Glastonbury Things to Do

  • The water trickles through the gardens..
    The water trickles through the gardens..
    by Myfanwe
  • The remains of the Abbey
    The remains of the Abbey
    by Myfanwe
  • Tor, tower and terraces.
    Tor, tower and terraces.
    by leics

Most Recent Things to Do in Glastonbury

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    Tourist Information Centre

    by grayfo Written Jun 5, 2014

    The Glastonbury Tourist Information Centre is located in the Glastonbury Tribunal, a 15th century building that was originally thought to have been a merchant’s house. The building is also home to the Lake Village Museum - which contains artefacts from one of Europe's most famous archaeological sites.

    The centre has a variety of postcards, leaflets and books for sale both in the Tribunal and via mail order and also sells tickets for local events, sometimes at a discount. The office also provides a local Accommodation Booking Service, Access Information for Disabled Visitors, information on local attractions and events, local Weather Information, Maps and Publications, Public Transport Information and Public Internet Access

    The Centre also has a garden that is available for Wedding Photography

    Monday to Saturday: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

    email info@glastonburytic.co.uk

    September 2013

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    Glastonbury Abbey

    by grayfo Written May 6, 2014

    The abbey was founded in the 7th century by the Saxons and enlarged in the 10th century by the Abbot of Glastonbury, before a major fire in 1184 destroyed the buildings and many ancient treasures. The abbey was rebuilt and by the 14th century was one of the richest and most powerful monasteries in England.

    As well as the Abbey there is 36 acres of parkland, the Badger Boardwalk, the legendary burial place of King Arthur, the Holy Thorn and a Gift Shop for your souvenirs.

    Grade I Listed

    Sunday to Saturday: 9:00 am to 4:00 pm

    Adults: £6.00
    Children (5-15): £4.00
    Children (Under 5): Free

    email info@glastonburyabbey.com

    September 2013

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    The Chalice Well Gardens - tranquil retreat

    by themajor Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Glastonbury may have been spearheading New Age enlightenment for some years now but don't be fooled into thinking it's a haven of rest and relaxation. You'l certainly discover such things by walking down certain passages and through particular portals but for the most part Glastonbury is a busy tourist trap full of the same amount of traffic, litter and loutishness you'll find in any popular small town. There is however one particular centre of solitude that you really do need to seek out - namely the Chalice Well Gardens.

    The gardens are venerated as a site of peace and contemplation, open to all whatsoever there spiritual need or religion might be. Within the garden there are many places ideal for relaxation or thoughtful prayer - in fact a bell is rung at intervals throughout the day to remind people of the need for contemplation. I found the atmosphere relaxing and uplifting, respectful and caring. Goodness, did I just say that? It is not therefore the place to drag around unruly infants or sullen adolescents..well, not unless they are quietly sullen. But it is the ideal place to escape the busy High Street and find the 'Real' Glastonbury you were hoping for.

    What can you find there? Well a real mix. Practitioners of Eastern meditation perched on one leg, readers of romantic fiction, ardent Arthurians, willowy wiccans...and tweedy chaps like me. All sorts - all welcome!

    The good news is that the efforts of the volunteers who help run this delightful hideaway help ensure it stays open 365 days a year. Pop in any day between 10am and 4pm and you'll find it open; go between April and the end of October and you will be able to wander around for an extra hour and a half later. Prices are very reasonable: Adults £3.50, Senior Citizens £2.90, Children (5-17) £1.70 and you can if you wish avoid the fees by becoming a Well Companion. (see website)

    Renew hope, all ye who enter here! Peace amongst the plants
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    The Chalice Well

    by LouiseTopp Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    If you enjoy visiting gardens & sacred places, the Chalice Well is for you. Just up the road from Glastonbury town centre, this is one of the oldest springs in England. It has healing properties, & is drinkable from the fountain. It’s at the base of the Tor so you can get a shuttle bus on the way which can drop you off at the entrance to the well. The gate opens at 10am until the last admission, which is 5.30pm, you can get a 10% discount with your Glastonbury pass voucher from the TIC. Walk up the tree lined avenue to the gardens, on your right is a pool with a waterfall & little streams going through the middle of the green, the pool is in the shape of the Chalice well Sign which is the vesica piscis. The Vesica is not only holy to Christians, It is an significant sign for many sacred paths & the sign can be worn in earrings & jewellery which can be brought at the shop or in Glastonbury.

