Taunton this Christmas
PUBLISHED: 12:05 13 November 2007 | UPDATED: 14:55 20 February 2013
As you would expect from our county town, Taunton is a must for Somerset shoppers wishing to combine a bit of quality retail therapy with a variety of pit stops for seasonal refreshment. Christmas shopping in the town...
As you would expect from our county town, Taunton is a must for Somerset shoppers wishing to combine a bit of quality retail therapy with a variety of pit stops for seasonal refreshment. Christmas shopping in the town kicked off on 18 November when its beautiful new festive lights were turned on by Santa himself at the end of an exciting day of activities and entertainments. This year not only is the main display in the town centre different but there will be lights at the entry points to the town in Station Road East Reach and Bridge Street, paid for by the Taunton Business Improvement District.
When it comes to shopping, few towns can boast as wide and sumptuous a variety of alternatives. Big fashion names such as Wallis, Top Shop and New Look are all here to entice teenagers, while Mum can indulge in Jaeger or gaze in the windows of jewellers who are showcasing ravishing examples of the best in contemporary designs in gold, silver and platinum. Foodies can dive into the famous County Stores, where gourmet indulgences from across the world can be purchased, and its restaurant and coffee house are amongst many in Taunton that will provide much-needed sustenance as you shop till you drop. Around the pedestrianised High Street there is a wonderful range of independent shops, and if you head out to the Castle via Bath Place you will encounter one of the most historic quarters of Taunton's town centre and some great shopping before you hit the once formidable fortress of Taunton Castle, now housing the County Museum.
Late-night Christmas shopping events will be held every Thursday night to 9pm from 22 November right through to Christmas week. There will be music and festive cheer to help put you in the mood, and on 20 December at 6pm the traffic will stop for the traditional Christmas nativity play, which will once again be re-enacted in the town centre. This timeless story will be told by members of Taunton's churches playing the lead roles, with the help of Sidmouth donkeys and Humphrey the camel.
Meanwhile, over at the Tacchi Morris Arts Centre a range of Christmas entertainments will show off the musical talents of some of the town's brightest and best young musicians and actors, such as on 15 December when Taunton Concert Band will take to the stage for a special Christmas Concert. St Mary Magdalene, the church which boasts Somerset's tallest church tower, will be having its much-loved festival of nine lessons and carols on 23 December. Visitors to the town would be wise to take a little time out to admire this beautiful church in all its Christmas glory. Its gilded roof, ornamented by angels with shields, is one of the most original and famous in the South-west.
When all the frenzy of Christmas is over, Taunton moves into overdrive, with winter sales starting on 27 December. A chance to snap up all those bargains you missed the first time around.
Every Thursday: Late-night Shopping
10 December - 5 January: Charles Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol. The Brewhouse Theatre, tel 01823 283244
15 December: Christmas Concert by Taunton Concert Band. Tacchi Morris Arts Centre, tel 01823 414141
20 December: Taunton's Traditional Nativity Play. Town Centre, 6pm
23 December: Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. St Mary Magdalene, tel 01823 272441
Taunton TIC: tel 01823 336334