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      25.07.2010 22:45
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      A visitors guide to taunton

      I have now lived in Taunton for four years now and I moved here from Minehead as it is ideally located next to the M5. Taunton is famous for the following one of the Wurzels lives here, Somerset Cricket club, many array of ciders, The Castle Hotel for instance. There is quite a wonderful heritage of old buildings and the oldest building now houses Cafe Nero. You walk around the streets and you can discover the oldest buildings which are delightful. Taunton is great for shopping and the old traditional shopping centre is in place where all the shops are located on the streets. Now and again there is continental markets held and every week there is a farmer market located. Taunton has great transport links which enables train rides to Bristol and london very quickly. Also there are plans for the west somerset railway to end its journey in taunton. On the edge of Taunton 40 commando marines can be found which originally this used to be an army base. Taunton has expanded over the years and more housing is planned but it is still a quiet town and each year the council applys for the best kept town. In the centre and the roundabouts there is an array of flowers. What the best thing is about taunton you can be on exmoor or The Quantocks or the Blackdown hills within ten minutes

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        13.01.2010 17:03

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        Not bad, just not all that exciting either

        Taunton is the county town of Somerset and not a bad place, but also not really somewhere to jump up and down about and I consider myself qualified to say this as I spent most of my life living in Somerset. It was the type of town we used to visit for a better selection of shops or to go to a decent cinema complex with bowling (just on the outskirts). It has some decent private schools and the Castle Hotel is also somewhere woth a visit. This is where Gary Rhodes made his debut. Taunton is however home of Somerset cricket and so this attracts many visitors, as does the cattle market held once a week which attracts local farmers from all over the county and beyond. It is a lot more exciting and upmarket than Yeovil, but it is a bit like a rough diamond and needs a bit more sparkle.

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        26.10.2009 23:51
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        Read review.

