The Museum of Somerset is based in Taunton Castle, on Castle Green in the centre of Taunton. It tells the county's story from prehistoric times to the present day using real objects combined with evocative films, sounds and images, and the voices and words of Somerset people past and present.
You can find information about events at The Museum of Somerset and the other museums in Somerset on our Newsroom site.
Amongst the treasures on display is the Frome Hoard, which is the largest collection of Roman coins ever discovered in Britain in a single container.
The museum has set a new standard in the county for a modern visitor attraction. It is Trip Advisor's number one attraction in Taunton.
The creation of The Museum of Somerset was made possible by a £4.8 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and £1.8 million from Somerset County Council. Other funding partners included Viridor Environmental Credits, The Garfield Weston Foundation, Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society, Taunton Deane Borough Council, the Somerset Military Museum Trust, and the Mercer's Foundation.
This must-see visitor attraction contains objects from across many of the museum's collections, including geology, archaeology, medieval and ethnography. The museum also houses the Somerset Military Museum. There are lots of interactives and family areas for visitors of all ages to enjoy.
As well as the permanent galleries, the museum offers regularly changing temporary exhibitions and activities such as family drop-in sessions and lunchtime talks. There is also a programme of special events, including evening talks, music and outdoor theatre.
The Castle Café
The Castle Café offers a selection of home-made Somerset treats, from soups, sandwiches and salads, to pastries and home-made cakes.
We use only the best local ingredients and our home-baked bread is made fresh daily. Sandwiches and salads are made to order.
Open to museum visitors and non-visitors alike, the café is planning to introduce a loyalty card scheme, seasonal offerings and other regular promotions.
The museum shop stocks a range of reasonably-priced gifts, cards, toys and books including the Made in Somerset range of local food and drink.
Guided group tours and private venue hire outside of museum opening hours are available.
For more information about this, and for details of volunteering opportunities at the museum, please phone (01823) 255088 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is no parking on the site, but it is possible to drop off disabled visitors outside the museum. We have just one disabled parking space (which must be booked through the museum - phone 01823 255088). Taunton bus station is within 50 metres of the museum. The museum is also close to the town car parks. Taunton railway station is approximately ¾ mile from the museum.
We recommend that you use either of Taunton's Park and Ride services, both of which drop off within 100 metres of the museum. This service does not operate on Sundays or Public Holidays.
Physical access to almost all the site is provided by two passenger lifts. The Discovery and Singing Galleries can be accessed by a stair lift with accompanying wheelchair.
Please contact us if you need help to access the museum.
Physical access to almost all the site is provided by two passenger lifts. The Discovery and Singing Galleries can be accessed by a stair lift with accompanying wheelchair. There is no parking available on site, but it is possible to drop off disabled visitors outside the museum. Please contact us if you require assistance in accessing the museum.
The Museum of Somerset
Phone 01823 255088
Museum opening times
10.00am - 5.00pm (Last entry 4.30pm)
Tuesday to Saturday, and Bank Holiday Mondays
The museum is also open on occasional Sundays for special events.
Friends of The Museum of Somerset
The Friends of The Museum of Somerset brings together people who are passionate about Somerset's past and future. If you love museums and care about Somerset's rich heritage we want you to join us.
The Friends is a charity founded with the object of supporting The Museum of Somerset in the advancement of its aims. The Friends are actively working with the Museum Service to promote the new Museum of Somerset.
Membership benefits include a regular newsletter and a programme of illustrated talks and outings.
Membership benefits include:
· A newsletter three times a year
· Previews of exhibitions
· A lively talks programme
· Attending Heritage events to help promote the Museum to the public
How much does it cost?
Annual Subscription Rates:
Under 18s: £1
To join, please contact the Somerset Museums Service - phone 01823 278805, or email
Somerset Military Museum
The Somerset Military Museum tells the story of the regiments of Somerset in war and peacetime. It reopened to the public in September 2011 after extensive restoration and re-design work and is part of The Museum of Somerset. The new military museum complements the story of Somerset, which is told in the main museum.
The Somerset Military Museum features the history of the following regiments:
· Somerset Light Infantry (Prince Albert's)
· Somerset and Cornwall Light Infantry
· West Somerset Yeomanry
· North Somerset Yeomanry
· Somerset Militia, Rifle Volunteers and Territorials
· The Light Infantry and its successor regiment, The Rifles
The redesigned museum introduces visitors to the wider background of the formation and development of Somerset's regiments, and explores why soldiers fight for their country.
Taunton Castle is a Grade 1 Listed Scheduled Ancient Monument standing at the heart of Somerset's county town. It is Taunton's most important secular historic monument and has been the home of a museum for over 100 years.
The Castle dates from the 12th century, and the building has been central to the story of Taunton, of Somerset - and, at times, of England itself. The Castle was founded by William Gifford, Bishop of Winchester 1107-1129, and parts of the building are believed to date from this period. The Castle was extensively reconstructed and extended in the 13th century and again in the 16th century. After the Civil War, the Castle became the location for the Assize Courts.
In 1786, it was acquired by Sir Benjamin Hammet, who made extensive alterations to the buildings.
The Castle was purchased in 1874 by the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society, as the location of its new museum. The Society leased the Castle and its museum collections to Somerset County Council in 1958 - an arrangement which continues to this day.