Move over Cotswolds – it’s so pre-pandemic. England’s elite are flocking to Bruton, the “Notting Hill of the west”, says local Catherine Fairweather in Air Mail. The bucolic Somerset town is “the stuff of millennial fantasy… Rustic pastimes like open-fire cooking, spoon-whittling and foraging have become more popular than wild Friday nights”.
Places of note Head to Hauser & Wirth for top-notch contemporary art exhibitions, a farm shop and a Piet Oudolf-designed garden. Godminster cheddar is produced locally: visit the maker’s shop for the classic wax-wrapped cheese and elderflower vodka. Cabbages & Roses, a boutique set up by a former Vogue journalist, has popped up on the chichi high street. The Newt hotel offers floristry, foraging and cider workshops, as well as “bee safaris”. The surrounding countryside is perfect for walking – pass by the 18th-century watchtower, which is linked by ley lines to Glastonbury Tor and Mont-Saint-Michel in northern France.
Famous faces Stella McCartney, Sam and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Alice Temperley, Don McCullin, Mariella Frostrup, Ben Goldsmith, George Osborne, Gabriella Wilde and Nicholas Cage.
To eat Local delights include mozzarella from the county’s buffalo herd and rosé from vineyards near Glastonbury. Chef Merlin Labron-Johnson is a “wizard, conjuring magic out of marrows” – his restaurant, Osip, has a Michelin star. He also has a deli, the Old Pharmacy. At the Chapel does great wood-fired pizzas: pick up some sourdough from the bakery on the way out. Or while away an afternoon on the terrace at Hauser & Wirth’s Roth Bar & Grill.
1 To stay
The simpler but no less splendid sibling of the Newt hotel, Farmyard opened earlier this month, just in time for summer staycations. A “ramshackle collection of derelict farm buildings”, 20 minutes’ walk from the main house, has been turned into a relaxed but luxurious 17-room hotel with a pool, yoga, live jazz, croquet, badminton and a restaurant. Look out for Garden Lates – lakeside picnics by candlelight. Doubles from £950 for two nights, B&B.
2 To rent
Six-bedroom Durslade Farmhouse is in the Hauser & Wirth gallery’s grounds and is decked out with works from its collection. It has plenty of entertaining space and a Smeg range in the kitchen, although the Roth Bar & Grill can provide catering if needed. From £350 a night on weekdays or £1,500 at the weekend, when there’s a minimum two-night stay.
3 To Airbnb
Mill Forge is a secluded cottage on a quiet lane near Bruton’s pretty high street. It sleeps five in three bedrooms and has a range oven, a freestanding bath, a garden, parking for two cars and a wood-burner for colder months. From £485 for two nights.
4 To buy
The Old Forge is a characterful four-bedroom house on the high street, with off-road parking, outbuildings and a landscaped garden. It has a country kitchen with an Aga, a breakfast room and a Juliet balcony in the ensuite main bedroom. £750,000.