Somerset BA6 9DU
Glastonbury is a small town in the South West of England, some 2½ hours by road (M4) from London. Its history is interwoven with famous legends and folklore and it has long been a mecca for pilgrims, drawn from all over the world.
The visitor cannot help noticing that Glastonbury is built on the only bit of raised land in an otherwise flat plain which is part of the Somerset Levels. Originally fenland which was drained by the monks of Glastonbury Abbey, the plain is actually reclaimed land.
Glastonbury Tor rose out of the watery fens like an island and the Ancient Britons called it Ynys yr Afalon (The Isle of Avalon). Archeologists have identified the Tor as being an important place of settlement for several thousand years. They have found the remains of a Celtic lake village (300–200 BC).
Important Christian Centre
The significance of Glastonbury to Christians stems from the belief that Joseph of Arimathaea brought his nephew Jesus Christ on a pilgrimage to the Isle of Avalon. It is said that Joseph returned after Christ’s death to build the first church in Britain. Certainly, in Anglo-Saxon times it was the most important religious centre in the South West.
On the summit of the Tor is a ruined tower. It is all that remains of the 14th century St Michael's Chapel. On Chalice Hill at the foot of Glastonbury Tor is the revered site, The Chalice Well.
Who has not heard of and wondered at the fabulous legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Legend has it that King Arthur was born on Glastonbury Tor and buried in Glastonbury Abbey. The water surrounding Glastonbury in the Fens would have provided an ideal scenario for the legends of the Lady of the Lake.
Unfortunately, there is no proof that King Arthur actually existed but it is easy to see how such a mysterious and watery landscape gave rise to the legends.
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In the centre of Glastonbury Village are the ruins of the famous Glastonbury Abbey. The village has a variety of local businesses including Banks, Art, Photography & Music Stores, Body Piercing, Book Stores, Chemists, Garment Stores and many more....
Glastonbury is now famous for the Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts or ‘Glasto’ as it is often called. Originally started as contemporary Music Festival, it has now developed to include many other arts including comedy, theatre, cabaret, and dance and is attended by one hundred thousand plus devotees.
The Festival is held in late June in farm fields about six miles (9.6 km) from Glastonbury, near the village of Pilton (actually closer to Shepton Mallet than to Glastonbury!).
The Festival has a break year each six years so it is necessary to visit the official Festival web site early for details, registration and finally tickets.
TIP You will need to book early - for information go to Web: Glastonbury Festival website External Link
For those interested in restored heritage railways, about eight miles (13 km) to the east on the A361 is the town of Shepton Mallet. Just a little further, 3 miles (4.8km), again on the A361 is The East Somerset Railway.
Plan your Visit
Book your Accomodation in Advance
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Contact & Further Information
The Glastonbury TIC is located at The Tribunal, 9 High Street Glastonbury
+44 (0)1458 832 954
Glastonbury TIC External Link
Getting Around Glastonbury
Local Shuttle Bus
The Glastonbury Tor Bus runs an all day shuttle service between March and September. Pick up point in Glastonbury is St Dunstan’s Car Park (CP1). Web: Torbus External Link
There are small Hotels, many B&Bs, Guest Houses and also backpackers available.
- By Car from London
Take the M4 from London and either:
Head south on the M5 at Junction 20, past the exit to Weston-Super-Mare. At Junction 23 exit on to the A39 and follow the signs to Glastonbury – this route may be a little longer, however it is an easy route to follow; or
At Junction 18, take the A46 south and then follow the A4 to Bath as far as the A367 south. Follow the A367 towards Shepton Mallet. Once there, follow the A361 west to Glastonbury.
There are five official car parks in Glastonbury. They are ‘Pay and Display’ carparks.
- By Train from London
First Great Western trains run hourly on weekdays from Paddington Mainline Station to Exeter with a stop at Castle Cary. Journey time is approximately 1 hour 40 minutes. For tickets and timetable go to Web: National Rail website External Link
- Then by taxi
Get off the train at Castle Cary Station and continue to Glastonbury by alternative transport
Google Map - Glastonbury