        **Introduction** When I was coming up to 500 reviews I had a think about what review I would do to mark my 500 milestone of reviews. I then decided to review my home town of Taunton which I have lived in apart from six years of my life when I lived in Yeovil between the ages of 2 and 8. When had decided I was reviewing Taunton I wanted to do something a little different to the 5 reviews already on here for Taunton. Obviously there will be some things which will obviously be similar when talking about the town but anyway here is my review of Taunton. **County Town** Taunton is the County Town of Somerset which means it is the base of the Somerset County Council with the offices at County Hall, The Crescent. There are a total of 58 Councillors at the offices. Taunton is separated into six divisions which are as follows Taunton East; Taunton Fairwater; Taunton North; Taunton South; Taunton West and Taunton and Trull. Currently there are five Liberal Democrat Councillors and One Conservative Councillor in Taunton. The River Tone runs through the town. **Industry** Up until recently Taunton had a huge reputation for Cider production but There's not too much industry here since Taunton Cider moved but there is a Debenhams office here which is opposite County Hall and Taunton also has the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office which has 850 staff and is part of the Ministry of Defence. Taunton has links with it's twinned towns Lisieux In France, Koenigslutter in Germany and of course Taunton in Massachusetts across the Pond. **Sport** Taunton's County Ground has a rich Cricket tradition with success in the 1970's thanks to Ian Botham, Joel Garner and Viv Richards amongst others. Over the past few years they have had some of the best batting talent in the world line up for Somerset. Ricky Ponting, Graeme Smith and currently former Australian opener Justin Langer has made a great partnership with Marcus Trecothick for Somerset's batting line up. Taunton Tigers are the Basketball team in the Town and are Coached by my former P.E Teacher Ronnie Heath. The Tigers play at Wellsprings Leisure Centre, which has a capacity of 500 seats and are currently in English Basketball League Men's Division 1 after rising in the last few years to be one of the strongest town teams in Semi Professional Basketball in England. Taunton Town FC play in the Southern League Division One South & West and their home ground is Wordsworth Drive. They have been in the shadows of Yeovil Town since their beginning thanks to the modest means of the ownership. The Club really needs a bigger investor to reach it's potential. I would love to invest if I had the money as it could be as good as Yeovil Town with their rich FA Cup Giant killing history. **Schools and Colleges** There are plenty of good Schools in Taunton especially at Secondary Level with St Augustine's, Bishop Foxes, Ladymead and Castle. There's also the three Posh schools Taunton School, Queens and Kings which are very expensive boarding schools. The two colleges in Taunton have both acheived acclaim from around the Country. SCAT and Richard Huish both have excellent Sports schemes and there are plenty of courses on offer for just about any subject at the two colleges. Richard Huish is a sixth form. **Health and Safety** The Musgrove Park Hospital is a pretty good Hospital all round which although has received small criticism in some areas has been praised overall. The Town is pretty safe with a good police force and excellent emergency services which respond very quickly. I have only heard of a few examples of real trouble in the last few years so It is a pretty safe place to live compared to some places. I have sat in the Magistrates Court and heard a case when I was at school as part of an ESP lesson. Not Extra Sensory Perception as my Mum thought but Essential Skills Program. **Shopping** As you would expect from the County Town, Taunton has a decent array of well known shops like HMV, New Look, Debenhams, Sports Direct, JJB, Thorntons and all the phone shops etc. There's also a decent out of town shopping area with Halfords, Currys, Comet, PC World, Staples, Office World etc. There are also a good few Local stores which sell local produce, You will find Morrisons, Tesco, Asda and two Sainsbury's stores as well as numerous Tesco Express stores around Taunton. **Entertainment** Every larger sized town must have it's fair share of Entertainment and there is plenty here for many people. There's the 8 screen Odeon cinema which is about 100m away from Hollywood Bowl. There's also the Brewhouse Theatre which has a wide range of plays and music performances on all year round. Taunton also has a decent range of Clubs like Perfect 5th, Shout, Dellers and Mambo as well as the Wetherspoons/Lloyds Perkin Warbeck and Coal Orchard and a few decent local pubs and pub chains around the place. There are a few nice restaurants with Zizzi's and Prezzo being the poshest and most expensive. **Parks** Every town needs their Parks and There are a number of large sized parks in Taunton starting with the huge Vivary Park which also has a Golf Course next door and a Bowling Green and Tennis Courts. You also have Hamilton Road Park and Cheddon Road Park which both boast large playing fields as well as Victoria Park. Football pitches, Basketball and Tennis courts are all here in these Parks. I generally find all the Parks to be maintained well by the Council and there's generally not much trouble. **Gym's and Sports Centres** I mentioned Sport and now onto Gyms and Sports Centres and There are four Leisure Centres in Taunton, Blackbrook Pavillion, Wyvern and Wellsprings Leisure Centre as well as Castle School Sports Centre which is next to the school. There's also the huge Gym chain Esporta as well as a number of smaller Gyms spread around the Town. There are also two decent Swimming Pools with Taunton Pool and St James' Pool. **Notable Tauntononians** As with every Largish town There are a few famous people who either were born in Taunton or have lived here. These are some of them. Lee Martin (Ex Manchester United player now with Ipswich). Jenny Agutter and Pattie Boyd who was married to George Harrison and Eric Clapton (Not at the same time). Deborah Meaden of Dragons Den fame and former England Rugby coach Andy Robinson. **Travel** There are plenty of buses for the surrounding towns and villages and there are regular coaches to London courtesy of Berry's and of course National Express who go just about anywhere. You will also find the Train Station which offers regular trains around the country. With easy access to the M5 Taunton is also handy if you are going somewhere like London or Birmingham. People often come through here when they are making their way somewhere. **Overall** Taunton has been my Home Town for most of my nearly 25 years and I like living here, It has plenty of things to do and it is generally a pleasant place to live. I would recommend coming to visit sometime if you are ever in the Area and there are a few of us Dooyooers here so why not look us up. It has good access to the Motorway and the only problem with the roads is the strange cobble like road in the picture in the centre and of course all the traffic lights everywhere. Apart from that it's a very nice place to live and has a good future if you want to bring up children thanks to the good schools and colleges.

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          15.06.2009 17:56
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          A town that is in real need of sprucing up - but its population is growing substantially

