while watching this entertainer with her crystal ball – it was strangely mesmerising actually!
We saw a really cool breakdancing performance performed by the University of Exeter Breakdancing Society. The dancing was accompanied by some live singing by a choir which was really uplifting and catchy too!
Live jazz music was provided too and we enjoyed watching the band play their funky instruments and had a little boogie!
As part of the RAMM Lates there is the opportunity for guests to get involved in some activities. We definitely made the most of these and gave lots a go. I am not usually someone that is easily creative, although I do always find arts and crafts really therapeutic! Of course my scrapbooks used to be my creative outlet before it all became too much and I switched to a more modern scrapbooking mode – this blog!
We had a go at tile printing with the Double Elephant Print Workshop. Here, we were able to use an old fashioned printing press to make our prints – something new for both of us!
We gave weaving a go too – another new experience. I found this really pleasing and I bet it would be such a therapeutic activity to get involved with – maybe when I find some spare time…!
Finally, our last activity was inspired by the current eye-popping exhibition: Criminal Ornamentation. We grabbed our materials and settled down to get crafting and making some greetings cards. I found myself getting lost in the creating and for a brief while totally forgot where I was! I love it when that happens – I think that’s the power of art and crafts! I was quite impressed with our creations – not sure they would make it into the brilliant exhibition though! Make sure to check out the RAMM Instagram page to see more of the proper exhibition!
Final Thoughts and Further Info
We had a really fun night at The Royal Albert Memorial Museum at their first RAMM Lates event. We enjoyed the mix of activities and performances and the chance to take a look around the museum at night. There’s something a bit exciting and special about visiting a museum after hours and there was a real arty and cultural vibe – a different sort of Friday night for me!
There’s lots to see and do and for only £5 a ticket I think it is well worth the price! You can find more information about the museum and upcoming events here. Thank you for having us RAMM – I am sure it won’t be our last visit!
***Our tickets to the RAMM Lates even were gifted to us on a complimentary basis. All thoughts, pictures and opinions are entirely my own. ***
We were lucky enough to be invited to the ‘first look’ media preview at The Coombe Cellars in Combeinteignhead, Newton Abbot and what a night it was! The Devonshire pub has recently undergone a stunning new refurbishment and we were invited to not only see the stylish new interiors but to sample the delicious menu too. Cosy, comfy and contemporary design, tasty food and scrumptious cocktails – what more could we want from a weekday Wednesday night?! I’ll take you through our evening, course by course, so you can hear all about the new refurbishment and our awesome experience at The Coombe Cellars.
I have never been to The Coombe Cellars before and so wasn’t quite sure what to expect. After driving through some crazy fog on a very miserable February evening we arrived at the waterfront, premium pub and restaurant and were immediately impressed with the interior design.
We were warmly greeted by the waiting staff and shown to the bar area. Here, the were lovely and enthusiastic bar staff were waiting to take our drinks orders and showed us to the fashionable looking gin bar. Neither Nathan or I actually like gin so we didn’t partake in this, however, I wasted no time in trying the house rose wine – delicious!
We walked around for a little bit, soaking up the bars funky new atmosphere and cosy fires. Once we found a spot we liked, right next to the instagramable flower wall, we took a seat and were presented with our first food course.
Oh my goodness the selection of canapes were just to die for! There was so much for us to try including fish, meat and veggie dishes – something for everyone! We particularly enjoyed the mini fishcake, deep fried brie and lamb kofta. I really enjoyed the salt and pepper squid too – something I wouldn’t usually go for.
All of the canapes were miniatures of the starters available on the main menu and were so tasty. As we gobbled them up our excitement grew for what was to come – and we were not disappointed!
Starters for Two
After finishing up our canapes, it was time for us to be seated in the restaurant. We were shown to our table by the general manager David, who told us all about the refurbishment. We just loved the look of the dining area – soft lighting, matching tones of blues and greens and big wooden tables. It all made for a very romantic feel and we commented on how this would be a great place for a special date night.
