Yeovil Town Guide
...the major town of South Somerset it is a vibrant mix of modern businesses and shopping along with historical buildings and architecture. Plenty to keep visitors occupied for a long stay.
Despite its business parks and modern industries, the thriving livestock market is a constant reminder that Yeovil is a country town at heart. Beautiful countryside stretches all along its southern rim and beyond with footpaths to walk and plenty of sights to see.
Described in the Domesday book as Givele, a thriving market community the name of the town has always derived from the river Yeo . It was granted a charter by King John in 1205 and by the 14th century had gained the right to elect a portreeve, a port warden which was a highly regarded historical political post.
The black death killed almost half of the population and along with major fires in 1499, 1620 and 1643 the town went through hard times but rebuilt itself to be the centre of the glove making industry by the 1800’s. In 1854 it was granted borough status and appointed its first mayor and then by the 20th century the defense and aircraft industry had grown in significance. This led to the town being heavily bombed during WWII.
Although the defense and aircraft industries still dominate the town is a vibrant mix of high street stores and independent retailers along with its busy and colourful street markets which are held twice a week and the monthly farmers market.
The Middle Street area is now completely pedestrianised for the comfort and ease of shoppers and a bandstand has been erected.
Ninesprings country park to the south east is linked by cycleway along the old railway to Riverside Walk, Wyndham Hill and Summerhouse Hill which altogether make up the Yeovil Country Park totalling 99 acres. Plenty of room for walking, cycling and enjoying outdoor activities.
The 14th century grade I listed church of St John the Baptist has a 92 ft tower which still has the 14th century windows at the bell ringing and bell chamber levels. The two bells themselves date from 1728.
Things to see and do
Museum of South Somerset – based in an 18th century grade II listed manor house in Hendford follow the occupation of South Somerset from prehistoric and Roman times to the industrial revolution.
Jack the treacle eater – a Barwick folly built around 1775 of a small rough rubble archway topped with a turret and statue.
Abbey Farm House – a grade I listed building built around 1420 in the local hamstone.
Abbey Barn – the longest barn in Somerset at 103ft it is a grade I listed building built in 1420 at the same time as the farm house. Now used as a building contractors showroom and store.
Newton Surmaville – a small park and house to the south of Yeovil built in the early 1600’s. The gardens were laid out in the 18th century with further development in the 19th century and include 5 ponds, a boathouse, a walled kitchen garden, a rose garden and a summerhouse.
Local places of interest
East Lambrook Manor Gardens – A Grade 1 listed garden renowned as the premier example of the English cottage garden style and is noted for its specialist collections of snowdrops, hellebores and hardy geraniums.
Stoke Sub Hamdon Priory – a 14th century former priests house of the chantry chapel of St Nicholas. The Hamstone building was originally the Provost's Lodging, part of the College Buildings of the Beauchamp Chantry it has been owned by the National Trust since 1946 and is grade I listed.
Ham Hill – 400 acres of open access country park offering views across the Somerset Levels and across to the Mendips Hills and Exmoor. Free guidebooks are available from local tourist centres.
Montacute House – A magnificent glittering 16th century mansion owned by the National Trust. There are formal gardens and tracks leading you through the wider Estate.
Tintinhull House – An attractive 17th century manor house which is available as a holiday let but has 2 floors open to the public. The gardens feature secluded lawns, pools and colourful borders as well as a kitchen garden.
Fleet Air Arm Museum – representing the flying arm of the Royal Navy it is Europe’s largest naval aviation collection. Visit the exhibitions, events, learning centres, view the roll of honour dedicated to those lost and stop in the museum shop.
Cadbury Castle – an iron age hillfort associated with King Arthur and a scheduled ancient monument.
Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015