Life & Style

Globetrotter Tobias Vernon – on the must-visit hot spots of Somerset

Founder of gallery space and design studio 8 Holland Street waxes lyrical about living in Somerset in England's West Country

Bath city in Somerset
(Image credit: Unsplash/Cajeo Zhang)

Founder of gallery space and design studio 8 Holland Street, Tobias Vernon is no stranger to the West Country in England. Often in London, Tobias also has a cottage tucked away in the historic village of Mells – a 'little haven', as he describes it – and in June 2019, he set up a second gallery location in the center of the historic city of Bath. 

We caught up with Tobias on all his favorite spots in Somerset.

See: Our Country channel to indulge in everything rustic

tobais-vernon-eight-holland-street-owner-portrait

(Image credit: Tobias Vernon, owner of 8 Holland Street )

First things first, where should we sleep over? 

For the most indulgent weekend, Babington House is the obvious choice. But for something a little more low-key, stay in the rooms at Caro. They sit above the design shop in Bruton and have a contemporary feel with subtle design nods to the local area. 

Where to go for a drink or two? 

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(Image credit: Beckford Bottle Shop, Bath )

I can't recommend anything more than the pub in my village, The Talbot Inn. It has a wonderful cobbled courtyard and they're always eager to serve a Negroni at the bar – otherwise a pint of the local ale never fails to disappoint. 

If you're in Bath, don't leave without picking something up from Beckford Bottle Shop (above and below) – they're a fountain of knowledge when it comes to wine.  

(Ed: they have a great bistro, too!)

tobias-vernon-beckford-bottle-shop

(Image credit: Beckford Bottle Shop, Bath)

The buzzy table to book? 

I'm fixated on Castle Farm, which is right on the edge of Bath. The chef, Pravin Nayar, is of mixed Asian and Scandinavian heritage, which is reflected in the incredible menus. Friday curry night is to die for. Whatever you order, you have to have their roti bread – it's more delicious than you could ever imagine. 

Best street to explore? 

It has to be Margaret's Buildings in Bath, which is where our gallery can be found. A pedestrianized street between the Royal Crescent and the Circus, it is full of independent cafes and retailers including boutique clothing shop Uber, Gallery Nine, fashion illustration gallery Gray M.C.A, the treasure trove Bath Old Books and The Green Bird Cafe, my regular haunt. 

The Bath label to know? 

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(Image credit: Marbled Papers |INQ)

Florence Saumarez of Inq Studio. She makes amazing handmade marbled papers, wallpapers and lampshades (above and below) in her studio, which is an old mews house in the middle of the city. Book onto a workshop there with her if you can. 

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(Image credit: Marbled Lampshades | INQ)

The iconic building to snap for Instagram? 

Be sure to stop by the Assembly Rooms, while roaming the streets. Bath and the surrounding areas are well known for their classical heritage and are fortunately full of 18th and 19th century architectural wonders. 

Your perfect day trip? 

tobias-vernon-views-from-iford-manor

(Image credit: Marianne Cartwright-Highnett | Iford Manor)

Visiting Iford Manor and the idyllic Italianate gardens (above and below). Bordering Somerset and Wiltshire, it is a great place to just walk around taking everything in, and there is the most picture-perfect vista from the bridge. You can then continue walking and follow the river to The Inn At Freshford for a delicious dinner. 

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(Image credit: Marianne Cartwright-Hignett | Iford Manor)

Visit 8 Holland Street to find out more.

Jo Bailey
Jo Bailey

Jo is a News & Shopping Editor across Homes & Gardens and Livingetc magazine. Before joining Future Plc, she worked as an interior stylist and set designer, specialising in editorial and commercial photo shoots as well as installations, exhibitions and events. Her background within this field means she has a particular interest in the creative ways to make a house a home, as well as hunting down the best places to source beautiful things.