Considered as one of England’s most idyllic regions for its golden-stone villages and velvet hills, Cotswold preserved all of its picture-book glory with quint pubs tucked in every bend of the Windrush.
Cotswold may be lovely, but it is crowded, expensive and some villages are just an elaboration of what was once there. It has been visited by tourists too many times throughout the year that the experience and prices have inflated.
You could experience the same authenticity further south in the pastoral Somerset, where villages are quieter and ‘cooler’ than Cotswold. In the past years, Somerset has been secretly nurturing trendy little pockets that every discerning traveller should add to their to-do list.
If you are an art lover, make your way to Frome and Bruton just in East Somerset. Frome is a wool town that holds markets and fairs that were held way back in the Middle ages. One of the more famous markets that is held is the monthly Frome Independent, which is beloved by many especially the younger visitors. Its streets are lined with historic buildings but is now most famous for their creative community and independently-run council.
The town is overflowing with crafts, Scandi-inspired homeware and vintage bits such as vintage stores that display lace gowns and knick-knacks. Modern fashion boutiques also share the vintage streets of Cheap street that draw crowds even on non-market days.
Image credit: Nabokov
Bruton, a 12-minute train ride away, the tiny town is place on the map by the opening of the international Hauser & Wirth contemporary art gallery. The gallery utilises old farm buildings surrounded by a working farm, gardens that feature large sculptures and the Roth & Grill—a hotspot for breakfast all throughout dinner.
You can also take a trip to the beautiful nearby village of Mells. Filled with Medieval lanes for you to stroll around and have a cup of coffee at the Walled Garden, an extravagant beauty of a place oozing with plants.
Image credit: nick macneill
One of the lesser-known places in Somerset are the Levels, a secret world tucked in the centre of the county. The flat and green beds are criss-crossed by ancient waterways, occasionally having something striking break up the horizon. Somerton is a lovely village on the Levels, with old markets cross’ and almshouses. The Langport, is a market town in the centre of the Levels.
Somerset may not be as big as Cotswold, but it has the perfect amount of quirkiness and quaint hand craftiness that is sought after by many.