Castle Cary, Somerset
Less than an hour from Bath, Castle Cary is a peaceful country town set amidst the rolling Somerset countryside; the ruggedly handsome Mendip Hills and the watery landscape of the Somerset Levels are both within a few miles, so if you’re pootling about exploring on your holiday in the West Country, perhaps you should stop off here for a wander round. In fact you should, because there’s something very nice about Castle Cary; the whole ambience is gentle and relaxed, and we have to say, it’s all rather upmarket, no doubt enhanced by the recent opening of The Newt at Hadspen House just outside the town.
It’s an attractive town, certainly, with the oldest part right in the centre where there’s a historic Market House; like a lot of the buildings in Castle Cary, it’s built of the local golden stone which gives a wonderful warm glow on sunny days. The shops are rather nice for a potter round, the majority being the small and interesting type selling antiques, books, clothes and homewares; among them you’ll find some very good delis, cafes and restaurants. Tuesday is market day, when things get a bit more frisky with happy shoppers filling their baskets with local goodies, and every October there’s Cary carnival to look forward to, when in what seems to be a peculiar West Country tradition, illuminated floats make their way through the streets to the delight of the crowds.
Behind the Market House is an odd looking Round House, built in 1779, one of the few lock ups remaining in the county. Misbehave on a night on the town and that’s where you’d end up! Anyone with a fascination for horse hair (are there such people??) should go to Castle Cary and District Museum which has a considerable display relating to the craft. Anyone who wants something to eat should go to The White Hart or the 15th century thatched George Inn, both in the middle of town for pub favourites, or to The Bakehouse for tasty Thai food.
All information correct at the time of writing