Wedmore: A village tour
PUBLISHED: 15:26 03 October 2016
Sarah Ford takes a walk around a village with a reputation for good food and drink, great music and bags of style
Once Wedmore might have been considerably less well known than its famous neighbour, Cheddar. But mention the name now to someone who lives further afield and chances are they will recall this Somerset village for one reason or another.
Its annual Turnip Prize – where hilariously bad artwork is exhibited in The New Inn for a spoof version of the Turner Prize – has captured the headlines over the years. Likewise the large scale opera productions and art festivals which have drawn in big names such as Michael Morpurgo.
In the summer the village held its traditional harvest home celebrations, while September saw the turn of the 16th Wedmore Real Ale Festival. Along with a great musical line-up, there are 60 choices of real ales, ciders, perrys and wine to soak up. Held in the Village Hall, the festival has raised many thousands of pounds for charities since it began.
But there’s more than major events helping to put Wedmore on the map. The smell of good grub attracts foodies from far and wide to the village restaurants, tea rooms and three pubs - The Swan, The George and the afore mentioned New Inn. And Roger Wilkins’ nearby Cider Farm was on the tourist trail well before Jamie Oliver turned up for a spot of filming.
And the village has a new band doing the rounds – Kindred is a six piece which rocks Wedmore with a mix of covers from the likes of Eric Clapton, Blondie and The Jam.
Well-known for its fashion shops (eight at the last count), the village is a magnet for wedding guests looking for that perfect outfit - and that includes the men. With beauty salons and four hairdressers on hand you could look your best from top to toe!
You might also find your wedding rings here, for the village is home to award winning and pioneering jeweller Erica Sharpe. Her Saxon ring collection is a nod to the village’s famous past, for it was here that King of the Anglo-Saxons, Alfred the Great, celebrated the baptism of the Viking leader whom he had just defeated.
Visit the Grade I listed St Mary’s Church and you can see a millennium tapestry depicting the main streets and its Saxon Square – an area of gardens best appreciated from the top of St Mary’s Church tower. Hale and hearty climbers can do this for £6 on 11 September when the fundraising Friends of St Mary’s stage an open tower day, from 11.40am. To book call 01934 710149. Please note it’s not suitable for children under eight and older ones must be accompanied by an adult.
While you’re here...
Have Sunday lunch at Nanny Ida’s, The Dining Room or the Golf Club.
Choose from a selection of fish at Pisces or some meat at Hectors Farm Shop.
Select a present or a greetings card from one of the gift shops, the post office or the florist’s.
Let the kids burn off steam in the newly improved Playing Fields.
Keep up to date with the next edition of Somerset Life from Wedmore Village Store.
When you spot the colourful brochures in one of the windows in The Borough you might develop the desire to spread your wings a little. John and Joseph in 2J’s Travel have a combined experience of 50 years when it comes to planning holidays. They specialise in long haul tailor¬made holidays worldwide, such as the Caribbean, India, Africa and the Far East, plus Australia and New Zealand. Multi award winners, 2J’s have been trading in the village since 2002 and support the community through donating prizes for the annual Harvest Home and Bowls Club tournament.
Coffee, cakes and more...
Taste the West Country in some of the local cheeses and other delights on offer at Pumpkin Delicatessen and Café. Bread is delivered daily from Hobbs House and there are home¬made quiches, salads, cakes and hampers full of tasty treats. Watch the world go by in the garden at this licensed café or book the venue for your own party!
Want to visit more charming towns and villages in Somerset? Have a peek at our guides...