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.
Take a climb up Glastonbury Tor
Of course, one of the most popular things to do in Glastonbury is visit Glastonbury Tor.
Glastonbury Tor is an iconic hill looking out over the town and surrounding counties. You can climb up it following the paved pathway and 500 steps. As you explore, you’ll see people and musicians sitting around reflecting on life and enjoying a moment of mindfulness.
The Tor 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 modem 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.
Touch the tower
At the top of Glastonbury Tor is St Michael’s Tower. The 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. It’s worth the trip to the top of the Tor to touch it, as it provides a wonderful natural viewpoint.
Once you’ve arrived, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views for miles around.
The White Spring
If you return down the back of the Tor, via Well House Lane (and an ice-cream van), you will stumble across the White Spring Well and Temple. The interior consists of 3 domed vaults, which are candle-lit, giving it a really mystical feel. As your eyes adjust, the darkness will heighten your other senses and you will be aware of the sound of dripping water and the aromatic scent of burning incense.
Admission to this sanctuary is free (apart from a donation), but you have to 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 temple has been built on the site of a natural spring, full of calcium, giving it a white look and is known as 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 charge to get in. Like the temple, it is a place of meditation and retreat and offers a mystical experience to its visitors.
Make your way down Chilwell Street and you will come across Glastonbury Abbey, 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 one of the best things to do in Glastonbury with kids.
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.