Taunton has a wide range of activities and attractions for you to choose from when you’re wondering what to do in the Somerset area. From taking in the countryside on horseback to a day of pampering in one of the best spas in the south west, there’s no shortage of things to do in Taunton.
Activities in Taunton
If you’re looking for an informative way to spend a couple of hours on the Somerset Levels, head to The Willows and Wetlands Visitor Centre. The centre is run by the Coates family who have been growing willow on the Levels since before the Victorian era, and making baskets for more than a hundred years. That’s a whole lot of family history, so as well as being a working willow farm, the 80-acre dog-friendly site also has a museum where the family conduct talks and demonstrations on weaving. Last but not least, we absolutely have to mention The Lemon Tree Café that’s on site – so when you’ve had your fill from the visitor centre, you can enjoy a cream tea in the courtyard, or treat yourself to their delicious pork pies and paninis.
A truly unique attraction is Quantock Trekking, where you can take in the beautiful Quantock Hills from horseback. They offer a range of competitively priced treks, with the most popular being £45 for two hours. You absolutely get your money’s worth – all of the guides are extremely friendly, chatty, and they know the area like the back of their hand – not just in terms of the lie of the land; you’ll also get to hear local myths and stories along the way. With more than 25 ponies and horses in total, there’s one for every level of rider – so whether you’re new to the saddle, or you're a grand master of the gallop, Quantock Trekking gives everyone the chance to explore Britain’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
If you’re feeling even more adventurous, get in touch with Somerset Adventures. Based in Taunton, they offer a wide range of outdoor activities across the whole of the south west; one day you could visit Wimbleball Lake for watersports including kayaking, canoeing and rafting, the next you could be in Burrington Coombe for a spot of caving. They also offer archery, laser clay pigeon shooting, axe throwing, climbing, and much, much more. Fear not, all of the instructors are fully qualified, and a lot of fun.
Are you a thrill-seeker who prefers their adventures 3,000ft above the ground? Then I suppose Aerosaurus Balloons is the only option for you. The UK’s leading ballooning company for more than a quarter of a century, they’ve been giving passengers the chance to experience the beautiful south west from the sky. Rest assured that you’ll be absolutely safe – their pilots have experience from all around the world. Most notably, their chief pilot even flew Sir David Attenborough over the Swiss Alps for Planet Earth II.
Want to see something pretty without spending a penny? Pay a visit to Trull Waterfall, less than a 15-minute drive from our Taunton East hotel. It’s a hidden gem, where you can enjoy a relaxing hour’s walk in the company of birdsong and sound of the water.
As one of the most picturesque areas of the UK, there’s a huge amount for you to do outdoors. Having said that, sometimes the weather simply doesn’t allow for it. It’s a good job that our guide’s got you covered for indoor activities in Taunton too. The Hollywood Bowl is the local bowling alley; a great place to unwind and plough down some pins. All in all they have 22 state-of-the-art lanes where you can bowl to your heart’s content, plus you can even order food to your lane – it’s not exactly gourmet, but (speaking from experience) when you bowl a few gutter balls in a row, it’s good to have a burger on hand to ease the pain. Plus, if you fancy a flick after you’re finished, right next door to the Hollywood Bowl is the Odeon Cinema. With a grand total of eight screens, you can be sure that there’ll be something on that takes your fancy.
Alternatively, you can get pampered from head to toe at the Buff Spa Taunton. It’s a cathedral of beauty therapy, covering three floors in the heart of the town centre – where else could you find a hair salon, hot tub, champagne service and a spray tan room all under one roof.
We have even more to say about indoor activities in Taunton on its dedicated guide page.
What better way to take in your surroundings than going for a wander? The South Quantock Heritage Trail consists of four walks and two cycle routes that take in Gertrude Jekyll’s gardens at Hestercombe, the stocks on West Monkton churchyard, Taunton Canal and the Quantock Hills – the first place in Britain to be designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. A Criss-Cross of Bridges is a 2km trail that runs along the River Tone. As the name suggests, you’ll be criss-crossing a lot of bridges in your roughly hour-long exploration of the town’s waterways and wildlife. The Babcary Meadows Nature Reserve walk begins at The Red Lion Inn and takes in a full circuit of the nature reserve, where you can see elegant roe deer, redwings and marbled white butterflies.
Bringing your bike? You can cycle all the way to Bridgewater (if you’re so inclined) via the Somerset Towpath. The canals are a great way to take in some of Somerset’s best scenery, and there’s lots of wildlife to catch the eye – kingfishers love hunting from branches above these waterways. Plus, there are cafés and tearooms along the way if you get parched or peckish.