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What is history and what is legend? There are plenty of both at Glastonbury. Ancient tradition tells tales of the Isle of Avalon, the place of the dead. Glastonbury has always been associated with this mythical place and it was certainly once a sacred burial ground, followed later by a druidical college. Avalon is often associated with the Arthurian legends, so Glastonbury has long been linked with King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. Some legends even claim that the Holy Grail was buried here, so pagan and Christian beliefs go hand in hand.

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Accommodation:

Appletree Guest House 27, Bere Lane, Glastonbury Tel: 01458 830803
Bellevue Bed & Breakfast 2, Bere LanenTel: 01458 830385
Number 1 Park Terrace 1, Park Terrace,Street Rd Tel: 01458 835845
Tordown B & B 5, Ashwell Lane, Glastonbury Tel: 01458 556131
Wearyall Hill House 78, Roman Way, Glastonbury Tel: 01458 835510

Other legends tell of the arrival of Joseph of Arimathea after the crucifixion of Jesus. The story goes that Joseph, who had been a wealthy merchant and traveller prior to his days as a missionary, came to a spot in Glastonbury known as Weary All. He was given some land there and planted his staff to stake his claim. The staff was transformed into a thorn tree. The huge flowering tree survived the Reformation, in spite of attempts to destroy it because of the supposed magical connections. Eventually it died, but only after several trees had been budded from it.

Today, there are three thorn trees known to have survived in Glastonbury. One is in Glastonbury Abbey grounds, another in the churchyard of St John’s Church and the last in the garden of the vicarage. The tree is believed to be a Levantine thorn, which flowers in May and at Christmas.

Glastonbury is set in lovely countryside and there are plenty of walks, including some to the top of Glastonbury Tor, which offers great views of both the Mendip and the Blackdown hills and the nearby city of Wells. Other less strenuous walks are centred on the town itself, which has some interesting old buildings and structures such as the 18th century Pump House. Another walk is along the ancient Druid pathway, newly replanted with oaks to supplement the ancient trees, Gog and Magog.

 

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