Every now and then the stars align, and the two of us both have a weekend off at the same time. In a more remarkable twist, a couple of friends of ours from up in Bristol were also off that weekend as well. Being very aware that we hadn’t had the greatest record of going away with the Little One lately, we decided to meet up halfway between Exeter and Bristol. After a brief search for ideas*, we settled on exploring Fyne Court, a National Trust property between Taunton and Bridgewater.
Fyne Court is a hidden gem in the heart of the Quantock Hills. Explore this wild garden, looking out for the boathouse and folly.
The estate was the home of the Crosse family who lived here until the house was destroyed by fire in 1894. Discover how the fire started and find out where the house used to stand on one of our eye opener tours.
Putting it simply: Fyne Court is a beautiful secret, hidden somewhere in Somerset.
Finding this place was an interesting journey. It probably didn’t help that due to navigation “issues” we took the scenic route, but the scenic route included views of the gorgeous Quantock Hills, a pheasant, and a doe (baby deer) jumping into the road.
The parts of Fyne Court that we explored (we followed a shorter route) was a small forest, nestled in a sheltered part of Somerset. (Although a quick look online, confirms that Fyne court stretches out a fair bit more). Just next to the car park you will find the the visitors centre, and a small cafe. The cafe seems to sell “light lunches”, as well as a great selection of cakes, and hot and cold drinks. Our Little One made a beeline for the chocolate crispie cakes they had on sale there. Quality wise, it is a National Trust cafe, it is high quality.
After topping up our energy levels on hot chocolate, and chocolate crispie cakes, we set off to explore Fyne Court via their “20 minute” walking route. It probably takes 20 minutes for normal walkers, with a couple of little people it took longer, but the path was easy enough and didn’t present any particular problems. (Well the 13 month old presented some issues with a nappy, but that’s a different matter).
There was fun for the three year olds, in the form of a tree trunk to walk along/climb on and wooden musical instruments along the route, and a spotter sheet to help keep them engaged along the route. My personal highlight of the walk was the “sky glade”, an area that encouraged you to stop, look up, and take in the sky above.
We took advantage of one of the many picnic spots available. The one we stopped at being next to a duck pond which provided plenty of amusement for the little ones with us.
If you’re in the Somerset area, I would recommend checking out Fyne Court – but make sure your navigator is paying attention when you go there… (And yes – it is free entry)
After arranging to meet up with some good friends halfway between Exeter, and Bristol, Mrs Sofa and I asked a few people what we could do in that area. Mrs Sofa heard via a huge local mums Facebook group, about “The O Bridge” in Taunton.
The O Bridge is a Brewers Faye pub, with a massive soft play area, for little ones to generally belt around in. I say massive, it is an impressive sight to see the three floors crammed into the space available. It cost £3 for our little one to enter, with no obvious time limit. In fact the size of it meant that Mrs Sofa ended up diving in, and comfortably helping the Little One around the area. She also made the comment that even at the top level of the soft play, it didn’t feel hot, as she has experienced in other soft plays she’s been to. The toddler area was ideal, with a slide which was easily accessible and didn’t require an adult to squeeze themselves inside, to just enable their child to get up to the slide. The babies had a lovely soft area, with a mirror, which was loved by the 1 year old. Even with two three year olds who aren’t keen on enclosed slides, the amount of ways to go up and down the levels and explore around, was enough to keep them happy even when an adult wasn’t following them around. Obviously an adult was never far from them, but it is so nice to be able to allow them space to explore on their own safely.
After an hours worth of play, we became aware of the need for food… and the need not to be in a soft play area… So decided to retire to the more relaxed pub / restaurant section.
We found our new table, and ordered food soon after. This was about 4:30pm, so not crazy late.
Our friends ordered food for themselves and two young children, including a starter for the 1 year old. A few mins later Mrs Sofa orders our families food, and then gets asked if we want ours at the same time as the child’s starter, she gets the waitress to come over and check with our friends, who ask for ALL the food to come out together. Sadly the starter came out on it’s own, and it was only 5 mins after it had been finished with, that the waiter asked whether we were ready for our main meal! Of course we were, there was only one (child’s) starter ordered! It then took another 20 minutes for our food to come out (after I chased it).
The food didn’t just take the best part of an hour to come out, but the main meals for the hungry little ones was served last! The food itself was ok, but not worth the wait.
Simply put, The Brewers Faye, O Bridge in Taunton is good for the play area, but leave and get your meal elsewhere.