Mother’s Day in Somerset: 11 days out with Mum
PUBLISHED: 11:30 14 March 2017 | UPDATED: 11:30 14 March 2017
Simone Stanbrook-Byrne and her Mum seek out a selection of indulgent trips and treats around the county
‘Everyone knows what Mother’s Day is: 7am to midnight’! read the card I bought my own mother a scary number of years ago. As an adult, I now realise what an understatement that was. The reality is 24/7. And although Mother’s Day may be regarded by some to be tainted with the whiff of commercialism, it is a splendid opportunity to show a bit of appreciation.
Mums are diverse; this selection reflects that. Some of the trips and treats are my mum’s favourites; others are ideas that I think she, and other mothers, might like. Pick one for Mother’s Day – then save the rest for later in the year.
Thermae Bath Spa, Bath, BA1 1SJ
Take to the waters! There are many options here for sheer, unmitigated decadence: various pools to float in, deliciously-scented steam rooms, a huge range of treatments and pamperings – and the Springs Cafe Restaurant to keep one’s strength up. The first time I experienced this it was a treat from my mum to me – who had already enjoyed it herself. Go for just a couple of hours or spend the whole day there. (01225 331234)
The Hauser & Wirth Gallery and Arts Centre, Bruton, BA10 0NL
An art gallery and glorious gardens which are themselves a work of art. Designed by internationally-renowned landscape designer, Piet Oudolf, the gardens reflect the classical style but unexpected and often quirky sculptures spring up amongst the planting schemes. Successive exhibitions take place throughout the year; artwork is situated indoors and outside. Creativity extends to the restaurant which ‘combines gastronomy with contemporary art’ and serves only local and ethical produce – indulge with a clear conscience. (01749 814060)
Shapwick Heath National Nature Reserve, Westhay, near Glastonbury, BA6 9TT
An absolute favourite. This hugely varied habitat covers more than 500 hectares of the Avalon Marshes; wildlife in a historic landscape. More than 60 different species of bird nest here. It’s also home to dragonflies, butterflies and mammals such as otters, water voles and Bagot goats who conservation-graze the area. Wildlife will vary depending on the season of your visit. There is a café, craft shop and various facilities at the nearby Avalon Marshes Centre (refurb anticipated). (01458 860120)
The Pump Room Restaurant, The Roman Baths, Bath, BA1 1LY
No trip to Bath is complete without elegant foodie indulgence in the gracious Pump Rooms. There’s always a very special something for Mother’s Day lunch and their afternoon teas (available from noon) are sumptuous. Forget the waistline. There will very likely be the genteel accompaniment of the Pump Room Trio or pianist. (01225 444477)
Hestercombe Gardens, Cheddon Fitzpaine, TA2 8LG
Hestercombe’s Column Room Restaurant always puts on a special lunch or afternoon tea for Mother’s Day. Enjoy a delectable time at the table then walk it off in the vibrant spring gardens, which span three centuries of design styles and include beautifully¬-reflective ponds. There is also an art gallery which focuses on the relationship between art and landscape. (01823 413923)
Maunsel Lock Tea Shop and the Taunton and Bridgwater Canal, near North Newton, TA7 0DH
Something extra-terrestrial for space-loving mothers. At roughly the half-way point of the canal, this tea shop is a great spot for coffee or snacks before or after a leisurely Mother’s Day stroll beside the water – and it’s well-placed to explore some of the solar system. The towpath is the site of Somerset’s Space Walk, a 530-million-to-one scale model of the solar system duplicated in both directions along the towpath from the sun, which is located not far from the tea shop. (01278 663160)
The Queen’s Arms, Corton Denham, DT9 4LR
The first time I visited, with a dog and mucky walking boots, I feared that any pub in this attractive village wouldn’t want us. So imagine my delight when the first thing I encountered was a sign welcoming muddy boots and dogs! A wonderful place to visit that caters well for vegetarian and vegans. Enjoy a special Mother’s Day lunch or tea. Mothers always receive a special pressie on their day – orchids last year. The village is surrounded by superb walking country. (01963 220317)
Kilver Court, Shepton Mallet, BA4 5NF
If shopping is mum’s pleasure she’ll find much to entice her in this designer retail outlet, created by the founder of Mulberry and established in an old textile mill. A venue offering great variety. Fashion, interiors and lifestyle combine with eateries, gorgeous gardens and even a new nursery and garden shop, the latter housed in the appealingly-named WigglyShed. (01749 340410)
West Somerset Railway, Bishops Lydeard, TA4 3BX
Nostalgia with style on the longest heritage railway in England. Steam trains (and occasional diesels) run between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead passing many beautifully-maintained and authentically-detailed stations. The mighty engines and coaches are redolent of a more glamorous age which is encapsulated in the Quantock Belle, the railway’s restored dining carriage. (01643 704996)
Cheddar Gorge, BS27 3QF
For mothers who like things subterranean, a trip underground into the awesome and majestic Cheddar Caves is memorable. Remarkable history and natural splendour beneath an unimaginable weight of rock. Follow this with the airy and elevated Gorge Walk, as a contrast to the depths. (01934 742343). For those who love the iconic Somerset landmark, have a peek at 16 times Cheddar Gorge looked out of this world.
Sometimes, keeping it simple is just the right thing. Mum and I have had some great times exploring private gardens that open for charity under this wonderful scheme. They range in size from modest to vast, most offer homemade refreshments and it’s lovely to glimpse other people’s creativity in their own space. No need to book, just consult the book, or look online, and off you go.
So, Mothers, allow yourselves to be treated and have a lovely day!