3 Of The Best Cafes in South Somerset
I rarely need an excuse to investigate a new place for coffee. However, a personal recommendation and the arrival of a new book with lots of great suggestions, lead me to South Somerset recently. Having already tried out two others nearby, it seemed a good opportunity to put together a list of three of the best cafes in South Somerset.
Driving to the West Country on the A303 near Chard and Ilminster means leaving behind typical service stations. If you want a nice place to stop you need to be in the know before you set off. Locals have already proved these are popular choices.
The Railway Café at the Trading Post Farm Shop
Just 5 minutes off the A303 Ilminster bypass at Lopen, this café (restaurant) and farm shop are not even sign posted!
Locals don’t seem to have any problem finding it though! So don’t be fooled, make sure you book a table.
The cafe really is a great find and pretty unique. Seating is in one old railway carriage, an old double decker bus as well as large communal tables in a lean too off the bus. There’s a dressing up corner for children as well as large outside area with tables, plus a space for stretching your legs with lovely views across the Somerset countryside.
We went for lunch and the food was fantastic. Fresh, largely vegetarian and very tasty. The delicious looking homemade cakes and coffee were very tempting but we just didn’t have room for more.
If you’ve not got time to sit down, then the farm shop next door has a counter full of lovely looking pies and pasties, fresh bread and all sorts of other delightful food. Directions and details to Pips Railway carriage here.
Jordans Courtyard at Monks Yard
Opened in the summer of 2018, Jordans Courtyard has taken the place of the old Monks Yard Cafe which is just off the A303 at Horton Cross, the Chard / Ilminster / Taunton roundabout.
I was recommended Jordans Courtyard (no apostrophe!) and it was a lovely place to meet. Easy to find and plenty of parking.
Staff at Jordons were friendly and efficient and the cake first class. We enjoyed a very nice butternut squash cake (like a carrot cake) and an almond and raspberry friand.
It is located in the building of the old Monks Yard cafe. I have to admit that it’s been a while since I visited the previous cafe and to be honest if you hadn’t told me I wouldn’t have known it had changed hands. The team running Monks Yard has moved across the road to bigger premises.
One reason for visiting this cafe was because I spotted it in a lovely book I’ve been sent. It’s called The Extra Mile and is all about cafes, pubs and farm shops that are just off the main roads around the UK. Perfect for when you can’t face another awful busy soul-less motorway service station.
As I live pretty close to the M5 and the A303 I think I will have no problem trying out a few more of the recommendations even it I’m not actually going anywhere!
Jordans Courtyard also has spa treatment rooms, a gift shop and runs classes. They have another cafe called Kitchen at the Wharf in Langport as well as it’s own bakery.
F.east near Ilminster
I have already posted about this cafe but it deserves another mention in my round up. F.east is also just off the A303 at Horton’s Cross, heading towards Ilminster. This cafe is perfect for anyone specifically looking for vegetarian, vegan or gluten free food of which there is a really great range. Set upstairs in an old Victorian industrial building it is full of character. There are also art and crafts on display as well as courses run in the same building. You can find F.east at the Rose Mills Industrial Estate, Ilminster.
Enjoy Coffee and Cake with the Locals
So I hope you have to time to try out some of these suggestions.
I was sent a complimentary copy of the book – The Extra Mile by Laura Callacott and Alistair Sawday, which prompted me to write this round up. It covers great independent places no more than 15 minutes drive off the motorways and main routes across the UK. I’ve seen it also lists my local Millers Farm Shop, River Cottage and previously reviewed The Coffee Factory as well.
I love it when my readers recommend places to try, so feel free to message me with your favourite coffee and cake stops or days out. I think I am really going to enjoy continuing my research with help from this book as well!