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
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
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?
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!)
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?
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.
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?
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.
Visit 8 Holland Street to find out more.
Jo Bailey has been Deputy Editor of Homes & Gardens since late 2021, overseeing all features for the print edition. Previously, she worked as the News & Shopping Editor across H&G and Livingetc - one of Future Plc's sister brands - this is where she learnt to discover the best news stories, latest trends and honed her understanding of Homes and Gardens' over 100-year-old brand.
Before joining Future Plc, she worked as an interior stylist for over ten years, specialising in commercial photo shoots for luxury clients such as; Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, The Romo Group, Christopher Farr Cloth and Heal's. She has worked closely with Homes & Gardens and Livingetc for over a decade, having styled and produced editorial shoots and events for both titles over the years.
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