Glastonbury is known for its rich history of spiritual pilgrimage to the “heart chakra of the Earth.” Each year, thousands of people are drawn to the mystical “Isle of Avalon” from all over the globe.
Filled with magical healing energies and sacred sites, when you step into this legendary, quirky village, you’ll soon see why it’s worth a visit!
Glastonbury’s religious and spiritual history goes back to the megalithic era and is the site of the first Christian church in the British Isles. One of its most famous legends is that it’s claimed to be the famous Isle of Avalon of the King Arthur tale, but it doesn’t stop there.
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The legend of Glastonbury tells the story of Joseph of Arimathea and the Holy Grail. After the Resurrection of Jesus, it’s said that Joseph took the Holy Grail from Jerusalem to Glastonbury and other legends say Mary Magdalene accompanied him, which is why there’s a deep devotion to the sacred feminine in this area.
And then there’s the Druids, who still play a major role in current-day Glastonbury. The Druids utilized the famous Glastonbury Tor from 2,500 BC as an initiation centre for priests and priestesses and considered Glastonbury their “holy mecca.”
So whether you believe the legends to be true or not, the fact remains you’ll have an unforgettable time exploring this unique town.
The most famous thing to do in Glastonbury is climbing the Tor. The Glastonbury Tor has its own countless legends associated with it, but in all practicality, it’s worth a climb to the top for the breathtaking 360-degree views of Glastonbury, the Isle of Avalon, and Somerset.
There’s a paved path as the hill is managed by The National Trust, but I do recommend having some good walking or hiking shoes/boots as it’s quite steep and can be slippery depending on the weather. And you never know, you might want to run back down through the meadow!
At the top of the Tor are the remains of the 14th-century church of St. Michael. You wouldn’t believe it, but the tower was actually put there to replace another church destroyed by an earthquake. The wind gets pretty gusty by the tower, but you might just catch an odd group here or there partaking in various ceremonies.
Chalice Well & Gardens
After your hike to and from the Tor, you’ll find yourself at the bottom of the hill right outside the Chalice Well. Find solace in these gardens and leave feeling refreshed, renewed, and with an indescribable sense of peace.
Chalice Well is one of Britain’s most ancient wells, surrounded by beautiful gardens and orchards. It’s a living sanctuary, where for over 2,000 years it’s been a place where people have gathered to drink the waters and find healing.
Many myths are attributed to the waters, which flow ceaselessly at a steady rate and at a temperature that never varies. The most famous myth is that the waters represent the blood of Christ miraculously springing forth from the ground when Joseph of Arimathea buried or washed the cup used at the Last Supper.
Are you starting to get an idea of how much history and legend is buried deep inside Glastonbury?!
Entrance fees are:
- Adults – £4.60
- Children (5 to 17 years) – £2.30
- Concessions – £3.80
Tip: Bring your own water bottles and fill them up for free outside the Chalice Well!
The White Spring
Just under the base of the Tor, lies the White Spring. The Chalice Well is known as the Red Spring, as it’s been touched with iron, while the White Spring is white with calcite. The White Spring is a wonderful contrast to the brightness of the Chalice Well. It’s cavernous, candlelit, and mysterious as can be.
You might want to take your shoes off to walk through this sacred space, consisting of three domed vaults. The sound of perpetually flowing water is tranquil and the temperature stays consistent all year round.
Don’t be surprised if you see people bathing or conducting ceremonies in the springs either.
People from diverse backgrounds and traditions come from all over to experience the blessings of the well. It’s an otherworldly experience to be had in Glastonbury for sure!
There’s no charge to get in, but donations are accepted.
And just outside you can fill up your water bottles again!
Glastonbury Abbey is a hidden jewel of Somerset. It’s held a prominent and sacred position in the Christian world since the earliest days of the church. Today the Abbey is revered as holy grounds and the Abbey Ruins are the site of the first Christian Church in Europe.
And let’s not forget the grounds are reputed to be the burial sites of Joseph of Arimathea, The Virgin Mary, Saint Patrick and King Arthur. Legends claim both the Holy Grail and Arc of the Covenant were kept in the Abbey grounds.
The Abbey is set in 36 acres of parkland, which you won’t even believe, in the middle of Glastonbury village. They’re open 364 days a year, with a summer cafe, costumed guides, an accredited museum and a gift shop. You can even take your pup along!
