Top places to live in Somerset Ilminster
Sleepy Somerset market town which just happens to house the HQ (with shop and bar) of one of the UK's top designers. Part of our Top 200 Places to Live series.
A sleepy, unspoiled Somerset market town close to the Devon border, with an attractive Market Square, lots of indies, surrounded by gorgeous countryside and not far from the sea… what’s not to like?
Coffee by day, cocktails and wine by night at The Somerset, Alice Temperley’s chic bar – a winning combo. Relaxed finer dining at Todays Menu. For vintage, antiques, books and homemade food try No 57 cafe or the excellent The Old Calf Shed at Jordans Courtyard. Laid back nearby foodie pubs include The Barrington Boar in Barrington, The Candelight Inn in Bishopswood, The Cotley Inn in Wambrook and The Lord Poulett Arms in Hinton St George.
There’s an eclectic selection of indies set around the old Market Square, with trad Bonner’s butchers and deli, ironmongers, vintage and gift stores and more, as well as a big supermarket (and Waitrose in nearby Crewkerne). Gorgeous garb – current collection and archive – can be snapped up from Alice Temperley in the Phoenix Studios (this is her hometown). Cottage Flowers is perfect for the best blooms or try the weekly market in town. Artisan weaver Fruitbat Textiles at Rose Mills is fab for gifts and interior buys. Or for the whole shebang – lovely lunches, homewares, yoga and wellness sessions, beauty treatments, and bridalwear, head to Jordans Courtyard on the edge of town.
The Meeting House Arts Centre has live music, exhibitions, workshops and a licensed cafe. Hamstone Tudor manor house and gardens at National Trust Barrington Court is worth a visit. And there’s the working cider mill, Perry’s Cider for a tipple and education on cider making. If you want walks you’re spoilt for choice with routes in the countryside and by the sea. The Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Jurassic Coast are both within easy reach. The annual illuminated carnival (a unique Somerset tradition) is a popular event with locals and visitors.
AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE
Last year the average house price was £318,877, with detached properties fetching an average of £400,638, semis £255,274 and terraced £234,324.
State schools include the ‘outstanding’ Greenfylde primary and Holyrood Academy in Chard. Private options: Queen’s College Taunton, Taunton School and King’s Taunton are all about half an hour’s drive away.
BEST KEPT SECRET
The Ilminster beacon was one of the beacons lit up around the world as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. And another tip… dino lovers keep your eyes peeled – there are Jurassic fossils hidden in amongst the rocks on the coast.
To London Waterloo in 2 hours 30 mins from Crewkerne station (7 miles) or to London Paddington from 1 hour 40 mins from Taunton station (13 miles).
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