    There’s many waterfalls in the gardens, some have red tainted water running through them. There are lots of places to sit & meditate, many types of flowers grow here, & an old Yew tree which symbolise the goddess; the Yew was holy to the Druids & the Celts. It’s very peaceful sitting on the many benches, nearby is a field full of bleating sheep if I feel asleep I’d probably dream of farm animals.

    King Arthur’s Courtyard is where you can dip your feet, it’s a bit chilly & made me tootsies go a bit numb. People have tossed coins into the water, just 1p’s etc; no £5 or £50 coins although they will probably invent them one day. People are advised not to take their clothes off, but you can if your good-looking; I don’t mind mind (har har!) Water pours from a lions head & if you have a bottle you can collect some, otherwise it’s £1.50 a bottle.

    The water has a faint metallic taste. There are shelters if it rains, & you can also see the Tor above you. The White Well is next door as is an outside tap of the Chalice Well, but please be careful as some homeless people gather round here; not the place to be at night.

    Enterance to the gardens, any Triffids in there? Is she smiling or gritting her teeth as it's cold? Water straight from the lion���s mouth Gateway to the well 'Well' this is it :)
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    The Chalice Well

    by psychocy Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    One of the oldest and most consistently visited holy wells in all Britain, the Chalice Well is believed by some to be the last resting place of the Holy Grail (a few other sites in Britain also claim this distinction). Used by prehistoric man and held sacred by the druids, the site inspires the senses to a peaceful tranquility and soothes the mind to allow for serene meditation. All natural wells were believed magical by the people of old - places where the barrier between mundane life and the world were thin. Due largely to it's fame, this particular well has been well-cared for and is set into a large and beautifully maintained garden where several Holy Thorns grow. The water itself flows continuously and is available to drink (from the fountain), dip your feet in (in a shallow pool), or even just bottle up to take as a souveneir. Entry is entirely affordable and well worth the cost.

    The Chalice Well A Girl Reads Within The Peace Of The Garden The Ever-Flowing Water Of The Chalice Well A Cup Of Holy Water One Of Chalice Well's Holy Thorns
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    Glastonbury Abbey

    by King_Golo Written Jan 30, 2011

    Glastonbury Abbey was one of the biggest abbeys in England during its heyday. A first abbey was founded on the site around 600 AD, perhaps initiated by the legend that Josef of Arimathea, Jesus' uncle, along with young Jesus himself had visited the area. Josef of Arimathea had allegedly rammed his stick into the ground there and a blooming bush of hawthorn had grown immediately. A hawthorn tree is still growing on the grounds of the abbey - but probably the 50th in a row... In any case, the first abbey burned down and was replaced by those which ruins we can still see today. They are enormous: the 180m long church was only the centre of a huge complex of religious buildings. Not much is left today, only the impressive abbot's kitchen dating back to the 1340s is still complete. Apart from that, the remains of the church walls comprise the largest part of the ruins.

    Another legend should not be forgotten here: In 1191, monks from the abbey allegedly found the remains of King Arthur and his wife Guinevere. Of course this sparked even more interest in the abbey, despite the fact that it has never been proven whose remains had actually been found. Their "grave" can still be seen today - a rectangular bit of grass with a sign stating that this place might have been the right place.

    Glastonbury Abbey
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    Esoteric Shops

    by King_Golo Updated Jan 30, 2011

    If you're into spiritual healing, ayurveda essences, crystal amulets, incense sticks and divination, then Glastonbury is your place to be. Along High Street there's one esoteric shop next to another. It's interesting to stroll around and see what's on offer. You should also not miss going into the alleys and backyards as many more curious shops are to be discovered there.

