A comprehensive guide to Alice’s home shire, ‘The Land of the Summer People’
A magical sense of childhood nostalgia has always drawn Alice back to Somerset. Sweeping landscapes, eclectic personalities, respect for nature, local culture and the art of slow living; it’s all woven through the Temperley DNA.
Alice and her partner Mark Cresswell bought a property in Ilminster to create a creative universe and built the first studios and stores for Temperley London. It’s been 12 years since Alice happened upon Cricket Court – her beautiful Grade II-listed home in the same town as her parents’ farm – and decided to split her time between town and country to maximise creativity and enhance her work-life balance.
The world has changed dramatically since then, but Temperley’s roots in Somerset have only grown deeper. In 2021, the brand’s new headquarters – in Phoenix Studios, in the market town of Ilminster – opened its doors.
As well as the brand’s atelier and training studio, the new HQ features a shop offering pieces from current and archive collections, a bakery and a bar serving cocktails and cider from her family farm.
Phoenix Studios has become a must-see stop on any visit to Somerset, but there’s plenty more to discover in the south west. Here are a few highlights…
Best for: Local, seasonal dining
28 Market Place, Somerton
A modern, sustainable restaurant serving beautiful food and wine, sourced from local producers and suppliers. (Book in advance, especially if you’re a big group.) Or grab a picnic before a long walk – don’t forget a bottle of biodynamic wine from Somerton Wines (upstairs), and something sweet from Market Bakery (behind the restaurant).
Best for: A coffee and cake
Pip’s Railway Carriage, Lopenhead
From a refurbished 1950s train carriage and double-decker bus, Pip’s serves coffee, teas and cakes, all prepared at their on-site bakeshop.
Best for: A long catch-up dinner
Today’s Menu, Ilminster
Informal fine dining. Good
for a lengthy, unhurried dinner catching up with old friends or reconnecting
with someone special.
Best for: A classic pub
The Lord Poulett Arms, Hinton Saint George
Everything you’d want from a country pub, from home-cooked pies to hearty pints. There are rooms to stay in, most with slipper or roll-top baths, and some are dog-friendly.
Best for: A few days reconnecting with your partner or pal
Mallinson’s Woodland Retreat, Chard
With treehouses, bell tents, shepherd’s huts, tipis and yurts, there’s a structure for every type of glamper and camper. Plus hot tubs, copper baths, pizza ovens and fire pits. No children or dogs allowed.
Best for: A stay in nature, for couples or groups of families and friends
The Shepherds Hut retreat, near Crewkerne
Luxe shepherd’s huts for pairs and a cottage for bigger groups, with fire pits, lake views and private wooden hot tubs that encourage time in the great outdoors.
Best for: A luxurious family stay
Crooked Swan, Crewkerne
From weird to wonderful and everything in between, there’s always something new to admire within the Crooked Swan’s decor. Beautiful carved wooden beds, including a pair of creative bunkbeds built into a nook in the family room, Indian doors, oil painting wallpaper and a gramophone shower head are just a few highlights.
Best for: A sunny day expedition
Barrington Court, Barrington
Now owned by the National Trust, Barrington Court has beautiful farmland with public paths from where you can appreciate the natural surroundings and the elegant old Tudor mansion. Stop in at the award-winning Barrington Boar for a plate of refined comfort food and a glass of English sparkling wine.
Best for: Finding treasures
Dennis Chinaworks, Shepton Beauchamp
Ceramicists Sally Tuffin and Richard Dennis sell their creations, made using fine craftsmanship that fuses traditional techniques with contemporary designs, from the converted stables of a Gothic Victorian rectory.
Best for: Art appreciation in a memorable setting
Hauser & Wirth, Bruton
Inside, you’ll find world-class exhibitions at the rural outpost of this leading contemporary arts gallery. Outside, there’s a breathtaking landscaped garden by leading landscape architect Piet Oudolf to marvel over. Refuel at Roth Bar & Grill, the excellent on-site restaurant.
Best for: A secluded spot for reading a book
No. 57 Café, Ilminster
Set in a quirky old building, there are cosy rooms full of antiques and vintage finds alongside wooden tables to sit at for coffee, brunch or lunch. The quiet courtyard is a particular favourite for finishing a book in the sun with a slice of lemon and poppy seed cake.
Best for: A quiet place to get inspired
The Newt, Bruton
If you’re in need of a little respite, The Newt – with its glorious Georgian hotel and extensive gardens – is the place to have a breather. Beautiful and productive, there’s an apple tree maze, diverse woodland and flourishing vegetable gardens.
Best for: Somewhere to blow off some steam
Babington House, Frome
With a range of rooms across the Georgian manor, in the Main House, Coach House and Stable Block, as well as the indoor and outdoor pools, spa, restaurants and bars, library and walled garden, Babington House is just the place for some well-earned R&R.
Best for: A memorable day out
Burrow Hill Cider Farm, Martock
Owned by Alice’s parents, the Burrow Hill Cider Farm is a truly magical place. Book a tour and tasting in advance or just soak up the beauty of Somerset from Burrow Hill, while walking around the orchard trail and cider house. You can buy the cider and brandy, that are made on the farm using traditional techniques.