Glastonbury Somerset where Myth and Magic meet.
A unique experience.
Thankfully, we live close to Glastonbury in Somerset, as the town is one of my favourite places to visit. The shops there are an experience in themselves, from magic shops to shops selling crystals and the shoe shop in the main street sells some of the most unusual shoes I have ever seen.
Even the alleyways look like something from a fairytale, set with semi precious stones, crystals and small statues and fountains.
The many cafes provide wonderful, wholesome food, including some excellent vegetarian and vegan dishes and the Chalice Well Gardens on the outskirts of town are an absolute delight to visit at any time of year.
The Chalice Well Gardens.
The Chalice Well gardens have been a place of pilgrimage for a great many centuries. The gardens are one of the world peace gardens and contain a descendant of the Holy thorn that is said to have sprung forth from the staff of Joseph of Arimathea. The bush flowers only twice a year at Easter time and at Christmas, adding weight to the myth. I have seen it on both occasions and it is quite beautiful.
The well is also believed by some to be the hiding place of the Holy Grail, the cup used by Christ at the last supper. One of the many myths surround this magical place is that the red waters represent the blood of Christ and that the spring came into being when Joseph buried the Holy Grail.
I don't know if anyone has actually looked for the grail but it is an interesting myth, Just don't tell Dan Brown. If he writes a book about it visitor numbers will soar and The Chalice Well gardens will be as crowded as Rosslyn chaple!
The Chalice Well is a gentle ten minute stroll from Glastonbury Abbey, it is open throughout the year and there is a small charge for admittance. If you must bring a car it can be parked nearby, although parking for the disabled is provided at the gardens.
The Well itself is ancient, providing a steady flow of warm water amounting to over 25,000 gallons daily.
The water is iron rich and stains everything it touches blood red, which explains the old name for the Chalice Well. In the past people referred to the well as Blood Spring or simply The Red. The water bubbles up from the ground at a constant temperature of 52f, summer and winter, it never varies.
Glastonbury Tor and Abbey.
The gardens provide a peaceful, almost magical place to sit and relax, letting the peace and quiet soothe your body and your soul. The well and gardens are tucked away in a tranquil valley at the foot of Glastonbury Tor.
From the various picnic spots and swinging seats dotted around a large flower strewn meadow you have a clear view of Tor hill. Ancient Yew trees provide ample shade.
The lions head fountain.
Visitors can bathe in the healing waters of the spa pool, built in the middle of the eighteenth century and shaded by tall trees, it is the perfect place to sit and recharge your batteries. The healing spring water can be drunk from the Lions head fountain, the water is safe and crystal clear.
Twice a day at twelve noon and three pm a bell rings out over the gardens signalling the start of a minute of silence. Although, the gardens are never what you would call noisy. Mobile phones are required to be switched off and only the hushed whispers of visitors and the ever present sound of softly flowing water and bird song disturb the peace but only a little.
Many areas of the gardens are designated for quiet contemplation. The air is clean and clear, smoking is banned, and as you fill your lungs you can almost imagine all of your worries and troubles leaving you as you exhale.
Before you leave you can visit the little on site shop where you can purchase books and craft goods. For anyone visiting Glastonbury and the surrounding area the Chalice Well gardens are a sight not to be missed.
Tear yourself away from the quirky shops, the Abbey, and the Tor and spend an hour or two relaxing surrounded by the warmth and beauty of the gardens. On a fine day it is the perfect place for a picnic, although remember that alcohol is banned from the gardens, so save the wine for when you get home.