Glastonbury Tor
Somerset BA6 9DU
Glastonbury Tor is situated on the east side of Glastonbury Village, about ¾ of a mile from the village centre and the ruined Glastonbury Abbey.
The Tor looms over Glastonbury and can be seen from miles around. It is 518 feet (158 metres) above sea level and is riddled with caves.
Celtic Legend
Celtic legend has it that the caves are the entry to the Underworld. The whole area of Glastonbury is steeped in myth and legend and it is hard to separate the fact from the fiction. May be it is more romantic not to try.
About 2000 years ago, the Tor and Glastonbury village were lapped by the sea. Over time the sea receded leaving a lake and marshy fenland. The fens were later drained by the monks and the Somerset Levels were created. The Tor appeared to be an island in a lake and it was given the Celtic name Ynys-witrin (island of glass).
The Land of the Dead
Since pre-historic times the Tor has been occupied but most of the archeological finds date to the Early Middle Ages (500-1000 AD). The Tor gained mystical significance as a place where the body crossed over to the underworld after death. The Celts called the Tor the Isle of Avalon (the land of the dead) after the Celtic god Avallach who ruled the underworld.
More significant from the Christian point of view was the discovery of the head of a cross and what are thought to be monastic cells cut into the rock on the summit of the Tor (c. 900-1100 AD). A Charter of 1243 giving permission for a fair to be held in the Monastery of St Michael on the hill confirms the existence of monastic dwellings.
The monastery and St Michael's Chapel on the Tor were strongly associated with the great Abbey in the town below. Pilgrims would ascend the hill with peas in their shoes as a penance. The original Church of St Michael was destroyed in an earthquake and rebuilt in the 14th century.
Only the tower still stands. Glastonbury Tor and the ruined Tower of St Michael’s Chapel are now cared for by the National Trust (NT).
King Arthur
There are many Arthurian and Christian legends associated with the Tor and surrounding area.
In the later legends of King Arthur, both Glastonbury Tor and the Isle of Avalon feature. The legend has it that after Arthur was mortally wounded in battle by Mordred, he was transported to the Isle of Avalon by the Lady of the Lake’s maidens and then taken to the Tor.
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Joseph of Arimathaea
Some people believe that Jesus Christ’s great uncle, Joseph of Arimathaea was a tin merchant who traded with the tin miners of Britain’s west coast. They believe that he brought his great nephew, the young Jesus to England and together they made a pilgrimage to the Isle of Avalon.
The legend says that Jesus chose a site for a church to be built after his death and instructed that it be dedicated to his mother, Mary. Joseph of Arimathaea was entrusted with this task. Joseph purportedly arrived in Glastonbury after the crucifixion and established the first Christian church at Glastonbury Abbey.
It is a stiff climb up the Tor’s terraced pathway; however there are amazing views from the summit, especially at night when there is a full moon making the climb more than worthwhile!
Disabled Access
There is parking available to orange & blue badge holders.
There are no facilities and no toilets.
Opening Hours & Access
There is year round access to Glastonbury Tor and there is no admission cost.
Contact & Further Information
Glastonbury TIC, 9 High Street Glastonbury.
Telephone  +44 (0)1458 832 954
Website  Glastonbury TIC    External Link
Getting There
See full directions on our Glastonbury page.
Parking is available in any of the Glastonbury ‘Pay and Display’ car parks and from there it is a ¾ mile (1.2 km) walk along Wellhouse Lane. There is free parking at the Somerset Rural Museum, Abbey Farm, Glastonbury near the Tor. It is about a 1½ mile walk to the base of the hill. This path is a steeper route than the Wellhouse Lane route.
The Glastonbury Tor Bus runs an all day shuttle service between April and September. Buses run every half hour from the Glastonbury Abbey Car Park in the centre of town. Bus timetables are available from the  Glastonbury TIC
Google Map - Glastonbury Tor


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