Somerset

Brilliant Bookshop: The Snug Bookshop

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Today, I went to Bridgwater to visit the wonderful Snug Bookshop and Cafe. This is a charming bookshop, full of book-ish treats and delights! Light, spacious and inviting, there is certainly something for everyone in this lovely shop- including delicious cake!

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Books are located towards the back of the shop, catering for all ages and tastes. Table displays offer focus on particular themes or highlights; a selection of Judith Kerr books on one, a range of books about the moon and space on another. Everything was beautifully presented and easy to browse.

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It is always a joy to find a fellow book-lover full of enthusiasm and knowledge. This is a shop where you can be sure of good advice and recommendations and a lovely welcome. A steady stream of customers- some obviously regulars- came in whilst I was chatting and browsing.

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Not only does The Snug Bookshop sell new books, it also has an appealing range of well presented second hand book in a room to the right of the main shop. Further tables for the coffee shop were located in this area, giving an uncluttered feel to the whole space.

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The shop also boasts strong relationships with local schools and is keen to support teachers provide the best for their children- and they are lucky to have such a brilliant bookshop nearby!

You can find The Snug Bookshop and Cafe at

7 East Quay, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 5AZ

01278 428469

Guest Post: Perrott Hill Children’s Literary Festival 2018

As I was at Hay all over the half term week, I was really disappointed to miss this wonderful local festival- again! It's going in the diary as a definite next year! Fortunately, we are able to share this lovely write up with everyone. 

Storyteller Martin Maudsley in the woods

Storyteller Martin Maudsley in the woods

Two days, nearly 200 children – and a conga led by a storyteller with a ukulele… It can only be the return of the Perrott Hill Children’s Literary Festival at Perrott Hill Prep School near Crewkerne. The event, which took place during half term and was sponsored this year by Old Mill Accountants and Financial Planners, saw children attending from schools all over the South West, including Hinton St George, Merriott, Broadwindsor, Manor Park, Chilthorne Domer, Maiden Beech, Taunton School and Colyton Grammar School, to name a few. The children, ranging from Year 1 up to Year 8, enjoyed a range of inspirational workshops and masterclasses with award-winning authors, poets and storytellers including Ali Sparkes, Cliff McNish, Tamsin Cooke, Martin Maudsley, The Somerset Youth Theatre, The Poetry Slam, our Head of Art, Tabatha Palmer, and Little Toller Books.

Cliff McNish on crafting the perfect story

Cliff McNish on crafting the perfect story

“I loved the stories and music in the woods, which was really exciting,” said Jessica, who is in Year 1 at Broadwindsor Primary School, while her sister Rosie, in Year 4, added: “I loved every minute, especially making new friends.”

Ali Sparkes in the library

Ali Sparkes in the library

“My favourite part was art with Mrs Palmer and meeting Cliff McNish,” said Perrott Hill pupil Harry, who is in Year 5. “I bought all his books afterwards and I’m hoping to get through the whole Doomspell trilogy by the summer so I can write a review.”

A conga around the Front Terrace

A conga around the Front Terrace

“Once again, it was a pleasure to see so many happy and inspired children from a wide range of local schools, all coming together for this celebratory and fun festival,” says Lizzi Gardner, Director of Marketing at Perrott Hill. “One of the highlights for me was the impromptu conga around the Front Terrace during lunch, led by storyteller Martin Maudsley on his ukulele. That’s going to be hard to beat next year – the challenge is on!”

Montacute House

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Montacute House is a wonderful Elizabethan house, set in the beautiful Somerset countryside. Built by Sir Edward Phelips as his place in the country, it was completed in 1601, just before the end of the Elizabethan age. With many glass windows, statues and carvings, it told everyone of his wealth and status- a long way from his more humble upbringing.

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The house is full of wonderful portraits and furniture and boasts the longest 'of its kind' Long Gallery in England. The room guides are very helpful and knowledgeable- obviously very proud of the house and only too willing to share their passion with visitors!

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When we visited, we took a guided walk around the outside of the house. Although it was bitterly cold, our guide was fascinating and told us about some of the research that has been done about the house and its history, the evidence that they have and the conclusions they have reached. She is involved in the educational side of the work done there and, if the tour was anything to go by, the standard offered must be very high!

The gardens surrounding the house are wonderful, offering plenty of space for children to run and play as well as more formal areas to enjoy. You can find out more about Montacute House and the educational visits they offer on the National Trust's website.

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Showing how inspiring places like this can be, in 2010, Montacute House became the setting for Lucy Jago's novel of that name.

Her main character, Cess, works in the chicken coops at Montacute House. Illegitimate and considered strange by others, she is an outcast in the village and things get worse for her on her thirteenth birthday when a death and a disappearance find her accused of bewitching her only friend. Determined to find her friend and prove the villagers wrong, Cess soon finds herself caught up in a plot which will change her life forever.

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'Montacute House' is a gripping story full of historical details and action. Perfect for older children, it offers a glimpse of 'real' life in Elizabethan times-that experienced by the everyday people, set against the backdrop of this beautiful building.

Montacute House by Lucy Jago

Bloomsbury    ISBN: 978-1408803769