The Rifleman’s Arms – A Proper Glastonbury Pub

Exterior. The Rifleman's Arms, Glastonbury. Photo by Vicki Steward

The Rifleman’s Arms in Chilkwell Street, Glastonbury, is a proper pub. It’s the pub I measure all other pubs against, if there’s a Platonic Ideal of Pubs then the Rifle’s, as it is affectionately known, is it.  I first drank in there when I came to the town for the 8.8.88 Free Festival on the Tor, and when I moved to Glastonbury in 1993 it became my ‘local’. The pub has buckets of atmosphere with its dimly lit, low ceilinged 16th Century front bar, stone mullioned window frames, old wooden tables and roaring log fires in Winter.

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Glastonbury Town Medieval Pilgrims Map

Glastonbury Town Medieval Map

While rummaging in Daisy May’s secondhand shop I was very excited to find a dusty old vellum scroll secreted under some old mattresses, upon unrolling it I discovered it to be an ancient map of Glastonbury, which bore an uncommon resemblance to my own ‘Glastonbury Town Tourist Map’. It’s remarkable to see how little the … Read more

The Avalon Marshes – Flat and Wet like Proper Scrumpy Cider

Swans on Ham Wall Nature Reserve, Avalon Marshes, Glastonbury by Vicki Steward

One of the wonderful things about living in Glastonbury is going to visit somewhere else, especially when that somewhere else is a complete contrast to the Town, and is only a 10 minute cycle away. It does sometimes amaze me that people spend a small fortune going on a workshop to find peace and serenity … Read more

Glastonbury – The Spiritual Supermarket

It’s an oft heard complaint that you can’t buy anything useful in Glastonbury. This is of course nonsense. What could be more functional than a mirror ball Ganesha? Who needs underwear when you can simply don a very long cloak? As Kim said to me earlier “I don’t actually want a cauldron, but it’s nice to know I could just pop into the High St and buy one if I did”.

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What’s Normal for Glastonbury?

Glastonbury High St Broomsticks

I love Glastonbury, I’ve been visiting since the 8th of August 1988 (8/8/88 of course) and have lived here since July 1993. I’ve tried moving away, even emigrating, but I’ve been pulled back repeatedly – by the Glastonbury rubber band effect as it’s locally known. Glastonbury is an endlessly fascinating parade of engaging characters, mythology and history, interesting shops, and great musicians. Except on my less positive days when it’s shabby, shambolic and full of nutters trying to blag a quid.

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Tourist Disinformation – A Bit of a Rant

Surely there aren’t two Glastonbury towns in England?

The local Tourist Information office likes to pretend that Glastonbury is a small market town with an historic abbey in it. They don’t like to acknowledge that most of Glastonbury’s tourists come here for the weirdness, Glastonbury Tor, crystal and magic shops, vegetarian cafes, etc. In fact they avoid mentioning any of this wherever possible. They don’t like putting posters up for local events that are at all alternative. Or advertising local B&Bs that might cater to anyone looking for anything quirky and original.

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