There’s a fair chance you’ve never heard of Frome (pronounced Froom). And likely even greater odds that you’ve probably never visited it. But you really really should. This ancient market town is situated 13 miles from Bath in the rolling hills of rural Somerset, and is probably one of the prettiest in England. Even more so on the first Sunday of every month when the Frome Independent Market sets up shop and runs from 10am-3pm.
Now this is no ordinary market. Most markets in the UK tend to be rather underwhelming affairs. Not this puppy. With its mixed elevations and narrow, well-kept medieval lanes, the town makes for a perfect location for a relaxing day out. The organisers have really got this one right, and hats off to the local town council for supporting such an ambitious and sophisticated monthly event. Just once every four weeks the entire town centre switches over to full-on pedestrian mode with row upon row of excellently curated stalls spread out in all directions.
From vintage home furnishings, kitchenware to clothing, Continental style brocante sellers to retro mid-century modern decor, the market offers a superb mix of browse-worthy gear and grub. There were gorgeous pastries from At The Chapel over in Bruton, fantastic meat & game from a number of local suppliers, beautiful jewellery and artwork from many of the regions top talents… including the brilliant Anthony Oram. We also had a chance for a friendly catch-up with the ace team behind Decorator’s Notebook. So basically we didn’t once find ourselves unconsciously uttering the words “cheap tat” whilst strolling through the different shopping areas. Seriously, the quality of this market is truly top notch.
Obviously for us, one of the most standout aspects of this market was the dog-to-people ratio. It’s safe to say we’ve never attended a more dog-friendly street market with so many hounds of all shapes and sizes in attendance.
Over 200 stalls providing the best seasonal, regional food & drink means you aren’t going to go hungry and there are water bowls put out for the mutts at literally every second shopfront. Street food options are varied and you can go for anything from pulled pork BBQ to some of the best looking quiches this side of the English Channel.
With such a laid back atmosphere, Frome Independent Market has managed to cultivate a vibe that is refreshingly easy-going yet still manages to feel effortlessly stylish. Everything is designed to make you love being here.
The local bricks & mortar shops in Frome are of a notably high calibre too, providing a great backdrop to all the lovely market people selling their wares streetside. And the cafes dotted along Catherine Hill could be transplanted from any hip city neighbourhood you care to reference. Good coffee abounds. Or even proper Sicilian gelato! Not surprisingly cheese is very well represented given that the South West produces some of the country’s top award winners, with some gorgeous options from The Bath Soft Cheese Company amongst others.
Frome Independent Market is easily reached via the M3/A303 or M4/M5. A train does serve the town on Sundays arriving at 10:26am and leaving at 3:37pm. Parking is free but can be a bit busy if you are arriving before noon and trying to find a spot right near the town centre… park up the hill and walk down. Oh and bring a HUGE shopping basket.