Glastonbury Festival 2014

A walk around Glastonbury town

You could easily spend a few days experiencing Glastonbury and all its hidden treasures, but below we have tried to cram a selection of Glastonbury’s offerings into a short walkable circuit around the centre of town...

Starting at the Market Cross (the octagonal stone structure in the Market Place), at the bottom of the High Street, make your way up this main road, past the busy Backpackers and Crown pub on your left hand side.

There are many well-established businesses in Glastonbury. If you stick to the left side of the road as you head up the High Street you’ll pass a number of these, including Speaking Tree and Gothic Image - both small independent publishers of original and alternative books. You'll also see the historic George and Pilgrim Inn originally built to accommodate visitors to the Abbey in the early 15th century.

Amongst the old is a new and exciting shopping thoroughfare for Glastonbury in the form of The Gauntlet – boasting quirky shops and specialist wares; from Celtic and Norse gifts at Ceilteach, Gothic Gifts at Debra Rose, to life coaching and readings by Yvonne Anne amongst a number of others. Pick up a beautiful hand tied bouquet of flowers at Enchanted Florals.

Back on to the High Street you can find your bearings by picking up some direction at the Tourist Information Centre in The Tribunal building; No 9, the High St.

This 15th Century merchant’s house is not only the home of Glastonbury’s TIC but also hosts the Lake Village Museum – providing an insight into everyday life in an Iron Age settlement.

Be sure to cross over to the other side too, and grab some nourishment at the Blue Note Cafe, a busy vegetarian eating place with a super courtyard garden backing on to the Glastonbury Experience, another hidden away thoroughfare. Here you will find a couple of specialist jewellery and gift shops such as the enchanting Stone Age.

A little further up from the Blue Note is Burns the Bread bakery, a family business who has deservedly won many awards for their craft. Baking organic, spelt and regular breads, offerings also include the Glastonbury pasty and the world famous Torsy Moorsy cake.

Crossing back at the pedestrian crossing you’ll join the junction of Archers Way. Follow this for a little to a gallery named Facets of Avalon. Also a workshop, this space offers for sale handmade jewellery, hand painted silks and colour healing products.

Back to the High Street and again over to the right hand side, visit the Hundred Monkeys cafe for a filling wholesome meal, a relaxing cup of tea or one of their irresistible homemade brownies.

Leaving the High Street at the very top, near the junction to Bove Town (an alternative route to the Tor, should you wish to walk it) take a right along Lambrook Street and onto Chilkwell Street.

Just over the mini roundabout is The Riflemans Arms, a cheerful and lively pub boasting live music many evenings a week, with their dedicated Blues Jam event every Sunday between 5pm and 7pm.

Further along from the pub, on the corner of Chilkwell Street and Wellhouse Lane is Chalice Well, one of Britain’s most ancient wells. It is a natural spring, believed to possess healing qualities. Surrounded by beautiful gardens and deemed a sacred place it was granted World Peace Garden status in 2001 and really must be experienced on a visit to the town.

Before reaching the ‘The Rifes’, you will have seen The Rural Life Museum beyond its orchard, to the right at the roundabout. A magnificent fourteenth-century Abbey Barn is the centre piece of this museum with reconstructed rooms depicting the social and domestic life of Victorian Somerset. The barn contains displays illustrating tools and techniques of farming at that time.

Follow Bere Lane to its end, and bear to the right down Fishers Hill joining back to Magadalene Street – where you will see your start point, the Market Cross. Before returning, you’ll pass a selection of eateries on the left hand side; the Lazy Gecko with its friendly, relaxed atmosphere and ‘food from the heart’, the Abbey Tea Rooms offering morning coffees, traditional afternoon teas and the very established, family-run GiGi’s pizzeria.

You may not have realised it but this route circles the picturesque Glastonbury Abbey ruins - a must see if visiting Glastonbury town. Beyond the high walls, the abbey is the oldest above ground Christian church in the world, and according to legend was built at Joseph’s behest to house the Holy Grail. To enter the abbey grounds pass through the arch off Magdalene Street,  just across the road from the Abbey Tea rooms. The grounds are beautiful and if you’ve found them breathtaking by day, come back and view them dramatically lit at night at the Glastonbury Abbey Extravaganza in August.

Of course, if you did not make the detour by foot earlier, the Tor is another essential sight. The Tor Bus departs daily from April til September leaving every half hour from 9.30am and returning from the foot of the Tor til just after 7pm.