The Museum of Somerset

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An under-floor Plesiosaur, the largest collection of Roman coins ever discovered in Britain and a chilling recreation of the infamous Bloody Assizes – you’ll find them all at the Museum of Somerset!

Set in the heart of Taunton, the Museum of Somerset lies within the historic 12th Century Taunton Castle.

This must-see visitor attraction tells the county's story from prehistoric times to the present day, using real objects, interactive games, eye-catching film projections and the words and voices of Somerset people, past and present.

The museum houses many of Somerset’s great archaeological treasures such as the Frome Hoard; the largest collection of Roman coins ever discovered in Britain in a single container, and the 4th Century Low Ham mosaic; the oldest object in Britain to tell a complete story - the tragic love story of Dido and Aeneas. The museum also houses the Somerset Military Museum.

As well as the permanent galleries, the museum offers regularly changing temporary exhibitions and activities such as family drop-in sessions and ‘talk and tea’ with a curator. There is also a programme of special events, including evening talks, music and outdoor theatre.


Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, and Bank Holiday Mondays: 10:00am to 5:00pm
The Museum of Somerset, Taunton Castle, Castle Green, Taunton, TA1 4AA
01823 255088

Venue Type:


Opening hours

10.00am - 5.00pm (Last entry 4.30pm)
Tuesday to Saturday and Bank Holiday Mondays

The museum is open on Good Friday and Easter Bank Holiday Monday (closed Easter Sunday).

Admission charges


Amongst the treasures on display for the first time is the Frome Hoard, the largest collection of Roman coins ever discovered in a single container in Britain, and which was saved for the nation following a national fundraising appeal.

A shrunken head from South America and Judge Jeffreys' medical bill are a few of the many other exhibits to be discovered in the museum.

Collection details

Archaeology, Archives, Natural Sciences, Costume and Textiles, Decorative and Applied Art, World Cultures, Fine Art, Weapons and War, Coins and Medals, Science and Technology, Social History, Medicine, Personalities, Religion

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
Henry VII ©National Portrait Gallery, London

Henry VII - The First Royal Portrait

  • 17 October 2017 — 6 January 2018 *on now

The Museum of Somerset is bringing an artwork of outstanding national significance to the county this autumn.

Working with the National Portrait Gallery in London, the museum will display an extraordinary portrait of King Henry VII dated 1505.

It is the first image of an English monarch painted from life and the earliest portrait in the National Portrait Gallery’s collection.

Henry VII has special associations with Taunton Castle, home of the Museum of Somerset.

It was there in 1497 that he confronted the rebel Perkin Warbeck after Warbeck’s failed attempt to claim the throne.

The king’s portrait will be displayed in the very room where the fateful meeting between king and rebel may have taken place.

FREE ENTRY. Tues to Sat 10.00 am to 5.00 pm.


Watchet Harbour

Colours of Exile: The art of Hans Schwarz

  • 21 October 2017 — 3 March 2018 *on now

Hans Schwarz (1922–2003) was a child of Jewish heritage in pre-war Vienna and was sent to safety in England where he worked at the Cadbury factory in Bournville near Birmingham.

He was soon interned as an enemy alien but on his return to Birmingham he trained as an artist and became a successful illustrator.

But his first love was painting and after a period working in London, he and his family moved to Stogursey in Somerset where he worked full-time on painting, sculpture and writing.

This period was pivotal in his career. He completed many commissions and, while continuing to paint in oils, also discovered striking ways of using watercolour. Somerset was a major inspiration for Hans Schwarz, and many recognisable places and people feature in the exhibition.

FREE ENTRY. Open Tues - Sat 10.00 am to 5.00 pm.


Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.

Terrible Tales and Ghostly Goings On

  • 30 November 2017 6:30-7:30pm

Tour of the museum in the dark, exploring some of the castle's more gruesome history!. Pre-book only. Entry fee includes a drink on arrival.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children


£10.00 per person

Images of Majesty

  • 24 November 2017 7:30-8:30pm

An art history lecture by Richard Kay, picture specialist at Lawrence's Auctioneers, surveying portraits of every British ruler since 1485.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children


£8.00. Booking Advisable

Terrible Tales and Ghostly Goings On

  • 5 December 2017 7-8pm

Tour of the museum in the dark exploring some of the castle's more gruesome history! Pre-book only. Ticket price includes a drink on arrival.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children


£10.00 per person. Pre-book only.

Talk and Tea: The Art of Hans Schwarz

  • 8 December 2017 2:30-3:30pm

Talk by exhibition curator and author Paul Upton on the work of Hans Schwarz, the Austrian artist who made his home in London and West Somerset

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children


£5.00 per person. Booking advisable.

A Christmas Carol: A Folk Opera

  • 11 December 2017 7:30-9pm

GreenMatthews presents the perfect show for anyone looking to recapture the simple Yuletide delights of fellowship, laughter and good cheer.


£12.50 per person. Pre booking advisable. Tickets from the museum or from

An Amici Christmas

  • 15 December 2017 7:30-9pm

Eclectic mix of choral music, including festive favourites, some songs from the shows and audience participation.


£12.50 per person. Pre-booking advisable.

Two Course Festive Lunch

  • 21 December 2017 12:30-2pm

Buffet style festive lunch served in the delightful surroundings of Castle House. Pre-book only.


£12.50 per person. Pre-book only.

A Tudor Christmas

  • 28 — 29 December 2017 10am-5pm

Music, crafts and re-enactors as part of the Henry VII exhibition.

Suitable for

  • Any age


There is a small charge for some craft activities.

The Museum of Somerset
Taunton Castle
Castle Green




01823 255088

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.