With its vast unbroken vistas that seemingly continue forever, there is almost a spirituality about Somerset, home to the most famous musical festival in the world.  For urbanite resettlers, the fashionable Babington House (a first foray into the countryside by Soho House) and the luxurious Newt Hotel, give Somerset outposts of high society to rival its more celebrated Cotswolds counterparts.   In this guide, we take a look at the best places to live in Somerset,
handpicked by local experts. 

At a Glance

The vibe:  Genteel bohemia

The Schools: 2 x schools in Times Top 100 (State Primary); 3 x schools in Times Top 200 (Independent Secondary)

The Eateries:  26 restaurants in Michelin Guide, 2 x restaurants with a Michelin Star, 4 x Bib Gourmand awards

The Great Outdoors:  Designated AONB includes Mendip Hills, Quantock Hills, Blackdown Hills and a slither of Cranborne Chase

Larger Towns


The ever popular world heritage city of Bath serves as the county’s main urban centre.  It has long been drawing the crowds down from London and further afield with its neoclassical good looks and offer of a better quality of life in a ‘country town’. You had better get yourself a Barbour (if you haven’t already) but you’ll never have to stray too far from the delis and flat whites you’re accustomed to in West London.   No doubt you’ll also be familiar with the comparably high property prices down here too.  The atmosphere lights up at weekends for Bath Rugby games down at the Rec, a prettier setting for a sports stadium you shall not find. 

Market Towns


The streets of Bruton are particularly well heeled and, amongst its footsteps, you might spot a few local celebrities and former politicians.  Very pretty streets they are too, with the idyllic River Brue meandering through the lower levels of a town blessed with a small but enviable smattering of high quality boutiques and eateries.  It’s  a town not dissimilar to nearby Sherborne, across the border in Dorset, both with prestigious boarding schools at the heart of their communities.  However, Bruton is better placed for transport to London while its proximity to the Newt, Babington House, and its very own Hauser & Wirth art gallery on the edge of town give it star appeal.

Bruton - its the sort of town you may just want to get your easel out for


Ok, there’s more to Cheddar than just cheese.  Not that there really needs to be, of course, and the birthplace of Britain’s favourite cheese makes this a truly special place to live in its own right…but there’s more, lot’s more… Particularly for outdoor enthusiasts (presumably so they can burn off all the extra cheese calories they are consuming here) who wake up to the breathtaking Mendip Hills every day.  The jewel in the crown here must be the awe inspiring Cheddar Gorge, which is simply ‘gorge-ous’ (sorry, was that a bit cheesy?).


If Bath is a sophisticated country town, then Frome (pronounced Froome, in case you’re wondering) is its charming and more bohemian little sister, just 30 minutes away.  It’s hard not to fall head over heels for this very flattering hillside town with a leet running down through its cobbled streets and live music filling the air from a talented local busking scene. A hub for creatives, with a cornucopia of independent shops and a lively twice-weekly market.


With a spectacular cathedral standing sentry over all the usual middle class high street brands (read Quba & Co, White Stuff, and Fat Face etc, the list goes on) Wells is reassuringly and unashamedly ‘very nice’, albeit lacking the creative edge or star quality of some of its more seductive neighbours.  Who cares when you’ve got a Waitrose in the centre of town, right?  It’s hard to think of a more pleasant place to while away a sunny afternoon than outside on the Cathedral green atop the hill and amidst the gentle bustle on its perimeter.   Let’s add a cream tea to that too…