This Tiny Town is England's Hottest, Most Unexpected Weekend Destination
How did Bruton—a town in Somerset two hours from London—go from a ciderproducing community to arguably England’s coolest place to spend a weekend? It started with the 2008 opening of At the Chapel, a church turned restaurant, followed by the arrival of art gallery Hauser & Wirth in 2014. From there, it’s been a blur of posh West Londoners and boldfaced names—with no slowing down in sight. Here’s how it all happened.
The owners of the decade-old Phillips & Skinner curiosities shop opened the Wing, a one-room cabin bed-and-breakfast up the road from their store. $170 per night.
The latest outpost of Hauser & Wirth took off, with Friday night jam sessions in the restaurant led by Danny Goffey of Britpop band Supergrass. It also has gardens by Piet Oudolf and the Durslade Farmhouse, which sleeps 12 and combines historical décor with contemporary art; from $2,120 for four nights.
A trio of local mothers, including former Universal Music exec Nicola Loud, launched the Somerset Collective, a popup shop that sells home goods, bags, and kids’ threads. Previous locations include At the Chapel and historic houses.
Bruton Art Factory, opened by art curator Suzanne Bisset, was an immediate hit. This spring’s big exhibition, by former KLF band member James Cauty, is “Aftermath Dislocation Principle”, which depicts a miniature riot-torn city.
Advertising consultant Natalie Jones opened the stylish Caro in an 18th-century cottage, combining retail (she sells an array of charming housewares), a café (with cakes that are almost too pretty to eat), and a beautifully pared-down room for rent above the shop. More rooms will open next year. $170 per night.
Jo Berryman (the London interior designer and exwife of Coldplay bassist Guy Berryman) completed work on 42 Acres, a spiritual retreat in a Victorian manor. Just 15 minutes outside of Bruton, it’s already attracting the New Age, green-juicing brigade with its yoga and meditation weekends.
The town is buzzing about the redo of Hadspen House, a glorious Georgian manor (Benjamin & Beauchamp, the architects behind Hauser & Wirth’s Durslade Farmhouse, are involved). There are plans to open up the estate’s gardens, along with a café, restaurant, and cider press.