          After reading a previous review I think I need to write something myself about Taunton I was born there and lived in Taunton until about 8 years ago when I moved down to Plymouth - apart from 2 years spent studying in Coventry. Taunton is the county town of Somerset and it is very much linked to its market and farming traditions as it's totally surrounded by farmland. Nighlife is pretty much non-existant apart from many bars and a nighclub situated across the road from the railway station. It has 1 main road strewn with shops - but is split into sections (by road names - from station road to north street, to east street to east reach - but it is one continuous road) and off of it is the High Street which links to Vivary Park which is an attractive area to visit. Situated right next to Vivary Park is my own personal favourite part of the town - a public golf course owned and run by the local council. It's a very attractive course but not for the feint hearted as fairways run side by side and it seemed quite a regular occurrence for the odd ball to whistle past your ears as you were heading down your own fairway. One of the many attractions is the county museum located near to the bus station and contains artefacts that reflect Taunton's past as a strong point for the Monmouth rebellion and Judge Jefferies bloody asizes. It is ideally situated for those travelling to London - approximately 2 hours by train, and for many other areas such as Exeter, Bristol and Birmingham all within reasonable travel times. Housing prices are moderate and its an area well worth considering as a base for travel across the South West. For fanatics Taunton is the home of Somerset cricket and has seen the likes of Ian Botham, Viv Richards, Joel Garner and many others as star players and many a six has landed in the River Tone situated alongside the ground and the main market car park across the road. In the years of Ian Botham, Viv Richards and Joel Garner my father whose organ works (Osmonds) now closed regularly had a supply of cricket balls smashing windows and landing within its grounds. I still go back there from time to time as I still have family members living in the town, but it is not a place I would want to live in again. It is certainly worth a visit or for someone who is seriously considering commuting.

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          28.01.2009 19:49

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          one of my friends lives in taunton now and i've been down to visit her a couple of times. it's situated well, just off the m5 which is very useful for travelling back and forth. the town itself is quite pretty, but a little outdated. the nightlife is mediocre at best, it has to be said, with a wetherspoons and a lloyds bar making up most of the entertainment. the housing prices are fairly steady, and there is a variety of places to eat and drink, and the high street has a good selection of shops. with a lick of paint and a few art sculptures taunton could come out of the 80s and really give bristol and places a run for their money. If you're looking for somewhere cheap to stay there are a good selection of Travelodges within a few minutes of the town centre, and everywhere is walkable, which is a plus! [originally posted at www.helphound.com]

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          03.01.2009 23:36
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          Great place to live or visit!

          I have lived in Taunton for almost Two years now. It has alot to offer people both for visits, holidays or as their residential town. It has great scenery with Vivary park a stones throw from the town centre, and a great night life for people of all ages. The town is good for shopping with many big high street names to chose from and also small local shops specialising in an aray of interesting genres! Eating out in Taunton is always a treat with many fine establishments to choose from. Ranging from fine cuisine for that Romantic meal - to MacDonalds to keep the children happy! Taunton also has a wide assortment of Pubs, Bars and Clubs to visit. Nights out in Taunton are often very eventful. As for living in Taunton - it is a townt hat appears to have it all. Great housing areas, private schools and health service! A brilliant plave to live or visit! Sheppys Cinder farm is a place you must visit ;)

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            03.01.2009 22:25
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            Good shopping, entertainment and night life

            I currently live in Taunton and all i can say is there are certainly worse places to live! Taunton is host to a good shopping centre with an array of well known high street stores as well as some independant ones that can be found down side streets. The Shopping centre consists of one long street broken up by a round about in the centre and also two other streets. As well as shopping Taunton is host to several public houses including a weatherspoons which is extremely popular due to the cheap prices of food and drink. The night life consists of the several pubs and two night clubs, Shout and Dellas Wharf. There are two major car parks in Taunton which are both central to the shopping centre. On the outskirts of Taunton there is a large ten screen odeon cinema ,a hollywood bowl and MacDonalds all in the same area, great entertainment complex. Taunton is a good place to visit for shopping, entertainment and night life. Very much recommended.

