Bruton is an ancient market town in South Somerset with a population of just 3,000 people is turning into a magnet for art lovers with a lively and friendly community. Here are some reasons why:
The town has many restaurants, cafes, pubs and local shops selling local produce, cheese, coffee and gifts.
It has a world-renowned art gallery
In summer 2014, Hauser & Wirth (hauserwirthsomerset.com), a contemporary art gallery with outposts in London, New York, Los Angeles and Zurich, opened another gallery in Somerset. And thus, Bruton, which had always attracted artistic types was put firmly on the cultural map. It took over the group of Grade II listed stone-clad farm buildings and 100 acres of field and woodlands that made up Durslade Farm on the edge of the town. The stunning gallery and arts centre acts as a one-stop shop for art, architecture and landscaped gardens by international feted designer Piet Oudolf. Its restaurant, Roth Bar & Grill, attracts the hip crowd.
It has a Scandi design shop
Once you’ve trawled through the coffee table books, sheepskin rugs and art postcards at the gallery’s shop, design-conscious weekenders can drop into Natalie Jones’ slick Scandi shop Caro. A former trend forecaster and Londoner, Jones sells brands like HAY and Aesop, serves delicious coffee and cakes in the cafe. It’s a far cry from the usual antiques and charity shops in small West Country towns.
The stunning countryside
Let’s not forget the simple allure of the Somerset countryside. Not far from Glastonbury and its ancient ley lines, the honey-coloured stone town of Bruton gives off the same air of romantic mysticism – it’s not hard to see why it’s so popular with the Summer Solstice set. Stomp up to the 16th century dovecote that sits above the town for a hyper-local jaunt, or jump in the car for four miles to climb the majestic King Alfred’s Tower, a folly linked to the Stourhead estate built in 1772 – the 360 degree views from the top are breathtaking.