The best places to eat, stay, shop and visit in the South West


Discover why Bruton is set to be this year's most talked-about staycation destination
Bruton Staycation Guide
Number One Bruton

This Somerset town has become a magnet for gourmets and creatives thanks to its abundance of quality restaurants, indie shops and artsy attractions. Abi Manning recommends booking an overnight stay to find out for yourself why Bruton is set to be this year’s most talked-about staycation destination

Where to stay

A vision to build a self-supporting community within its expansive grounds makes Georgian manor The Newt in Somerset a rural estate like no other – and it’s a mere ten-minute drive from Bruton. Guests connect with nature through country-craft workshops, bee safaris and estate-pressed cider tastings, while spa treatments utilise natural products from the physic garden.

Number One Bruton (pictured top) is a unique, elegant escape. The Georgian townhouse, medieval forge and row of cottages have been lovingly transformed into a 12-bedroom hotel yet still ooze history. Expect candelabras and gilt mirrors in the main house, beams and quarry-tiled floors in the cottages, and stone walls and Crittall windows in the forge. Breakfast comes courtesy of Osip.

On the edge of town, Durslade Farmhouse is located on the site of Somerset’s prestigious Hauser & Wirth art gallery, and forms part of a group of Grade II-listed farm buildings dating back to 1760. Its renovation reflects its creative home by marrying the antiquity of the building with bold, unexpected interiors.

At the Chapel is four delicious treats rolled into one. A snooze in the former congregational chapel is accompanied by freshly baked loaves from the in-house bakery, dinner in the stunning restaurant and a wine store stocked with natural, organic and biodynamic bottles from small producers.

Osip Bruton staycation guide

Where to eat

Top of most visitors’ hit lists this year is Osip (thanks to its new Michelin star) so be sure to book well in advance. There’s no menu at the intimate restaurant, just six simple, unfussy courses which celebrate the bounteous surrounding countryside and include produce from chef Merlin Labron-Johnson’s vegetable garden. Expect the likes of grilled cucumber with smoked eel and russet apple, and roe buck, parsnip, grilled purple mustard and elderberries.

At Roth Bar & Grill, wife and husband team Jules and Steve Horrell ensure the menu stays hyper local, ethical and sustainable thanks to close relationships with local farmers, gamekeepers and gardeners. Housed in the old cowshed on the grounds of Durslade Farm, the uber-cool restaurant has an open kitchen with wood-fired grill and spit where own-reared meat (seen hanging in the salt room at the entrance) is cooked to smokin’ perfection.

Matt’s Kitchen has been a stalwart on the Bruton scene for the past ten years, acquiring a legion of devoted followers who were kept satiated during lockdown by a takeaway offering of wild boar balls in tomato sauce, and spicy seafood soup with dukkah. The pint-size spot is in the front room of Matt Watson’s terraced house, where customers can crack open their own bottles while the self-taught chef crafts a delish set menu.

Hive Bruton only opened in 2020, but it’s set to cause a buzz for its homemade British fare crafted using local produce sourced from neighbours, foragers and suppliers. Head chef Matthew Briddon brings experience from some of the country’s top kitchens (including River Cottage and Michelin-starred Heathcote’s) to dishes like KFC: Korean fried cauliflower with nacho cheese sauce and rainbow slaw.

The Old Pharmacy

Where to drink

File The Old Pharmacy under ‘drinking’, ‘eating’ and ‘shopping’. As well as masquerading as a coffee hangout in the morning and a wine and cider bar come evening, the multifaceted venue is also a great spot to grab a lunchtime salad and browse shelves heaving with quality Somerset produce. Tamworth pork charcuterie, locally milled flour and hand-thrown ceramics are among the offerings. The hip hangout is housed in a 16th-century building that’s all green panelled walls and reclaimed furniture.

Yearning to sip a pint in a proper country pub? Drive five minutes out of town and soak in Somerset sunshine in the beer garden at The Bull Inn which borders the National Trust Stourhead Estate. The family-friendly traditional public house stocks craft ales and drinks from local brewers like Butcombe of Bristol.

Leave town and weave a path through woodland to discover an idyllic spot for a cuppa at On the Brook. Located between trees and gently babbling water, it’s a tranquil escape in which to embrace nature after a morning discovering indie treasures on the high street. The team grow their own fruit and veg and make homemade preserves and treats which can be bought at the shop or sampled in modern European dishes in the cafe.

Godminster Shop

Where to shop

Cheddar fiends won’t be able to resist a sniff around the Godminster Shop, just a stone’s throw from the organic farm where the award-winning cheese is created. Visit for daily cheese tasting, vodka sampling and friendly chats, then create your perfect cheeseboard for supper.

You’ll need something delicious to pair with your Godminster haul, so pop next door to The Cellarhand independent wine merchant. Owners George and Javiera Read know their grapes, having travelled the world learning about wine. They seek out bottles from small producers across the globe and offer organic, biodynamic, natural and vegan options alongside more conventional wines.

Lockdown illuminated how our living environments impact our wellbeing, so feel no guilt about treating yourself to gorgeous homewares at Caro Somerset. It would be only too easy to lose an hour lusting over beautiful objects crafted by international makers.

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