A Guide to Glastonbury Abbey
What You Need to Know
- Glastonbury Abbey is a ruined monastery situated in the small town of Glastonbury, Somerset.
- The Abbey dates back to the 7th century and boasts a fascinating history.
- It has also long been associated with the myths of King Arthur, with some people believing Glastonbury was where Avalon was located.
- Glastonbury can be reached by coach and bus from Wells, Bath, Bristol and Exeter, while trains also run from nearby Castle Cary to London Paddington.
- The Abbey is more than just a pile of ruins. Its grounds are ideal for families or romantic couples as well as history buffs.
- The town of Glastonbury is home to numerous small, independent shops, cafes and restaurants, with a focus on spiritual and green living.
- Other local attractions include the fascinating Glastonbury Tor, a man-made hills that is also central to the legend of King Arthur.
About Glastonbury Abbey
Glastonbury Abbey is set in 36 acres of Somerset greenland and at one time was the greatest abbey in England.
Nowadays, the magical building is a major UK attraction and brings in visitors from all over the globe, eager to learn about England’s history from the site, which is intertwined with the events of the past 2,000 years.
It is at Glastonbury Abbey that legend has it King Arthur and his wife Queen Guinevere are buried, although some claim this is an urban legend.
To bring this history to life, tour guides dressed in a variety of costumes are on hand during the tourist season. Performers re-enact King Arthur’s Court, kitchen maids demonstrate their daily duties and monks talk about life at the abbey.
The abbey is also surrounded by beautifully-kept gardens, which are adorned with daffodils in spring, snowdrops in winter and wildflowers in summer.
Getting to Glastonbury Abbey
Glastonbury Abbey is situated in the small town of Glastonbury, in Somerset in the south-west of England, with the cities of Bath and Bristol just a few miles away.
Visitors to Glastonbury Abbey can take busses from Wells, Bournemouth, Bath and Exeter to the area, for an economic and cheap manner of arrival.
There is also a good train service running to Glastonbury from London. The ride is largely scenic and takes around three hours. While Glastonbury does not have its own train station, services from London Paddington stop at the nearby village of Castle Cary, with the small town just a short taxi ride from here.
The National Express runs services to Glastonbury. Visitors should be aware that when the Glastonbury Music Festival is on the area gets a lot busier and transport may be harder to come by.
Why Visit Glastonbury Abbey?
Glastonbury Abbey is more than a historic ruin – it is a national treasure which has avoided becoming complacent as an attraction. Those entrusted with its care go to great lengths to put on exciting events, interesting demonstrations and enliven visitors’ imaginations.
As well as the history of the Abbey itself, the grounds are also home to a number of duck and fish ponds, hundreds of historic trees and numerous tranquil corners in which visitors are able to sit and reflect in peace. Additionally, the Abbey is also a regular setting for musical performances and outdoor plays, especially during the busy summer months.
The abbey has a range of retail facilities to enable visitors to take something away from the building to remember their day by. The gift shop sells a wide selection of crystals and semi precious stones.
There is also a modern visitor centre outlining the history of the abbey, making the attraction an ideal place for school trips and family outings.
If you pay a visit to Glastonbury Abbey, then you will find a wealth of other fascinating tourist attractions just a few minutes away.
The town of Glastonbury itself is but a short stroll away, giving visitors the opportunity to turn their visit into a weekend break. Here you can find a number of small, independent shops and cafes, with a focus on spiritual and ethical living. One other local highlight is the impressive Glastonbury Tor, an ancient man-made hill which is the centre of many myths and legends.
During the summer the small town holds a massive music festival, which day tickets can be bought for. Be aware, however, that tickets for the festival tend to sell out many months in advance and every four years the event is cancelled so as to allow the farmland on which it is held to recover.
Further afield, historic Bath and Wells are only a short drive away, with local transport connections available, while bustling Bristol is also nearby, making this part of the country perfect for a long weekend.
- Learn more about the fascinating history of Glastonbury at the Abbey’s own website.
- Make a long weekend of it by enjoying a city break in nearby Bristol or Bath. Check our travel pages to find a hotel.