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              05.10.2002 18:44
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              I first visited Taunton last April and within a couple of hours I fell in love with the place. It is hard not to. I have lived here now for a couple of months and my love affair with Somerset’s county town continues to grow as I discover new side streets and secret places hidden away from the shopping centre and the general hustle and bustle of town life. Relatives have come a-visiting and have all gone away equally impressed with what Taunton has to offer, without a shadow of a doubt this town is something special. So what makes it so noteworthy? Let me take you by the hand and introduce you to the place.... First of all, where is it? Well, Taunton is in a fantastic location, remote enough to be considered rural yet being only minutes from the M5 serves as a convenient link to the world beyond. A countryside town with stunning scenery all around, it is still close enough to the coast for a day out at the seaside, indeed Minehead is only 20 minutes or so away with Butlins and all the joy that can provide (hint of sarcasm maybe, but for some this may be a dream holiday..), Bristol is a stones throw up the motorway with its airport to take you to foreign climes and the delights of Devon and Cornwall can be experienced by going the other direction. With the motorway being so close this enables Taunton to be easily reached by car and many National Express coaches stop in the town en-route from Penzance to London or up country, also there is the mainline train which opens up a whole realm of travel opportunities. Taunton itself is situated in a valley on the banks of the River Tone which creates a real focal point for the town and the Quantock and Blackdown hills are surrounding, lovely walking country (or driving if you are lazy like me!!). The town takes advantage of the natural beauty of the river and has miles of riverside walks and parkland dotted with mature trees, benches placed strategically to encourage you to rest awhile and enj oy the view. Doubtlessly you will be joined by a happy gang of local ducks who in their droves swim up and down looking for people with bags of old bread, or perhaps the family of swans - mum, dad and their 5 cygnets, who grace the waters and please the crowds. Further downstream where it is quieter you will spot coot and herons, perhaps even the odd kingfisher and water vole, all within a short walk of the town centre. There is also the Bridgewater to Taunton Canal which provides another excuse to get your walking shoes on, binoculars around your neck and a packed lunch in your backpack. Taunton is a very historical place, first settled by King Ine of Wessex in 700AD, he thought it would be a nice place to build a fort so that is what he did, obviously before the days of planning permission! From the year 904 the town grew rapidly, a market was established and industry began, mainly wool bringing money into Taunton. The Monmouth rebellion occurred here with much hanging, drawing and quartering going on . There was also a battle here during the War of the Roses and a siege of the town during the Civil War, the place just oozes history! Fortunately many of the old buildings still remain in the town, a startling contrast to the new modern buildings, often you can walk around a street corner and be amazed by the history that you can find. Take for instance the old Gray’s Almshouses just off the town centre in East Street, they date back to 1635 yet survived that Civil War siege when the area all around was destroyed. Churches are a brilliant example of the wonderful architecture here, particularly St Mary Magdalene Church, this church can be seen from the town centre looking down Hammet Street and it forms a perfect picture, 163ft of reddish stone with extraordinary details and carvings, built in 1488 it is quite breathtaking. Even a real heathen could not fail to be impressed! Take a look inside and prepare to be captivated by the decoration, a ceiling of stars, simply beautiful. Other church spires and towers can be seen across the town and most are extremely eye-catching, including St James. Another stunning piece of architecture is Castle Bow, an ancient gateway covered in greenery, the only remnant of the outer castle and town walls. Little lanes criss-cross the town, cobbled alleyways and walk throughs, quaint gift shops and coffee houses just waiting to be discovered. When you walk through some of these lanes you feel as though you are walking through part of history, for instance Whirlgig Lane by St Mary Magdalene Church, all very atmospheric and ancient. The town centre itself is a delight to shop in, it is an attractive town, usually entered into Britain in Bloom, hanging baskets everywhere and planters full of bright flowers. The centre is only partly pedestrianised but there are ample pedestrian crossings throughout, there are also undercover shopping arcades. What about the shops themselves? A good selection? Without doubt. There is virtually every shop that you could wish for, for entertainment and recreation you have Waterstones (a definite must-have when you are a student!), Virgin (another must!!), MVC, Game, Blockbusters and countless others, for clothes you have Debenhams, GAP, River Island, Edinburgh Woollen Mill and millions more, there really is nothing lacking in Taunton’s shop department. With regards to food you can go for a McDonalds, Wimpy, Burgerking, Kentucky, Pizza or how about visiting one of the many independent bistros or cafes. Or how about a cup of coffee at Starbucks or Costa. For big time food shopping you are really spoilt for choice - Asda, Tesco (both of these are 24 hour stores), Marks and Spencers, Sainsburys (2 to choose from!), Safeways, Lidls (2 of those as well!) or if that isn’t enough, how about a smashing little independent grocer in the town centre called Country Stores who sells things on the unusual side as well as your expected tins of beans. Woolworths, B&Q, shoe shops, mobile phone shops, butchers, bakers, candlestick makers... you name it, you will find it in Taunton. What else