If you think Glasto is the place to be for festivals in Somerset, think again. Shepton Mallet is up there with the best of them. OK you might not get to see the Foo Fighters falling off the stage but how about the Shepton Mallet Snowdrop Festival, in which thousands of flowers (no prizes for guessing what sort) are planted across the town. In May/early June catch the brilliant Royal Bath & West Show or in August, a similar agricultural shindig takes place - the Mid-Somerset Show. In between these, the town also hosts the local Collet festival. And look....if you feel like rocking out.....Glastonbury is just down the road.
Festivals aside, Shepton Mallet has got lots of things to see and do. This small market town dates back to Roman times and is home to Britains oldest prison - thankfully now closed to inmates and open to the public. Walk through the Grade II listed building and see how life behind bars used to be 400 years ago. Outside the dungeon-like interior, you can wander the narrow streets of the town centre and get a look at the high prison walls.
In total there are 218 listed buildings in the town including a 10th century church. The market cross dates back to the 1500's. However, there is another, more modern appeal to Shepton Mallet. For years the town was the centre of production for Mulberry fashion house, and this former factory is now an upmarket outlet village, selling top brands at low prices. It's a great place to go even for anti-shoppers; the pretty walled gardens behind the outlet house next to Charlton Viaduct house a lovely cafe and nursery gardens to walk around.
Set in the countryside between Wells and Frome, Shepton Mallet is well worth a visit.
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