England, Housesitting in the UK, Life of adventure, Travel

The Oddest Town in England – Glastonbury

On our arrival in Glastonbury,  the first glimpse we had was not the mysticism and eccentricity it was all the hanging baskets bursting with blooming flowers.  They were a surprise and more than we had seen in other English towns.

What a colourful and cheerful display.

There were more surprises to come as we wandered around.

More than we expected.

After a while, I realised that we were the odd “persons” standing out in the local crowd.  Why?  For one, our clothing was rather subdued bordering on boring and so was our hair.  We needed glitter, coloured hair sprays, clothes that flow behind us as we walked down the street.

What were we thinking!


Then there were a few that acted like they were still experiencing their “acid trip” from the first Glastonbury Festival.  Others looked like they had recreated the bygone 1960’s hippy era.  I was starting to think we had been transported back in time.

Nowhere else will you find such an eclectic range of shops. From tarot readings to huge amounts of crystals, to music shops and fairy paintings. You can purchase incense sticks, jewellery and clothes with fantasy prints.  With locals showcasing the clothes, just in case you were wondering what they would look like on.

There are the less exotic though not any less interesting shops such as the supermarket.  As one local blogger describes the experience of being a shop assistant, life is never dull, in the local supermarket;

The grumpy ones don’t tend to last long as working behind the counter requires skills more usually found amongst mental health professionals. They also need to possess a facial recognition system on a par with the Police National Computer, in order to identify the many benchers (Glastonbury’s street drinkers) who are currently banned from purchasing alcohol. The staff also appear to have a surfeit of kindness, I recently heard one explaining to an elderly and rather dithering gentleman that no, they didn’t have Hot Cross Buns, it being June, but they had been able to find a packet of mincepies for him.  To read more about what life is like from a locals viewpoint head to Normal for Glastonbury

Then there were many of us, shall we say, “visitors” wandering around with a fixed bemused smile on our faces.  Let’s face it, there are not many towns in the UK, where you see a drag queen happily clutching a pink unicorn striding along singing an inaudible song. Not a flutter of an eyelid from the locals, the only people to react with surprise was the visitors.  What is extraordinary about Glastonbury is the number of “alternative thinkers”.

Then after a very short while, all sights and sounds become quite “normal”.

It does seem a place of pilgrimage and sanctuary for many people to come in search of their inner peace.

Their “Slice of Paradise”.

Cathedral and a busker

After acknowledging the uniqueness of this town, there is, of course, another side that needs to be seen, and, that is the mystical and historical sites of the Abbey and the Tor.

The Glastonbury Abbey

Glastonbury Abbey

We bit the bullet and shelled out a few pounds, to be more precise, 15 pounds.  Was it worth the money? I wasn’t convinced.  Though maybe we have saturated our memory bank with a few old ruins in the last few years.  Having said that, it was fascinating how dwarfed I felt standing near the Abbey ruins.  It was a monastery before it was an Abbey.  It must have been an incredible place to view before the destruction began.

The abbey was founded in the 7th century and enlarged in the 10th. It was destroyed by a major fire in 1184, but subsequently rebuilt and by the 14th century was one of the richest and most powerful monasteries in England.

For more detailed information: Glastonbury Abbey

The Glastonbury Tor

Glastonbury Tor

The Tor is a hill and a great way to work that gluteus maximus and have a plausible excuse to indulge in something cold and luscious.  The reward is to view the roofless St Michael’s Tower and those glorious countryside views.

The conical hill of clay and Blue Lias rises from the Somerset Levels. It was formed when surrounding softer deposits were eroded, leaving the hard cap of sandstone exposed. The slopes of the hill are terraced, but the method by which they were formed remains unexplained. Artefacts from human visitation have been found, dating from the Iron Age to Roman eras.

For more detailed information: Glastonbury Tor

It really was the oddest town of all that we have visited, and, we have seen quite a few on our travels.  From eclectic type folk to history dating back thousands of years.  Perhaps the two go hand in hand?



56 thoughts on “The Oddest Town in England – Glastonbury”

  1. We haven’t yet been to Glastonbury – it was on our list for next years visit (assuming borders are open, of course). It sounds right up my alley – I love those towns that are an eclectic mix of hippie, boho, new age. I’d love to go up the Tor for sunrise – I’ve heard that’s a “thing”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I honestly can’t see longhaul flights for quite a while and when they do start up they will be horrendously expensive. I am sure you would love the place. Laughed at the “thing”, I never listen to those just do what we like to do. No doubt why I have never had a bucket list. Just a fu*kit one 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Life at No. 22 and commented:

    Having spent many happy hours exploring the U.K. and elsewhere over the years, we often wonder how those unique places we visited are faring during more challenging times such as now. They like so many towns, and cities here in New Zealand are dependent on tourism.

