Things to do in Frome, Somerset: Your ultimate weekend guide

Last updated on March 8, 2024

Frome is one of those rare little English towns where independence and creativity has triumphed over chains and cookie cutter high streets. It’s an historic market town, famous for the Frome Independent (a huge monthly market) and with a strong counter-culture history.

Riots in Frome date back to the 18th century and it was a centre for hippies from the 1970s. More recently, it elected an entire town council of 17 independent representatives, and as you wander the streets, the spirit of independence and community is obvious.

It’s a gorgeous place to visit, perfectly picturesque, filled with interesting boutiques, cosy cafes, and surrounded by charming countryside. It makes an ideal weekend break.

We live an hour away in Bristol and visit Frome often. So here’s our guide to the best things to do in Frome, from the best Frome restaurants to the must-see sights. Our curated guide to what to do in Frome.

Also see our guide to the best Frome restaurants and best independent shops in Frome.

Where to stay in Frome

Bistro Lotte

Bistro Lotte is a charming French bistro that also has six stylish guest rooms, including family suites. Rooms start from £95. Book your room now.


Archangel is a quirky B&B and pub with decadent freestanding baths and striking purple decor.  The restaurant is also popular. Book your room now.

The best things to do in Frome

Frome Independent

The Frome Independent is a huge destination market, usually held on the first Sunday of the month (aside from January and February) within the Frome town centre. It showcases the best independent craftspeople, designers, makers, food producers and vintage traders in the South West. And there’s always an amazing vibe with live music and plenty of food stalls.

Try to time your visit for when the market is on. I especially love it in December when it all feels wonderfully Christmassy (plus it’s the perfect place for gift shopping). Definitely top of the list for Frome things to do.

See more on the market in our guide to the best UK family Christmas breaks, and the best things to do at Christmas in Bristol and beyond.

Go shopping on Catherine Hill and in Frome’s Artisan Quarter

One of the joys of visiting Frome is exploring all the independent businesses and the best places for this are Catherine Hill and what has been dubbed ‘Frome’s Artisan Quarter’. The main streets are: Catherine Hill, Palmer Street, Paul Street, Stoney Street and Cheap Street. And all are lined with creative indy shops, specialising in everything from vinyl to haberdashery. I’ve inclided some favouirte shops in the ‘where to shop’ section below.

One street not to miss is Cheap Street, which also has a stream (or ‘leat’ to use the proper word) running down the middle (apt seeing as ‘Frome’ roughly translates as ‘brisk, running river).

Wander the streets and soak in the history

Frome is wonderfully picturesque with over 300 listed buildings, some dating back to the 15th century. The history of the town is evident through its architecture, so it’s perfect for simply wandering. Particularly pretty streets are: Gentle Street, Rook Lane Chapel and the shopping streets mentioned above.

You can discover more of the town’s history in the Frome Heritage Museum, located on North Parade.  And don’t miss Valentine’s Lamp, a gaslight with a post box for sending love letters. You might recognise some of the streets from BBC’s Poldark.

Visit Black Swan Arts

Black Swan Arts is a studio-shop-café space where you can take a peek into the workshops and exhibitions of local artists and perhaps buy something while you’re at it. Black Swan Arts houses the River Café (which used to be in a different location), which is one of the city’s most popular brunch spots. Silk Mill is another great studio space to visit in Frome. And Rook Lane hosts interesting exhibitions too.

Catch a show at the Merlin Theatre or Ecos Amphitheatre

Frome has a strong culture of performance and theatre, and the best places for this are the Merlin Theatre and the neighbouring Ecos Amphitheatre. The latter is an outdoor theatre, built to look much more ancient than it is and surrounded by 12 stone monoliths, all there to represent the 12 founding members of the EU (Frome is very much not a Brexit town!).

Check out the programme at Cheese & Grain

The Cheese & Grain packs a punch in terms of the acts it attracts for a small market town. Even the Foo Fighters played a secret gig there! It’s a not-for-profit social enterprise hosting everything from big bands to bingo nights. The café serves a good breakfast and lunch menu, including kids’ food.

Do a guided walk

Frome Guided Walks offer themed tours throughout the town, focussing on different elements of the town’s history and culture. The walks are free but a donation is recommended.

Hang out in Victoria Park

Victoria Park is a calssic Victorian park with rose beds, mature trees, a band stand, bowling green and well manicured lawns. There’s also a great playground, suitable for both toddlers and older kids.

Time your visit with a festival

The biggest event (aside from the Frome Independent) on the Frome calendar is the Frome Festival, a 10-day community arts festival with a programme of art, literature, music and more. Other events to look out for are the Frome Carnival and the Frome Agricultural & Cheese Show.

Take a day trip to Bruton

Top of my list of things to do near Frome is visiting Bruton, a one-of-a-kind village, which has become a magnet for the creative elite, including fashion designers Alice Temperley and Stella McCartney. It’s a tiny little place with an inordinate number of cool shops and places to eat, all in part helped by it being the location of gallery, Hauser and Wirth. It’s worth visiting for the gallery alone, plus don’t miss At the Chapel, a beautiful former chapel that now houses a fantastic restaurant and bakery.

Explore more of Somerset

For longer trips, there are plenty of places to visit in Somerset and things to do in the Frome area. I gave Bruton a section of its own, but other favourite day trips from Frome include: walking in the Mendip hills; going to the villages of Castle Cary and Shepton Mallet; visiting The Newt (a fabulous destination restaurant and hotel with incredible gardens to wander); taking the kids to Longleat safari park; and visiting Stourhead (a beautiful National Trust property).

Longleat is top of my list for things to do in Frome with kids (it’s only a 10-minute drive from Frome). For something a bit closer, hike up nearby Cley Hill, which is a famous UFO sighting spot!

Where to eat in Frome

We have a full guide to the best Frome restaurants, but some favourites are: Rye Bakery (amazing baked goods in a former chapel); River House (excellent brunch); Bistro Lotte (candlelit French bistro) and Palmer Street Bottle (chic wine bar with great food pairings).

Where to shop in Frome

We also have a guide the best shops in Frome, featuring our favourite independent shops and boutiques. Top of the list is Hunting Raven Books.

How to get to Frome

Frome has a train station, which is a 2-hour journey from London, an hour from Bristol, and 30 minutes from Yeovil. You can walk from the train station to the centre in about 10 minutes. Once there, it’s best explored on foot.

Also see our guide to the best UK road trips.

1 thought on “Things to do in Frome, Somerset: Your ultimate weekend guide”

  1. Thank you for this fabulous write-up! We’re headed to Frome for my birthday next week and we’re so looking forward to having a mooch about. But your blog has given some other things to look out for – especially the Valentine’s Lamp post (how cute!) 😉


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