Days out: Glastonbury

One of the things I dislike about winter is not being able to get out and about. Sure you can still do stuff, but it’s not much fun when it’s freezing cold with the threat of rain or snow and your extremities feel like they’re going to drop off.

The husband and I have been craving a change of scene and some fresh air, so with the promise of a dry and bright Saturday, we headed off to Glastonbury.

I’ve never been to Glastonbury before, and only know of it due to the music festival. I’d heard that it was hippy and mystical but knew nothing else about it. A quick Tripadvisor search told us that Glastonbury Tor and Glastobury Abbey were must sees.

Off we went down the motorway, getting super excited as the car temperature gauge crept ever higher, at one point reaching the heady heights of 10 degrees! It started to drop as we neared our destination, and was no more than 6 degrees and overcast as we parked up in Glastonbury and prepared to climb the Tor.

Glastonbury Tor is a bloody big hill, 525ft high, steeped in history and legend. At the top is what’s left of St Michael’s tower, dating back to the 15th century. Stuff like that blows my mind. It’s just so old!

national-trust-glastonbury-tor

There seemed to be multiple approaches to the Tor, and we settled on the one we were told was a gentle approach.

glastonbury-tor-the-gentle-approach

Ha! Either someone was having us on, or I’d hate to see the none gentle approach! Despite the helpful addition of a well trodden path and man made steps, the ascent was challenging at times (remember I’m a non healthy, non exercising, non flexible person). Calves burned. Cheeks burned. Skin flushed from pink to purple. There were multiple stops, huffs and puffs as we powered on through. But we made it!

The views from the top are 360 degrees – apparently you can see 3 counties. It was pretty cool, but still just a view of countryside (I appreciate this makes me a heathen). Maybe because it was cloudy and dull, maybe because we were so high that the wind was howling and I was afraid of falling off and tumbling down the hill, or maybe because I had such bad earache from the blowing gale that I couldn’t properly concentrate, but it wasn’t worth staying up there for very long.

view-from-glastonbury-tor

So I snapped some piccies, marvelled (and not in a good way) at the man who had carried a babe in arms which was howling through it’s pink blanket, wondered why on earth there were names and initials carved into the stone of the historical St Michael’s church (seriously, who does that?!) and headed back down.

Feeling exhilarated and proud of ourselves we walked towards the town to check out the Abbey.

Glastonbury Abbey in it’s current guise dates back to the 1530s, and again is steeped in history. It’s the final burial place of King Arthur (like, wow!) For just £7.60 each (including the optional gift aid donation) we wandered around at leisure looking at the ruins, the history, the grand floorplan, the grounds, the flowers and the museum. It was magnificent. So much history.

The size and scale of the ruins is amazing, and trying to picture it in it’s full glory is mindblowing in itself. The ruins that are still standing are majestic. To think they were built all those years ago, without machinery, scaffolding or architects is fantastic.

The level of detailed carving and sculpture, purely for decorative purposes, must have been such a long process.

Here’s an impression of what it would have looked like before it was ruined.

glastonbury-abbey-artist-impression

Glastonbury town is surprisingly small, but very quirky. Outside of the main street there isn’t really much to see or do, it just kind of drifts off into ordinary nothingness! There are lots of crystal shops, stores selling books about witchcraft and the occult, hippy clothes shops and jewellery shops, with bright frontages, candles, mirrors and fun names.

Through this archway was a little courtyard with some quaint bookstores and a café.

glastonbury-experience

Such a pretty approach and shop.

This wooden face carving was a bit eerie!

glastonbury-wooden-carving

The sculptures were lovely.

See the guy in the blue fleece on the bottom right photo? He was randomly doing some form of tai-chi on his own in the middle of the courtyard. The kind of thing you’d expect in a place like this. Then he stopped and got his mobile phone out! Checking your emails isn’t the height of zen!

After marvelling at all the colours and craziness, we headed home; contended and happy to have had such a great day.

Thanks, as always, for reading!

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