    I am hoping that all of us locals will stop, look around and appreciate their own countries before embarking on another long haul flight. We shall have to wait and see how much the world has changed before travel becomes the thing to do.


  3. Enjoyed reading your remarks on Glastonbury. Have often felt the same way when I come to visit relatives and arrive in my normal street clothes how much I stand out to the good folk that reside here. Definitely its own spirit. I guess what I’ve learnt in the last couple of years its not necessarily an exclusion of normality more an acceptance of anyone and everyone. Love going down there 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Glastonbury shows a different face to all who visit.
    For many it is a show that they watch, the shops, the inhabitants with their unusual clothes and hair, the historic sites. And that is fine, the town welcome these visitors and treats them well
    For many others it is very different, those things exist to be sure but the real joy is the sense of acceptance of different spiritual paths, the love of Nature that is celebrated in so many ways, the sites of access to another reality in Chalice Well And White Springs, the Goddess Temple, the Tor and. Other sites that offer a glimpse of life as it could be lived.
    Glastonbury is my favourite place, nowhere fits me so well.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Annabel – if you want to go to the festival, I urge you to do so. Honestly, there is no age limit and you will find many, many older souls there, working, volunteering, just chilling out – and increasingly – performing! I volunteer there and absolutely love it. It isn’t as frenetic as it may look and there are some beautiful, peaceful fields where things are quieter. Of course, there are also zones where they get way, way wilder…….the festival, like it’s namesake town, is very welcoming to everyone, irrespective of age, race, class, religion, ability and accomodates all comers with love, tolerance and joy. Give it a go – I’m sure you’d love it. I am very old – I’d have been a teenager even at the first Glastonbury Festival back in 1971 – so it really is never too late.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. For most towns to survive they need to find a source of income. Tourism around the world is a big income for not only towns many countries economy’s are based on it. The prices were on the steep side!! An enjoyable few hours wandering around though not a place I would like to live in.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. How interesting… do you have any idea how Glastonbury became a mecca for free spirits? I think I would have spent most of my time trying to capture shots of the citizenry since I have absolutely no interest in tarot readings, crystals, or fairy paintings 🙂 .

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, tarot, crystals and definitely fairies are of no interest to me at all. I prefer not to photograph people I don’t know as I would rather remember the place than some random person who I know nothing about. Do they want to be plastered all over the social media? I would say a large percentage would not. I think the concerts could have contributed to the masses of alternative thinkers.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. What an intriguing town. I have a feeling that I would really like this place. It made me think of the late 60’s plus I love lots of hanging pots of coloured flowers like they are everywhere in Italy.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Hi Suzanne…..spent many a week at Glastonbury as the kids were there boarding at Milfield Prep School. Aimee actually lived in Abbey House just at the bottom of the high street. Weird and wonderful but fortunately none of it wore off on the kids!!!!!! Continued happy sitting….love from us and of course Louis and Nellie xx

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I have an old school friend who lives in Glastonbury. She is delightfully fay and alternative and always was. When she moved there I remarked that there really was no other place so suited to her … anywhere else she sticks out like a sore hippy thumb, at home she is like wallpaper!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I am just debating whether to book a week in Wells or Glastonbury. I have a marvellous patchwork skirt that I haven’t worn for years that would probably do nicely. Glastonbury sounds more interesting to me, but I think my OH would prefer Wells!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Without creating martial disharmony I would prefer Wells as a base to explore than Glastonbury. Accommodation around Wells could be cheaper than Glastonbury. The good ole patchwork skirt, yes I had a few of those that flowed down to my leather sandals. Which went rather nicely with a halter back top that needed no bra, those were the days 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  10. I have only made a very fleeting visit to Glastonbury – past all those shops you mention, and up to the Tor, which I loved. I would love to go back. I thought it seemed fascinating and your post just confirms this.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I love everything about Glastonbury, especially the Tor, which can be seen from miles – glad you dragged the Squire up there…

    I even wear the Celtic symbol for Glastonbury Tor around my neck, which was given to me by my partner (who’s from Glastonbury) a long time ago. He had this charm since he was 19. So, I had another handmade in silver for him when we were in Thailand – great job and identical!

    Anyway, I digress as usual, never knew Glastonbury has the name of being the “oddest town in England”. Great write-up! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ciao Nilla, thanks 🙂 It was only me that went up the hill. Well, after visit there, I can understand why it earned it’s label of being “the oddest town in England” 🙂 That is a lovely story of your charm given and brought!! I love it when I find the perfect gift for someone.

      Liked by 2 people

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