We sat admiring the decor and wondering what views the huge windows overlooking the sea would look like if it hadn’t been so dark – we made a vow to come back and check out the views one summers lunchtime. Be sure to check out The Coombe Cellars Instagram page to get a sneak peek of the views!
There was a real buzz in the atmosphere as we watched people trying new foods, celebrating the event and some trying just that little bit too hard to get the “right Instagram pic”. The a la carte menu had such a great range of food and there was even a full vegan menu for those that way inclined. It took us quite a while to decide what to order as there was just too much choice and too many options that took our fancy – not really a hardship and a good reason for us to come back another time to try some other dishes! Here’s a link to the menus so you can have a peruse and see what you would choose!
Our starters were super tasty with Nathan opting for the crispy karaage chicken. This was really yummy and slightly spicy when dipped in the sauce. Nathan enjoyed the fancy salad too!
Having enjoyed the sample on the canape plate I just had to go for the deep fried brie. Wow, a huge crispy coated slice of brie, all warm and delicious! My perfect starter made even better mixed with some salsa and greens. I think I ate it all without pausing for breath!
We were lucky enough to be able to try lots of different drinks throughout the night including some classic cocktails. I really enjoyed my raspberry mule – a perfect combo with the brie I think!
The Main Event
Our mains arrived swiftly and were beautifully presented. I had chosen the pork belly – a favourite of mine whenever I am out for dinner. If I see it on the menu you can 99.9% guarantee I will choose it! It was accompanied by some green beans, dauphinoise potatoes and almonds. So tasty – perfectly cooked and a winner in my eyes!
Nathan, apparently following a chicken-themed meal, chose the classic spitroast chicken. It came with fries, gravy and garlic aioli – simple yet effective! It was really tasty, well cooked and Nathan ate every morsel!
To accompany our mains we opted for a traditional mojito and a peach bellini – definitely my favourite from the night! I could have drunk a few more of the bellinis I think!
Now, anyone that knows us, knows Nathan and I are pudding people! We loved a good old dessert and for me, it is often the highlight of a meal. Did we save the best till last? I think so!
As soon as I saw it on the menu I just had to go for the melting chocolate and peanut bomb – who can resist that amazing sounding combination! Brought to the table whole and then drizzled with a hot, sticky chocolate sauce, we watched the ‘bomb’ dissipate in front of our eyes, ready for me to devour it! As well as tasting delicious, I thought the presentation was superb too and very pretty with the edible flowers.
Nathan, like me, has a rather sweet tooth and is a sucker for a chocolate dessert. He opted for the chocolate brownie which was served with smooth vanilla ice cream. Despite being quite full from all the other food, he managed to scoff this down within what felt like seconds – I blinked and it was gone – a sign of a good brownie!
We enjoyed some after dinner drinks too. I haven’t had an espresso martini for years so really enjoyed indulging in one. Nathan was the designated driver so settled for a rich hot chocolate – a great end to a truly scrumptious meal.
We both really enjoyed our meal at The Coombe Cellars – a real gem of a Devon pub in my eyes. Part of the Mitchells and Butlers Premium Country Pubs range it offers locally sourced produce and relaxing and opulent interiors, all located in a waterside, rural location – the perfect escape from everyday life! I can imagine the views from the restaurant’s large windows are beautiful in the daytime. I can’t wait to return one sunny lunchtime to sit outside and eat al fresco.
We loved the menu – everything we sampled was super tasty, well cooked and stylishly presented. We enjoyed all the drinks, especially the extensive cocktail selection. Whilst our dinner was provided to us on a complimentary basis, I made sure to check out the prices and I believe them to be very reasonable given the quality and taste.
The staff were really friendly, chatty and happy to answer any questions about the refurbishment or the menu. We enjoyed chatting with them and we felt very well looked after. Make sure to check out the pub’s Facebook page for special events and seasonal menus.
Finally, we really enjoyed the new look – it had a really relaxed and cosy vibe and would be perfect for a chilled lunch with friends or a romantic date night with a loved one. Thanks so much for having us – we will certainly be back!
***Our dinner and drinks were provided to us on a complimentary basis in return for this review. All thoughts, opinions and pictures are my own ***