    The Goddess of Apples in a backyard of Glastonbury
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    Glastonbury Tor

    by King_Golo Updated Jan 30, 2011

    Visible from almost whole Somerset, Glastonbury Tor is the first and for many visitors most important landmark of the small town. "Tor" is the Devon dialect word for "cone-shaped hill", and as this tor rises from mostly even ground, seeing it for the first time is quite impressing.

    It's a cult site for those who are into mythology. According to local legends, Joseph of Arimathea came here, and on ramming his walking stick in the ground saw a hawthorn bush in full bloom breaking from the ground. Later, during the Middle Ages, a fort and a church stood on top of the hill. Dating back to that time is also the belief that Glastonbury Tor is the site of Avalon, they mythical place from the stories about King Arthur whose remains were allegedly found in Glastonbury Abbey. Moreover, some people believe that Glastonbury could be an entrance to the land of fairies.

    Despite (or because of) the local folklore, the place is very popular with visitors. You've got a great view over Somerset from up there, and I suppose it must be magical to be there during sunrise or sunset. There is also the ruin of a 15th-century church on top of the hill which makes for a nice picture.

    It is officially not allowed to park close to the steep path leading up to the hill, so you must walk the whole way up (about 1.5 km). There's no entrance fee to the site.

    Glastonbury Tor
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    Have a cake.......

    by leics Written Oct 23, 2010

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    ........from 'Burns the Bread', for example.

    I loved the name of this shop, so decided to try something from it. Although it sells some interesting things (spelt & carrot muffin, anyone?) it also sells all the good, traditional English cakes and breads one might hope to find. All baked on the premises, all very well made.

    I had a piece of bread pudding (very tasty, very spicy, very filling). Totally English and traditional, bread pudding is made from left-over bread. So anywhere which sells it is likely to be a 'proper' bakery, adding eggs, milk, sugar and spices to its left-over bread and rolls and then baking the result.

    There are gingerbread men, shortcake men, Florentines, iced buns etc etc.......and a good range of sandwiches, hot pastries (sausage rolls, pasties and so on) and loaves on sale as well.

    So you could buy something from there to give to the streetpeople, if you wished. It's almost opposite St John's church, where they tend to congregate.

    Excellent name for a bakery! Artisan cakes. :-)
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    Visit St John the Baptist church

    by leics Updated Oct 23, 2010

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    This Medieval church stands on the High Street and is worth exploring.

    Don't worry about the odd people you may see sitting in the churchyard or in the porch. They will not harm you, although they may well ask you for money. Don't feel you have to give any.....perhaps buy them a sandwich or something instead. As for the older, very well-spoken lady who asks for 'spare change'.......she can afford lipstick and make-up and wool (expensive in the UK) for her knitting. So no need to feel sorry for her.

    The existing St John's dates from the 1400s (a rebuilding of an earlier stone church, whose central tower collapsed in the 15th century) but there has been a church on the site since around 950AD.

    As well the lovely Medieval tomb of John Camel, still with some of its original colours showing, the church also houses the shrine of Joseph of Arimathea (he who brought the boy Jesus the Glastonbury, and whose staff became the 'holy thorn'). It is covered with a pall made from a 15th century embroidered cope (bishop's cloak) from the abbey.

    There is a 'holy thorn' in the churchyard, a cutting taken from the original 'holy thorn' on Wearyall Hill.

    St John the Baptist Medieval tomb of John Camel 15th century embroidered pall Interior Holy thorn
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    Have a drink in the George & Pilgrim.

    by leics Written Oct 23, 2010

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    I hesitate to suggest you stay there. My experience was not particularly pleasant, although it was several years ago. Same applies to eating, although the food was perfectly ok when I stayed.

    But it is worth going in for a coffee or a pint, just to see the inside of this remarkably old building. It dates to the 1300s in parts, and you can sit in exactly the same window bay as thousands of Medieval pilgrims. Which is a bit special, imo.

