For travelers who enjoy getting off the beaten path, Glastonbury, England is a unique and rewarding destination. This small town in South England is home to some of the country’s most famous historical sites, including Glastonbury Abbey and the Tor. If you are looking for things to do in Glastonbury, we have just the list for you!
Is Glastonbury UK worth visiting?
Glastonbury is very different than most other places in England.
Part historic, part mystical, Glastonbury is believed to be the true Avalon.
If you are considering making the trip to Glastonbury, I would suggest you give yourself a full day to explore everything there is to see here!
5 Things to Do in Glastonbury, England for the Day
Glastonbury has several historical places to explore along with a city center filled with an eclectic mix of mystical shops and boutique stores.
Here are the things to do in Glastonbury:
1. Visit Glastonbury Abbey
The first thing you will want to see is Glastonbury Abbey. This Abbey was established as a Benedictine Monastery, under Beorhtwald, its first Saxon abbot, around 670 AD.
There are great digital images of what these buildings would have looked like in their original state.
Throughout the next few centuries, the monastery was enlarged, destroyed by a fire, reconstructed, and then finally destroyed totally when King Henry VIII dissolved all monasteries in the 16th century.
The structures that are left will help you understand its enormity at one time and how beautiful it probably once looked.
Evidence of the dissolution of the Abbey is found everywhere on this sacred site.
All symbols and decorations that once filled the space have been removed and left standing and are only part of what was once a very enormous and probably, amazingly beautiful abbey.
The Abbots Kitchen
With its octagonal tower and menacing gargoyles on the exterior, this medieval kitchen dates back to the 14th century and is the only building to remain fully intact.
It has been refurbished to show what it would have looked like when it was used, with four corner fireplaces.
Each of these would have been used for a different purpose (roasting, boiling, baking, and washing).
King Arthur Burial Site
What makes this Abbey one of the most popular Glastonbury attractions to visit is its connection to King Arthur. Legend has it that King Arthur and his wife Guinevere are buried on the grounds.
When monks heard this, they had the land excavated (12th century). Below the earth, they found some bones & hair.
At the time of King Edward I’s reign, the remains were sealed in a black marble tomb. Unfortunately, when King Henry VIII dissolved all the monasteries, the tombs were removed.
The Holy Thorn
Just before the Dissolution of the Monasteries, three unique Middle-eastern thorn trees grew in Glastonbury on a nearby hill.
The trees were considered to be sacred because of the story surrounding a connection to Joseph of Arimathea and the fact that they flower twice a year: once around Easter and then again at Christmas.
The original trees were destroyed in the 17th century (by Puritan soldiers who believed they were superstitious), but locals had taken cuttings prior to their removal and replanted them in several other locations in town.
Two such trees can be found on the grounds of the Glastonbury Abbey.
2. Shop on High Street
After checking out the Abbey, venture over to High Street and do some shopping.
This won’t be your typical shopping experience.
During your day trip to Glastonbury, you will find a ton of new-age shops featuring healing oils, crystals, magic, and other mystical properties!
Even if you don’t want to go to the shops, window shopping is just as fun with all the colorful stores and window displays!
3. Climb the Glastonbury Tor
A day trip to Glastonbury isn’t complete without seeing the most famous of their attractions, Glastonbury Tor.
The Tor is known to be one of the most spiritual sites in England.
Legend has it that the Tor is the site of Avalon, the mythical island from the Arthurian legends.
This legend is based on the fact that Glastonbury was once an island in a lake. The lake has since dried up, but the Tor still stands as a reminder of its existence.
To get to the top, you will need to walk along either the natural or the terracing footpath along the outer rim. These paths date to the same time period as Stonehenge.
It takes 15-20 minutes to ascend and the climb is best done slowly since it is so steep.
When you reach the summit, you will find the remnants of a church (circa 1323) that was destroyed same time as Glastonbury Abbey. Only the tower remains.
The views are spectacular. Take a seat on the grass (watch for rabbit poo) and enjoy your accomplishment!
How to get to the Tor from the Town Center
The Tor is on the outskirts of town and while you can walk to it, I suggest you don’t. Instead, take the shuttle in the central square that will take you to both the Chalice Well & Gardens and to the base of the Tor.
4. Drink from the Chalice Well & Visit the Gardens
The Glastonbury Chalice Well is a natural spring that has been used as a place of pilgrimage for centuries.
The water is said to have healing properties and people come from far and wide to drink from the well or bathe their feet in its waters.
You will find only one place where you can drink from the well, but several places where the water flows downstream through the gardens.
The gardens surrounding the well are lovely, with lush greenery, flowers, and sculptures.
There are hidden nooks throughout the garden where you can find solace to pray, meditate or just feel the healing effects of this spiritual space.
5. Explore the Street Art & Venture off the Beaten Path
There is just so much to see in Glastonbury and some of it is off the beaten path.
You will find beautiful street art throughout Glastonbury.
Take your time and walk around not only the main streets but the back streets. Sometimes, that is where you will find the hidden jewels!
How to Get to Glastonbury from London
The quickest option is by train from London’s Paddington Station to Castle Cary. It takes 1½ hours.
You can also find many tours that will take you from London to Glastonbury. Here are some of our favorites:
If you’re looking for an exciting and different travel experience, be sure to add these Glastonbury attractions to your itinerary!
Have you had a chance to experience any or all of these Glastonbury attractions? Which was your favorite?