Taunton, the County Town of Somerset, nestles in the Vale of Taunton Deane between the Quantock Hills to the north and the Blackdown Hills to the south.
It is a bustling town, famous for its cider and is a starting point for journeys to the Quantock Hills, Exmoor Forest and the sea at Watchet and Minehead.
The River Tone curls around the town and Taunton gets its name from a corruption of ‘Town on the River Tone’ — or ‘Tone Town’. The settlement here dates back at least to Roman times.
By Saxon times Taunton had gained considerable importance. It had its own mint and was considered important enough for the King of Wessex to build an earth rampart castle. By 904 AD a monastery had been founded and King Edward The Elder (899 – 924 AD) had bestowed a Charter for the ‘men of Taunton’ freeing them from all royal and county tribute. Taunton grew in wealth and importance until politics and history affected its prospects.
For visitors interested in cricket, Taunton is not only the home of the Somerset County Cricket Club but also the nurturer of two famous English cricketers, Ian Bothan and Marcus Trescothick. Somerset is one of the major county clubs which make up the English domestic cricket league and the ground often plays host to visiting International teams. For information on matches, tickets and entry to the grounds, visit Web: Somerset County Cricket Club
The tall Gothic tower that can be seen above the Taunton skyline belongs to the Parish Church of St Mary Magdalene which dates from1308. The church is the largest Parish church in Somerset and the tower has been described as the finest in England. Once inside, look for the beautiful painted Tudor ceiling in the nave and chancel - it is adorned with many gilded angels. There is also a splendid west window and also remnants of medieval stained glass on the north side. For further information, visit Web: St Mary Magdalene Church
From Taunton, visitors can travel a short distance by the First Somerset and Avon Bus Services to the town of Bishops Lydeard where they can join the West Somerset Railway and enjoy a leisurely steam train trip north-west to Bridgewater Bay ending at the seaside town of Minehead.
Taunton Visitor Centre
+44 (0)1823 336344
Taunton is 133 (214 kms) west of London.
- By Rail from London:
Take the relatively frequent First Great Western service from London Paddington station to Newquay (Cornwall) calling at Bath, Bristol and Western-super-Mare. Leave the train at Taunton. Journey time is about 2½ hours. For details and tickets visit the National Rail Enquiries website Web: National Rail Enquiries
- By Car from London:
From the M25 ring road at Junction 15, take the M4 west towards Bath and Bristol. Near Bristol at Junction 20 just before the Severn Road Bridge, take the M5 south to Junction 25 at Taunton. Journey time is about three hours.
- By Coach from London:
Take National Express coach from London Victoria Coach Station to Taunton Bus Station – journey time about 4 hours. There are around three morning services week days. For full details and tickets visit the National Express website Web: National Express
Google Map - Taunton