has Taunton up it’s sleeve? Howzabout cricket? Taunton is home to the Somerset Cricket Club, close to the town centre, as well as being a place to sit and watch those men in white walking around for hours not appearing to do very much (not the worlds biggest cricket fan I’m afraid!) you can visit the museum there to see their collection of photos and memorabilia. The main Taunton Museum is in the remains of the 12th Century castle, somewhere I must get around to visiting, it is on my list of things to do! If theatre is more your thing pop along to the Brewhouse theatre where Sooty will be playing shortly! More famous faces and more adult productions are constantly being preformed as well though for the more discerning audience! One of my favourite places to go is Vivary Park, you enter through an impressive set of medieval gates and are immediately hit by the sense of tranquility and peace. Lots of wide open space, mature trees, no sign of litter, picnic benches, quacky ducks, aviary, bandstand, island, fountains, boating lake, childrens park, ice-cream van, miniature golf, this park has it all. A true haven, this is what life used to be like (so my mother told me!) The gardens are spectacular and very well maintained, vandalism is at a minimum and it is a perfect place to stretch out on the grass and just chill out. In early August the park hosts the ‘Chelsea of the West’, vast marquees of flowers and plants, and throughout the summer the ‘Concert in the Park’ nights are very popular. Any more things of note in Taunton? The Old Market Centre is worth a look, full of little shops, notably Thorntons! Also Bath Place, more quaint little ‘shoppes’ with unusual wares and crafts, also a very good boo kshop, Brendan Books. Farmers Market, every last Thursday of the month, lots of sampling going on, lots of nice aromas too! Taunton is famous for its local wine, herbs and cheese, also of course its cider! Fishing - lots of fishermen and women and children take advantage of the proximity of the river and canal, they must catch something or they would give up and go home. Cycle paths - Taunton has a huge network of cycle paths keeping the cyclist as safe as possible on the roads, there are paths alongside the river and canal as well which link up different parts of the town, the number of people who cycle here is enormous. Swimming - Taunton has 2 main pools, one older one at St James which is nicely traditional and the new modern Taunton pool Tennis - there is an indoor tennis centre here as well as various outdoor courts throughout the town including Vivary Park Golf - as well as the miniature golf in Vivary Park there is also a large course alongside with clubhouse facilities, all just minutes from the town centre and with lovely scenery. Sports Centres - whatever takes your fancy you will find here, from squash to aerobics, from climbing to badminton, there are plenty of facilities including Castle Sports Centre. Nightlife - there is a thriving nightlife here, many nightclubs and pubs, notably the Coal Orchard and Toads (this information has been passed on to me - at 31 I am passed all that nonsense!!) Attractions - Taunton does not have ‘attractions’ such as theme parks or fun fairs but for children it does have activity centres and opportunities for soft play, just outside of Taunton near Yeovil there is a Motor Museum complete with F1 car which is good for a day out, also Tropiquaria at Watchet which appeals to the little ones and not too far away is Wookey Hole Caves and Butlins at Minehead. Other points to note - parking is relatively easy, lots of car parks includ ing a multi-storey, there is a good tourist information office and the town is easy to navigate..... you can tell I’m impressed with the place can’t you! On the down side (yes, there has to be a down side to everything - Taunton, like most places, is not immune from drug and alcohol abuse, but you have to unfortunately expect that anywhere these days, par for the course it seems - this does little to detract from the appeal of Taunton though). A brief look at places to stay - these are ones I have seen from the outside and thought looked rather nice..... (I previously stayed at the Travelodge here - see previous opinion, and thought it was very nice - although quite a way out of the town). Expensive - The Castle at Taunton - pretty hotel in the middle of the town, lots of AA and RAC awards hence the price! Double room from £150.... might be nice for a honeymoon night but couldn’t afford a whole week! More Reasonable - Corner House Hotel - impressive looking red brick building just 5 minutes walk from town centre, lots of facilities and only £24.50 for a double room per night per person. More Reasonable Still - Brookfield House - Grade II listed building, all your usual facilities for £22.50 per person per night. Budget - Acorn Lodge, little guest house close to town centre, double room is £15 per person per night. Really cheap - tent in Vivary Park... only joking! Of course there are the usual pubs that do B&B for reasonable prices but they tend to be in the outlying villages. There is also a wealth of farm cottages for holiday let, self catering cottages and caravan sites, the tourist information centre would be an excellent source of information. So, for me, Taunton has a bit of everything, character, history, good facilities, a friendly atmosphere, good transport links and excellent educational facilities, it is to be my home for three years whilst I do my nurse training.. ... the question is, will I ever be able to leave?! Accommodation details and other useful phone numbers...... the boring bits... Tourist Information Office 01823 336344 http://www.heartofsomeset.com Somerset County Cricket Ground 01823 272946 Brewhouse Theatre 01823 283244 Somerset County Museum 01823 320201 Haynes Motor Museum 01963 440804 Tropiquaria 01984 640688 Wookey Hole Caves 01749 672243 Castle at Taunton 01823 272671 Corner House Hotel 01823 284683 Brookfield House 01823 272786 Acorn Lodge 01823 337613 PS. Did I remember to tell you about the best ever pasties sold by Warrens in the Old Market - to die for!!!

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