Stylish self-catering holidays and short breaks in Somerset

Sally's Guide to Bruton in Somerset

A half-hour drive to the south west of us lies the market town of Bruton. Just east of the town of Castle Cary, it sits amongst beautiful rolling hills and rural Somerset countryside. Most people who stay at our self-catering holiday cottages in Somerset haven’t usually heard of the town. So we always recommend they visit, it’s quite the place to hang out for half a day or so.

Bruton has had a mixed history since its church, The Church of St Mary was founded way back in the 7th Century. Life amongst its narrow, cottage lined streets generally passed it by (other than King’s Bruton school being founded in 1519). But then, the art gallery Hauser and Wirth showed up in 2014, converting a derelict farmhouse into a gallery just outside the town. This put Bruton on the map overnight and the town has since built itself a lively reputation for sophisticated modern art and fine dining experiences. With its own railway station, enabling an easy 2-hour train ride from London, the town has become an extremely popular place for art lovers to visit for the weekend.

So, let me – Sally – guide you through the town of Bruton to help you make the most of your visit.

Most visitors holidaying in the region will come by car, so I’ve focused on where to park when you arrive. I know, I know, it’s not the most environmentally way to travel. But, we’re a rural county so it’s easier and more convenient (especially for those of us with kids).

There are 4 free car parks to choose from in Bruton, so there’s no excuse to park on the narrow streets (and annoy the locals):

If you can come by train or bus then so much the better!

I’d suggest starting at the western end of the one way High Street and then work your way along heading east.

I’ll list each of my favourite Bruton hotspots below as we wander along.

Matts Kitchen


 
 
 
 
 
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Bruton has some excellent eateries. Matt’s Kitchen falls firmly into that camp that offers an amazing dining experience. It's not to be missed. Ran by Matt, a Michelin chef, he and his team create truly divine food and served with a highly attentive service. If you want a warm, genuinely friendly welcome from an owner who is clearly passionate about his food then Matt’s Kitchen takes some beating.

Do note the restaurant is only open Thursday to Saturday with Matt serving a set menu, oh and you'll need to BYO (including soft drinks).

 

 

Bruton Museum


 
 
 
 
 
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Located right next door to the At the Chapel (more on that one later!) this small but wonderfully curated museum is well worth a visit.

The Bruton Museum opens at 11am and remains open for a couple of hours. Most people can easily get to see all the Bruton related artefacts, old photos and showcased history (including the American writer John Steinbeck’s desk) in around an hour. The museum is also disabled-friendly.

Ran by enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteers, Bruton Museum is free to visitors (donations are very welcome). It is a first class introduction to the town, showcasing its history back to Saxon times.

It might be one of the smallest museums in Somerset but I’d say it’s worth a visit!

 

Make Hauser and Wirth


 
 
 
 
 
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The small Make Hauser and Wirth gallery is housed inside a unique 500-year-old historic townhouse. The space is dedicated to showcasing excellent contemporary pieces from emerging craftspeople. Exhibitions are free to attend and you do not need to pre-book to visit. You can also purchase any of the exhibits on display as they’re all up for sale.

The Gallery is open Wednesday to Sunday 10am to 4pm and you can park 10 minutes walk away from the main car park at Hauser and Wirth's Durslade Farm.

Open since 2018, Make Hauser & Wirth gallery shows off work from artist-makers, using locally sourced materials and made specifically for this gallery. 

 

Osip


 
 
 
 
 
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Blink as you walk by and I bet you’ll miss it!

At the top end of Bruton’s High Street sits Osip, a restaurant so small and innocuous one might easily wander past and not realise just how amazing it’s fine dining really is. There really can’t be that many Michelin starred restaurants tucked away like this in such an outstanding town as Bruton.

Inside you’ll discover a minimalist country interior, with around 10 tables, allowing for a calm and relaxed vibe. This is no "rush-you-in, rush-you-out" restaurant!

Be warned most of us will have to save the pennies if we want to dine out in this much style – quality doesn’t come cheap. You will however experience immaculate service from an engaging team, presenting food offering amazing flavours from it’s full tasting menu, complemented by a selection of fine wines.

If you want to reserve a table we strongly advise you book ahead, the waiting list can run into months ahead.

 

The Old Pharmacy


 
 
 
 
 
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Sitting next door to Osip and in (would you believe it!) an old pharmacy, this is a great place. Being so stylishly decorated, makes it (for me at least) perhaps the best restaurant in Bruton! Though it's not just a restaurant, it also serves as a wine bar and grocery store.

Serving incredible food using seasonal local produce from a team who are friendly, you’ll be made to feel at ease the moment you cross the threshold.

If you’re after a fun dining experience with superb service, that leaves a raft of memories then I say The Old Pharmacy is the place to head to!

 

The Flower Shop


 
 
 
 
 
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An exceptional florist, The Flower Shop Bruton create some of the most beautiful country style bouquets. They use bright and colourful flowers and keep their prices exceptionally competitive. You’ll also find some lovely locally sourced gifts to buy as a keep-sake to take home with you!

 

Hauser and Wirth Somerset, Durlslade Farm Shop and Roth Bar Grill


 
 
 
 
 
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Bruton’s biggest draw by far is the Hauser and Wirth Gallery, sat just on the outskirts of town. It’s free to enter with completely free and ample parking. In the complex you’ll experience a stunning garden, superb restaurant, art gallery and one of the classiest farm shops in Somerset!

There’s so much to see you could spend all day here.

Let’s start with the gallery:

The Hauser and Wirth gallery offers regularly changing collections of mostly modern art. Much of this is fascinating! Other pieces can be somewhat subjective, though there are gallery staff on hand to explain the artist's vision.

Outside, the Piet Oudoulf designed garden is to die for, it’s absolutely beautiful, chockful with bees and butterflies and with a stunning pond to boot too.

You can grab a delicious coffee at the café as well as take a meander through the Durslade Farmshop. Be warned though none of the produce on offer is cheap but then you are getting the very best quality on everything!

There’s a small book shop too offering an array of books and branded gifts. It's definitely worth a perusal.

If you feel famished then I recommend heading to the Roth Bar and Grill. But note you'd be better to book ahead as it does get very busy! Please note this venue is closed for refurbishment till May 2024.

Don't miss out on Hauser and Wirth whilst you’re in Bruton, it’s utterly classy but also a lot fun too.


So there we have it, my useful visitor's guide to Bruton, please do let me know if you know of any other places that should be included!

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