Somerset

Glastonbury

Raised above the picturesque, marshy Somerset Levels, this unique town has a rich, varied history making it a fascinating place to visit and offering far more than the famed festival. Choc-a-block with ancient and medieval buildings and monuments, it’s clear that this spot has been a place of great importance over the years and today offers a wide range of alternative shops and places to eat too.

Often referred as ‘the oddest town in England’ there’s no doubt Glastonbury has a bit of a reputation for the strange and unusual, from its multitude of alternative shops selling crystals, tarot readings and healing therapies to its more than fair share of unusual landmarks such as the Tor, Chalice Well, natural springs, mythological trees, a labyrinth and the ruins of a massive abbey. It even has a Goddess Temple, registered as a place of worship and the first to be recognised for 1500 years.

Intrinsically linked to Arthurian legends and Joseph of Arimathea, this must be the town with the strongest associations with myths and tale of old. Legend has it that Joseph, uncle of Jesus, stopped here with the Holy Grail (that which Christ drank out of at the Last Supper) and buried it in the hills from which a spring came forth, nowadays known as the Chalice Well and a lovely spot to visit. King Arthur and Guinevere’s remains are said to be buried in the picturesque Abbey, whilst the imposing Tor is one of the most spiritual sites in the UK even today and well worth the climb for the incredible views.

There are other hidden-away places to visit away from the main attractions. Behind the Chalice Well, lying next to the road, is the lesser well-known White Spring. Unlike the Chalice spring which runs red because it’s touched with iron, this one runs white with calcite. Mysterious and just as sacred, this spring lies in a dark, cavernous temple where you can dip your toes or go for a full immersion (by prior arrangement) to benefit from its healing qualities. There are also varied, ancient chapels and churches to discover as well as the legendary ancient oaks Gog and Magog, said to be part of the ancient entry onto the island back when Glastonbury was surrounded by water.

If you can tear yourself away from all the mysterious sites, you’ll find a host of eateries for a tasty snack or meal. As you can imagine, many of them lean towards veggie and vegan options, so you’ll soon absorb the healthy, clean lifestyle the town evokes. However, there are plenty of tea shops for a sugary indulgence or two, and many of the old pubs are worth a visit too.

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