Glastonbury is a lively town situated in the Mendip district of Somerset and is encapsulated in myth and legend which attracts visitors from far and wide. Formerly an island in the Somerset marshes it was once known as the Isle of Avalon and has many historic landmarks of interest as well as a definite draw, attributed to the area’s special spiritual energies.
With a population of 9,000 people, Glastonbury offers the visitor an array of interesting activities and events. The town centre is host to many cafes, and shops that specialise in arts and crafts (many with a spiritual or alternative theme), including crystals, antiques and sheepskins.
For an array of designer and chain store outlets visit Clarkes Village, just outside Glastonbury, worth a visit. The Somerset Rural Life Museum housed in the Abbey barn is also well worth a visit as it has many ancient relics from the area’s agricultural history and local industries.
The most well known event is of course the annual Glastonbury Music Festival at Pilton which attracts around 100,000 music lovers each year, who come to enjoy the many upcoming and already well-known bands. Slightly more low key but still very popular is the Summer Dance Festival held in Glastonbury.
Many come to explore historic landmarks including Glastonbury Tor, the Abbey ruins and Chalice Well. The area is steeped in legend and connections to the Christian faith. One such legend is that the first English Christian church was founded here in the 1st century AD by Joseph of Arimathea, which is now where the Abbey ruins are.
It is also thought that King Arthur is buried here. One of the first things that can be spotted en route to Glastonbury is the prominent landmark, Glastonbury Tor. On top of a conical hill more over 158 metres high, stands the tower of a 14th century church. Some even speculate this is home to the king of the fairies, Gwyn ap Nudd.
At the bottom of the Tor is Chalice well which is one of the oldest continuously used holy wells in this country. During the 20th and 21st century Glastonbury has remained an important pilgrimage site and more recently has attracted many mystics, healers and occultists.