Cafe Culture – Taunton’s Top Writing Spots

I love writing out. It gives me a chance to escape from the domestic distractions, even if it’s just a chair in the garden, with my back to the house. The sound of birdsong, the whisper of the breeze in the bamboo and the feel of the sun on my back, all help me relax and enjoy a moment of writing. But I also love cafe culture, which means watching the world go by with a chunk of cake and a hot chocolate. So I combine these great loves and head to cafes to write.

Although there are distractions in a cafe or pub, it still helps me write. We can’t write in isolation, so a bit of people watching is good for the soul. Plus, by taking that time out with my laptop or often just a pencil and paper, I’m declaring it time to write. I put two or so hours on the clock and get going and come away having achieved something. And it doesn’t feel like work, when you’re in a cafe.

I urge you to give cafe writing a try. Keep a notebook in your bag or use your smartphone. If you’re meeting a friend in town, why not turn up an hour early and get some writing done, while you wait? Writers Anon is based in Taunton, Somerset, so here are my top writing spots for Taunton:

The Castle Hotel Bar

In the centre of Taunton, the Castle Hotel is in the prettiest part of town, forming the historic Castle Green. Once the site of a Norman fortress, the hotel is draped in wisteria in summer and the interior has the feel of a medieval library – ideal for writers. On sunny days, the walled garden is perfect for a scribbling session. It’s not used very much, so tends to be quiet. The bar serves food, cake, afternoon tea and all sorts of drinks, so you can stay here all day.

Castle Hotel Taunton

Good for: Period charm, hot chocolate, coffee and cocktails. Friendly. Open late.

Cons: Can get noisy with groups in the evening.

WiFi: Yes

The Shed

The Shed is Taunton’s only riverside cafe. It’s cute, friendly and has lovely views, with a seating area outside, for sunny days. It serves cake, cafe fare and drinks, including cider. It gets rammed and noisy with yummy mummies at lunch time. Best time to go is after 2pm, but it closes at 4ish, so you only get a couple of hours. They have nice, dreamy music, on low, so no distractions, once it’s quiet.

The Shed Taunton

Tea cosies and smarties at The Shed

Good for: A room with a view, quiet after lunch. Nice soup.

Cons: A hot spot for yummy mummies, with kids. Not open on Sundays.

WiFi: Yes

The New Mill

A refurb of the old Bathpool Inn, The New Mill has a lovely atmosphere and a nice food menu. It’s got tweed-clad chairs, an open fire and lots of nooks. It’s really popular for Sunday lunch, so avoid if you get distracted by people watching.

Good for: open fires and comfy chairs. Food and drink.

Cons: music and speakers in every corner. Bad coffee. Busy on Sundays. Out of town.

WiFi: No

Coffee #1

Coffee #1 is a small, British cafe chain, with a great atmosphere. Leather sofas, gentle jazz music, good coffee and hot chocolate, plus cookies and cakes. It gets really busy, so get there early to snag the best seat, which is at the back, by the ornamental fireplace, or one of the window seats (rarely available).

Coffee #1 Taunton

Best seat by the log pile

Good for: people watching and good cafe drinks and cakes. Open every day. Ethical trading and not being a US monster chain.

Cons: no decent food for lunch, other than panini.

WiFi: No

Taunton Library Cafe

Taunton Library Cafe  is catered by the Castle Hotel, as is the Somerset Museum cafe. If you like things to be quiet, but don’t want to feel like you’re studying for exams, then this is the place to come. Grab a drink and a snack and hunker down without distractions. Plus it’s good to support your library. Use it or lose it.

Taunton Library cafe

Art and peace at Taunton Library cafe

Good for: quiet and research resources. Open til 7pm on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Cons: Too quiet for some. Closed on Sundays.

Where are you based and what are the top writing spots in your town? Let us know in the comments to help your fellow writers get out there and start scribbling away from their desk.

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7 thoughts on “Cafe Culture – Taunton’s Top Writing Spots

  1. Cafes are great. Nothing better than a Melbourne, Brunswick St, cafe writing session. High backed soft leather booths wide enough so that you can sit comfortably in the half-lotus position. Soft jazz, the rattle of tram cars, the hiss of rain-slicked car wheels, sitting on a pilfered crate smoking blunts in the back alley for a break and ordering tortellini carbonara and home made pumpkin ice-cream for desert. Savoring the delicious feeling of the entire world beckoning, but paling miserably in comparison to the one inside.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sounds like they stole their vibe from European cafes 😉
      Some Amsterdam cafes, that I spent my teens in, would give Melbourne a run for its money – and not a hipster in sight.

      Liked by 1 person

      • What that part of Melbourne is like nowdays, who knows. Haven’t been there for years. But fond memories of growing up in the area, and then working locally at various cafes, before it became “gentrified.” It’s probably barely recognizable these days. I’m sure Amsterdam is great, but it wasn’t about the weed for me. It was my hood.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I was in Melbourne this time last year and it was very hipster. Achingly cool, but still lovely.
        Ref. Amsterdam, you can’t smoke weed in cafes, you’re thinking of coffee shops – totally different thing 🙂
        And I echo your sentiments on Melbourne for Amsterdam – I haven’t been there since I was at uni. Might be very different.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, it would be nice to get home for the hols this year. I would make a beeline for Brunswick Street to see if any of my old haunts are still up and running.

        Like

  2. My favourite place to write in Taunton is the library, although I sit in the study area by the reference books and not the café. I prefer the study area as you get these little booths to use, although I’d dispute that it’s an uneventful place to work though…

    The other Saturday I was in there and was editing away quite happily until this one man decided to have a conversation using his iPad on speaker. It’s amazing how tolerant the British public is because no-one said anything for quite a while till it was realised this man was not going to finish anytime soon, then he was really rude to everyone before leaving.

    On the same afternoon as the iPad incident, a lady managed to put her back out, cue several staff and other library people including me, trying to help her before calling for an ambulance. The unfortunate lady was eventually wheeled out on a stretcher accompanied by two paramedics. As they wheeled her out of the building she could be heard repeating ‘This is so embarrassing; I only came in to work on my dissertation…’

    So there you go… the library, not as quiet as you’d think. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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