    George & Pilgrim
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    Visit the Tribunal

    by leics Written Oct 23, 2010

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    The Glastonbury Tribunal is wrongly-named.....there was never a tribunal here. But that's what it's called anyway.

    The building dates from the late 1400s and now houses the Tourist Information office, and the Lake Village Museum. Excavations in the late 1800s discovered this Iron Age village on the marshy 'levels' just outside the town and finds from the site are displayed insdie the Tribunal (2.50GBP entrance).

    But if you don't want to pay for the museum you can just enjoy the rather lovely old building, and its pretty little garden (with well). You can see an Iron Age flat-bottomed log-boat from the Lake village site on display outside.

    Glastonbury Tribunal Garden Log-boat Medieval carving Later-than-Medieval ceiling plasterwork
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    Go up to the Tor.

    by leics Updated Oct 23, 2010

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    The Tor is a good mile and a half's largely uphill walk from the town centre (and then you have to climb the Tor itself).

    There is no car parking nearby. You'll need to park in the town centre.

    If you visit in season, there is a park & ride service (which is a very good idea). But it finishes at the end of September.

    If you do decide to walk to the top you will be rewarded (on a clear day) with fantastic views over the surrounding countryside.

    Only the tower remains of St Michael's church, dating from the 14th century but on the site of an even earlier church. There are Iron Age earthworks; there was a settlement (a hill-fort) on the Tor then, and excavation has also shown Roman occupation.

    But the seven terraces clearly seen on the slopes remain a mystery. They could be related to agriculture (but they are on all sides, even the north) or they could be defensive ramparts (although they are not as they normally are)...or they could form part of a Neolithic 'labyrinth', a sacred processional way in prehistoric times. My feeling is that the latter theory is the most likely but proving it is impossible, of course.

    And, of course, the Tor is also supposed to be the Isle of Avalon in the Arthurian legend.

    Whatever its origins, it's worth making the effort to get to the top. I didn't this time, so my photos are all from down below......

    Tor, tower and terraces. Tor from afar
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    All you need to know about the Tor.

    by Steve-H Written Jan 7, 2010

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    ....is on this plaque, unfortunately you need to climb up there to read it (& I hope the picture has enough detail for you to be able to read it).
    In the summer it's a nice walk, in the winter it can be hard work. Take a look at the next picture, it shows how steep the path gets st the top, add some wind and rain and it can be a miserable but rewarding slog.

    The plaque explaining the history of the Tor. If it looks steep and wet, it is!
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    The Chalice Well

    by themajor Updated Feb 11, 2007

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    You'll strolled around the gardens and now the time has come for you to take the plunge! I would have added 'not literally' if it wasn't for the fact that you can indeed immerse your bits - or at least selected bits - in the mystical waters in addition to the obligatory tasting of the selfsame stream. It isn't compulsory of course but read on and I'm certain you'll be persuaded for the Chalice Gardens are much more than a horticultural hideaway.

    In an area known as King Arthur's Courtyard you have a pool of water fed from the sacred spring which also happens to be the exact place at which two ley lines intersect (the Michael and Mary ley lines) meet there. Back in the 19th and 19th centuries you could submerge yourself within this pilgrims bath but nowadays a shallower profile means that a paddle and all-over splash seems to suffice for most visitors.

    The supposed healing power of the waters comes from the belief that the well and spring are fed from the burial place of the Holy Grail - supposedly buried within the Tor - the red hue of the water being due to the drops of Christ's blood that were collected within the holy chalice. Apparently it was sacred to the druids and early Christians alike and enjoys the same broad popularity today. Better still there are three thorn trees descended from the original Holy Thorn around the garden nearby.

    At the wellhead itself people light candles, toss coins into the ferny depths, say prayers and tie ribbons and other keepsakes to nearby trees as votive offerings. But if you want to taste the waters, read on...

    Well being Offerings
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