Glastonbury: A Visitor’s Guide To Somerset
The town of Glastonbury is most famous for the annual festival which bears its name, but this quirky Somerset town offers so much more than just music.
It is full of magic and mystery, and boasts a history that dates back thousands of years. The local myths and legends are part of the appeal that attracts visitors from across the globe.
A Magical And Mysterious Town, Just 18 Miles (35 Minutes) From The Swan Inn
If you’re looking for the perfect base from which to explore Glastonbury, The Swan Inn in the village of Rowberrow is just a 35 minute drive away. With 9 beautiful boutique bedrooms, a delicious food offering focused on hearty pub classics and fresh flatbread pizzas, and plenty of award-winning Butcombe beer on offer!
Located in the county of Somerset, the quirky town of Glastonbury is situated on the Somerset Levels. Visitors can explore the diverse shops on the high street, the notable buildings in the surrounding areas and familiarise themselves with the traditions of the town.
Glastonbury is steeped in history, with evidence suggesting that the town has been populated since the latter part of the Stone Age. It is home to one of the oldest timber trackways ever discovered in Northern Europe, The Sweet Track.
Often referred to as the spiritual centre of England, Glastonbury boasts many myths and legends, along with several buildings of religious significance.
Attracting visitors from all over the world, Glastonbury Tor is without doubt one of the most popular spots in the whole of Somerset.
Rising more than 150m above the surrounding Summerland Meadows, the 360-degree views from Glastonbury Tor are breathtaking. Standing proudly atop the hill is St Michael’s Tower, now roofless, but teeming with history.
It is believed that several buildings stood at the summit before St Michael’s Tower was constructed, with experts identifying evidence from as early as the 10th century.
Located on Chalice Hill (less than half a mile from Glastonbury Tor), is Chalice Well.
According to legend, the well was formed at the site where Jesus drank water during the Last Supper, while archaeological evidence confirms that the well has been in use for more than 2,000 years.
Also known as the Red Spring, the iron oxide deposits in the water give it a light reddish colour, with many people believing that the water has healing qualities. Visitors can drink the water from the Lion’s Head Fountain.
White Spring Well & Temple
Opposite the site of Chalice Well at the foot of Glastonbury Tor is the White Spring & Temple. While Chalice Well is known as the Red Spring because of the iron-rich water, the White Spring takes its name from the calcium-rich water that gathers in the central basin from the surrounding network of pools.
A windowless building has been constructed over the well, so the only light inside comes from the numerous candles on the walls, which also serve to make visitors feel calm and relaxed.
There are benches on the walls for visitors to sit on, though these can be damp at times, so come prepared!
Located just a 5 minute walk from the town centre, Glastonbury Abbey is one of the most visited attractions in Somerset.
While evidence shows that a church has stood on the site for more than 1,500 years, it is believed that the area was occupied long before that time. King Arthur, who reportedly led Britain’s defence against the Saxons invasion in the latter part of the 5th century, was supposedly buried here, with the site of his tomb still recognised today.
Unfortunately, the dissolution of the monasteries reduced the magnificent abbey to ruins, though the myths, legends and tales of this important historical site are as strong as ever.
Somerset Rural Life Museum
Since it opened in 1975, the Somerset Rural Life Museum has become one of the most popular attractions in the county.
As the name suggests, the Somerset Rural Life Museum celebrates the social and agricultural history of Somerset from the 1800s onwards. The Orchard and Farmyard are among the most popular outdoor spaces, while the 14th century Abbey Barn is home to the multitude of events and exhibitions that take place here.
The site is family-friendly and has a wonderful on-site cafe where visitors can stop for tea, coffee, light snacks and other refreshments.
It wouldn’t seem right to talk about Glastonbury and all of its wonderful attractions, without mentioning the world-famous Glastonbury Festival.
Although it bears the Glastonbury name, the festival is actually held in the village of Pilton and was originally called the Pilton Pop, Blues & Folk Festival when it commenced in 1970.
Over the years, the festival has grown into one the most popular events on the music calendar and has been headlined by some of the most iconic musicians the world has ever known.
Glastonbury Festival typically attracts around 200,000 attendees over the 5 day period and adheres to a “fallow year” every 5 years, which allows the local people of Glastonbury and the event organisers a much needed break.
Directions To The Swan Inn From Glastonbury
Located just a 35 minute drive from Glastonbury, The Swan Inn is a 17th century Grade II-listed pub and inn, brimming with history and a cosy, welcoming vibe.
To reach The Swan Inn from St Dunstan’s Car Park in Glastonbury, you must head east and turn right onto Magdalene Street. You will then encounter 3 roundabouts in quick succession, where you must continue towards the A39 at each one.
At the 4th roundabout, you take the 1st exit onto the B3151 and continue for approximately 8 miles before turning right onto Grant’s Lane, left onto The Borough and then right onto the B3151.
Turn left onto Upper New Road (A371) and then bear right onto Shipham Road and continue for 1.5 miles. Continue onto Cuck Hill, merge onto The Square and then Turnpike Road.
Turn right onto North Down Lane before turning left onto Rowberrow Lane and The Swan Inn will be on your right.