The Abbot’s Kitchen is the largest monastic, octagonal building intact at Glastonbury Abbey.
It’s one of the world’s few surviving Medieval kitchens in all of Europe, known for its four large fireplaces. The Abbot of Glastonbury lived well and this well-preserved kitchen shows just how opulent the house was. Since it was the only building to survive, it was later used as a Quaker meeting room.
You can view the Abbot’s Kitchen with an entry to the Glastonbury Abbey grounds.
Glastonbury High Street
The High Street in Glastonbury is known for its eclectic collection of weird and witchy shops and cafes. Windows full of color, crystals, esoteric books, witchcraft supplies and faery accessories are what you can expect to see. But it’s all in good fun!
Take a walk on the wild side and pop into some of these shops and open your mind to something a bit off the wall.
- The Goddess & The Green Man
- Labyrinth Books
- Star Child
- The Speaking Tree Bookshop
- Goddess Temple Gifts
- The Firefly
- The Crystal Man
- Witchcraft Shop
- Chocolate Love Temple
- Courtyard Books
- Draper of Glastonbury
- Man, Myth & Magik
George Hotel & Pilgrims Inn
The George Hotel and Pilgrims’ Inn is thought to be the oldest purpose-built pub in the South West of England. The enchanting, gothic building dates from around 1455 and was established by the Glastonbury Abbey during the War of Roses so the business of pilgrimage could continue.
You can’t miss the inn from the High Street, just around the corner from the Abbey. Pop in for a drink at the bar or a meal set under creaking Medieval wooden beams, being warmed by a Tudor fireplace.
Glastonbury Goddess Temple
If you’re looking for some respite on High Street, head over to the Goddess Temple for something a bit different. It’s a one-of-a-kind space for the modern-day Goddess to pray, meditate, celebrate and worship the glory of the Goddess. People from all over Britain travel here for kinship and community.
The Temple has been around since the 1980s and it’s unique in that they believe they might be the only public indigenous British Goddess Temple in all of Europe. You’ll find the decor and altar spaces are changed up with the seasons, set up by the Priestesses and Priests of Avalon, so there’s always something new to see and experience.
The Goddess Temple’s a beautiful space that’s so inviting you might just feel at home. Upon entry, you’ll be greeted by the resident Priestess or Priestess-in-Training and instructed to remove your shoes and get more comfortable. The atmosphere is quiet and serene and within no time, you’ll feel the flurry of thoughts in your mind start to calm. But by the time you leave, you might just notice something different about yourself.
Feel free to stop by this enchanted space for 10 minutes or 2 hours. And on your way out, definitely stop by Goddess Temple Gifts downstairs. Here you’ll find artwork, handmade pottery, jewelry, clothing and so much more, all crafted and designed with the Goddess as the central focal point. The Glastonbury Goddess Temple is open 365 days a year, from 12-4 pm, while the shop hours may change so check their website before you go!
Best Casual Cafes
Glastonbury is known for its family-owned, eclectic cafes. You won’t have any problem catering to all foodie lifestyles. There are vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options galore! I highly recommend checking out more than one throughout the day, even if just for a cake and coffee.
- Hundred Monkeys Cafe – Organic, Vegan, Gluten-Free & Dairy Free options
- Rainbow’s End – Glastonbury’s original vegetarian & vegan family-run restaurant
- Burns the Bread – A proper, old-fashioned British bakery serving savoury treats & sweet cakes
- The Blue Note Cafe – Vegetarian, Vegan cafe serving light snakes & entrees at affordable prices
- The Lazy Gecko Cafe – A quirky cafe filled with eclectic art, furniture & locals. Every dish is made fresh to order and the owners live right upstairs! This is my personal fave.
- The Winking Turtle Cafe – Bright, cheery and generous portions. Vegetarian, Vegan & Gluten-Free options.
Is Glastonbury Worth a Visit?
So as you can see, Glastonbury is a unique place definitely worth visiting in southwest England. It’s not your average tourist destination and you’re guaranteed to leave a little happier and more peaceful than when you arrived. If you have the time, spend a whole weekend here and let me know what treasures you find! Do you think the legends and myths of the Isle of Avalon are true?
Hi, I'm Kat, an Australian that moved to London in 2013 to start a new adventure. What a roller-coaster that was! I love helping others move to the UK and people explore the world! I’d be honoured if you’d say, “Thanks!” with a £3 coffee on Ko-fi.