Glastonbury is best known for its world-famous music festival, which actually takes place about 8 miles away, in a field in Pilton. However, this small, historical town has far more to offer its visitors than just music. So you’re probably now wondering, what are the best things to do in Glastonbury? And is Glastonbury really worth a visit?
Well, I can honestly say that Glastonbury is a unique, magical town. It has a rich, intriguing past, synonymous with legends and folklore. Glastonbury is linked to many legends of fairies and knights and is believed to be the resting place of King Arthur.
Read this guide to find out what you can expect to see and do on a day out in Glastonbury. Discover the very best things to do in Glastonbury, so you can plan your own visit to Glastonbury.
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Practical information for your visit to Glastonbury
Where is Glastonbury?
Glastonbury is in Somerset, in South West England, within easy distance of Bath, Bristol or London.
Accommodation in Glastonbury
If you want to stay longer than a day, there are several pubs in the centre of town, such as The Crown Hotel or The Market House. Or, if you fancy sleeping in a four-poster bed in one of Somerset’s oldest hotels, have a look at the George & Pilgrims Hotel.
Alternatively, you’ll find plenty of self-catering accommodation on Booking.com.
Getting to Glastonbury
By car: Glastonbury is about 130 miles from London. You can get there by car on the easily accessible by car on the A303 and takes about two and a half hours.
By train: A direct train runs from Paddington to Castle Cary every 3 hours. From here, you would need to take a cab to Glastonbury, which takes about 20 minutes.
What are the best things to do in Glastonbury?
Take a climb up Glastonbury Tor
Without doubt, one of the best things to do in Glastonbury is climb up Glastonbury Tor.
Glastonbury Tor is an iconic hill looking out over the town and surrounding counties. It has long associations with Celtic mythology and many consider it to be a very spiritual location. Along with other sites in Glastonbury, it has a significant place in the modern day Goddess-movement. Folklore states that there is a cave beneath the hill, through which you can pass in to the fairy realm of Annwn.
Take a steep climb up Glastonbury Tor following the paved pathway and 500 steps. Expect to see people and musicians sitting around reflecting on life and enjoying a moment of mindfulness.
Touch the tower
One of the most iconic sights in Glastonbury is St Michael’s Tower, which sits atop Glastonbury Tor.
St Michael’s Tower is all that remains of the church that was rebuilt here in the 14th Century, after an earthquake destroyed the previous one.
Today, St Michael’s Tower is an important British landmark and an amazing viewpoint. After your climb up to the tower, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views over the Somerset countryside.
The White Spring
You can retrace your steps, but if you return down the other side of the Tor, via Well House Lane, you’ll stumble across the White Spring Well and Temple.
The White Spring Well is an amazing, sacred space nestled within the Tor. Originally a Victorian well house, the interior of this sanctuary consists of three domed vaults and bowed floors. These candlelit caverns have a mystical fee, enhanced by the of the sound of dripping water and the aromatic scent of burning incense.
Admission to The White Spring Well is free (apart from a donation), but you should be respectful to the many pilgrims and visitors who come to reflect and meditate. The cavern has a series of shrines and pools, but be careful where you look, as some pilgrims bathe naked in the pools!
The White Temple was built on the site of a natural spring, full of calcium, giving it a white look and its name, the White Spring. It certainly is one of the most unique places to visit in Glastonbury.
Just 100 metres from the White Spring is another healing spring at the Chalice Well. The spring water here runs red, because of the iron, giving it the name The Red Spring. Historians consider it to be one of Britain’s most ancient holy wells.
In contrast to the dark cavernous setting of The White Spring, the Chalice Well has beautiful, landscaped gardens. There is a small admission charge. Like the White Temple, it is a place of meditation and retreat and offers a mystical experience to its visitors.
Another of the best things to do in Glastonbury is a visit to the Abbey.
Located in Chilwell Street, just metres from the two springs Glastonbury Abbey is one of England’s earliest and most significant abbeys. The Abbey is linked to many legends and people believe it to be the burial place of King Arthur.
One of the highlights of Glastonbury Abbey is its 36 acres of beautiful grounds, with ponds, orchards, and wildlife areas. The Abbey regularly offers a programme of activities for children, making it a popular family attraction in Glastonbury.
Don’t forget to visit Glastonbury town, with its strong associations with legend and folklore. It is a place of pilgrimage and sanctuary and attracts an eclectic mix of visitors. We were even fortunate enough to see a pair of friendly witches walking down the street.
One of the best parts is the collection of weird and wonderful speciality shops in Glastonbury High Street. We found goblin and fairy merchandise, potions and lotions and everything you’d need for a magical life. The shops in Glastonbury are fragrant and characterful and the merchandise is unique.
The Glastonbury Experience Courtyard
It’s also worth taking time to visit the Glastonbury Experience Courtyard This is a quirky courtyard, just off Glastonbury High Street, where you’ll find even more spiritual shops and rooms. Keep an eye out for the Goddess Temple, a haven for people sharing their love of Goddesses.
If you are looking for places to eat in Glastonbury, there is an abundance of tea rooms and cafés . Most have a good selection of vegetarian and vegan choices and many have outdoor seating.
Other things to do near Glastonbury
During our short family holiday in Glastonbury, we found many other fun things to do in Somerset.
Other interesting Somerset towns to visit are the tiny cathedral town of Wells, or the historic city of Bath. If shopping is more your thing, you could try Clarks Village, an outlet shopping village in Street.
For a free day out in Somerset, there is a wonderful choice of sandy beaches, such as Weston-super-Mare or Minehead.
Motoring enthusiasts should try a day out at the Haynes International Motor Museum, to see is massive collection of cars and bikes throughout the ages.
Alternatively, if you prefer time in the great outdoors, head for Exmoor National Park.
Or visit Cheddar Gorge, where you’ll find some of the most impressive caves in England. Kids will love the caves and the cliff tops are a great location for Geocaching.
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