Glastonbury Abbey

Glastonbury Abbey

Today all that remains of Britain’s second wealthiest, most powerful abbey (after Westminster) are the atmospheric ruins and peaceful grounds left for us to explore and only imagine what it must have been like to live in such a holy place with connections to King Arthur and Joseph or Arimathea.

Legend has it that the Abbey began life back in 63AD, when Joseph of Arimathea arrived into Britain, carrying with him the Holy Grail. Exhausted, he stopped for the night in Glastonbury and put his staff into the ground. The next day he woke to find the stick had taken root, which he took as a sign and founded the first monastery. Today, descendants of that stick, which turned into a Holy Thorn, now live within the grounds of the Abbey and by the Chalice Well.

It is also said that the Abbey is the last resting place of King Arthur and Guinevere, reburied within the abbey in 1273 underneath a large black marble tomb in the presence of King Edward I.

Throughout the centuries, the resident Abbott would have lived in great luxury and wielded lots of power – there are remnants of this power still to be seen today such as the Abbot’s Kitchen. During Henry VIII’s reign however, the power of the monasteries was lost during the Dissolution and the wealth was dispersed and land sold off, eventually falling into ruins.

Today, visitors can expect to spend a fascinating couple of hours exploring this wonderful, atmospheric site. With over 36 acres of parkland to explore including ponds, a cider orchard and a Badger Boardwalk, there’s plenty of opportunity to soak up the energy, whilst a visit to the legendary burial place of King Arthur and the Holy Thorn is a must.

You’ll have help from costumed, friendly guides who wander the grounds and the museum is a must for an in-depth look into the history of the Abbey. If you’re need of refreshment there’s a café, whilst the shop is the perfect opportunity to pick up a memento or two. Dogs are welcome on leads.

Feeling inspired? Take a look at our luxury cottages in Somerset here.

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