To break up the motorway journey how about a stop off at the small Somerset market town of Wellington, which is situated between the Blackdown Hills and the River Tone, just a stone's throw North of the M5. The town has a rich past harking back to Anglo-Saxon times. Wellington became involved in the cloth-making industry after much of the town was bebuilt in 1731 due to a major fire. In 1809, Arthur Wellesley (1st Duke of Wellington) took the title of his Marquessate from the town. The Wellington Monument on nearby Wellington Hill was erected in the nineteenth century to celebrate the Duke's victory at the Battle of Waterloo.
The Wellington Museum is a small family-friendly museum with a collection that chronicles the town's rich history. The museum is part-housed in a 17th century inn and looks at the connections that Wellington has to the Duke of Wellington, the wool industry and the development of the town and the surrounding landscape. Also of interest is how Wellington was the location of Fox Fowler & Co. Bank - the last provincial bank in England and Wales to issue its own banknotes. The bank has one of these notes on display as well as a 'then & now' display which compares old photos of the town to corresponding present-day examples.
Built to commemorate the Duke of Wellington's victory at Waterloo over Napoleon, the Wellington Momument stands tftft6 m. From the Monument visitors can see across the Blackdown Hills, Taunton Vale and out across Exmoor. The walk from the car park is along a beech-lined avenue and there are places for a picnic around the Monument.
Address: Wellington Monument, Wellington, Somerset TA21 9PA
Telephone: 07977596108 (This number will take you through to volunteers who run the tours and is available 10-4 on days the tours are running).
Email: Send email
Website: Wellington Monument (National Trust)
Directions from M5: At M5 junction 26 exit towards Wellington. Turn right onto Gerbestone Lane, then left onto Ford Street after 0.9 miles. Ford Street becomes Hemyock. After 1.0 mile turn right at Blackdown Hill. The car park is a mile on the right.
Admission times: Tours of the monument run from April - September. Tours are 10-4 on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Booking is essential. Please make sure you arrive 30 minutes before the start of your session as it takes 15 minutes to walk from the car park to the Monument. Check-in at the National Trust van as soon as you arrive.
Admission charges: £5 per person. Tickets can be booked via the website. Children must be over a height of 1m.
Accessibility: There are 232 steps up a small spiral staircase so bear this in mind when booking. Children over a height of 1m are welcome.
Pets policy: Pets are not permitted inside the monument.
Wellesley Art Deco Cinema
The Wellesey Cinema on Wellington's Mantle Street is a single-screen cinema built in the art deco style with a capacity of 400. Opened in 1937, the cinema was designed be West Country architect Edward de Wilde Holding who also designed the Tivoli Theatre in Wimborne Minster, Dorset and The Cerdic in Chard, Somerset. Thankfully the cinema was preserved by the Wellesley Trust in the 1970s, which means that it remains a virtually original and rare example of a 1930s single-sreen cinema. The venue has full stage facilities and perioically hosts live stage shows. The Wellesey is now part of the Merlin Cinemas Group.
Address: Wellesley Cinema, 50 Mantle Street, Wellington, Somerset TA21 8AU
Telephone: 01823 666668
Website: Wellesley Cinema
Tickets & prices: See website for details.
Parking: There is on-street parking along Mantle Street on both sides of the road and a Pay & Display Car Park is located on Fore Street approximately a 2 minute walk away from the cinema. It’s free after 6PM Monday to Saturday and free all day on Sundays.
Accessibility: There are five steps with handrail to the main foyer which gives access to the Box Office and Main Kiosk, Stalls seating, and a Unisex Disabled person Toilet. There is a wheelchair lift which can be accessed by request from the adjacent street level entrance.
Disabled toilet: Yes
Infrared Hearing Aid/Induction Loop: Yes
Art Deco Tour
If Art Deco is your thing then you might like the Art Deco Tour of London by leading London tour operator London Country Tours. Visit the main art deco attractions in Central London and also visit the amazing Eltham Palace, which is an eclectic mix of medieval and Art Deco deisgn.
Directions to Wellington from M5: At M5 junction 26 exit towards Wellington (A38). After 0.3 miles at the roundabout take the 2nd exit. After 0.9 miles at the Chelston Roundabout take the 2nd exit onto Taunton Road/B3187. Go through one roundabout and at the next roundabout take the 1st exit and stay on Taunton Road (B3187). After 0.4 miles take Scott's Lane into Wellington.
Website: Visit Somerset
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