Free Things To Do In and Around Glastonbury, Somerset, UK
One of the things I really appreciate about Glastonbury Town is that you don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy yourself here. There is often a free event going on in the High Street and many of the best experiences can be enjoyed without splashing out. There’s plenty to do on the outskirts too, especially if you are up for a walk or a cycle.
I’ve created a map and marked the free places I talk about in this post on it. I’ve also added a cycle route that takes in many of the best places on our bit of the Somerset Levels, it’s virtually flat except for the hill up to Land’s End Farm. Do take the usual precautions but I think you will find this route pretty safe as it’s pretty much all on scenic back roads.
A Walk (or Cycle) Away From the Town
There are some excellent walking guides to download for free from the Avalon Marshes site.
Visit the Tor – obviously. Spectacular views, weak possibility of encountering Gwyn Ap Nudd the King of the Fairies in his court under this iconic hill, strong possibility of encountering someone playing a drum. Depending on the time of year you may find a ceremony in progress, someone making a music video, a handfasting (pagan wedding) the ashes being scattered of someone who loved Glastonbury, or just some people wearing anoraks and looking a bit puffed out. Check out the Avalon Orchard at the foot of the Tor
If you fancy a really long walk up the Tor follow the Labyrinth path, be warned though, I have met a group of American ladies who came back exhausted after spending 9 hours walking it (even though they cheated and came back the quick way!).
A visit to the White Spring is an opportunity to taste the (allegedly) healing waters of both the White and Red Springs, take a refreshing naked dip in the pool and wonder at the fact that a Victorian reservoir has become a New Age Temple. The ideal place in Glastonbury for a conversation with a conspiracy theoriest or flat earther. Admission is free but they really appreciate donations.
Some years ago we had a hot tub weekend there, the place was fitted out with carpets, hot filtered water, hammocks and naked hippies galore. I spent 36 hours there. It was the one and only time that it has occurred to me that I was doing exactly what my Mum probably thinks we spend every weekend doing in Glastonbury.
Gog and Magog
Take a trek to Gog and Magog – if you fancy a longer walk, that involves going up and down some rather steep hills in this otherwise flat landscape, go and visit these two ancient Oak Trees, that once formed part of an avenue. Please don’t stuff their crevices with coins and crystals or hang ribbons off their branches though, IMO trees are quite impressive enough as it is without humans leaving their New Age litter all over them. Definitely don’t put candles in or near the trees, ever.
You can download a walk that takes in Gog and Magog by clicking here.
Brides Mound and Glastonbury’s Industrial Heritage
Brides Mound is one of the less frequented sacred places in Glastonbury. It lies on the outskirts of town at the edge of the former Morland’s site, an old sheepskin factory, that was abandoned for well over twenty years and has now been commercially developed. Find out more on the Unity Through Diversity site.
If you are after some crap photos of Glastonbury Tor this is the place, as Glastobury’s sacred hill looms over Tesco and scenes of post industrial dereliction, however the Mound itself offers some lovely vistas and a nice place for a lie down.
You can download a walk that takes in the Mound here.
While you are in the area check out Beckery Village Garden next to the Red Brick and Zigzag buildings. They might even appreciate some help weeding or planting. Or if you are more agile check out the nearby skatepark!
A Cycle Ride on the Levels
Take a bike ride out on to the Somerset Levels – it’s flat and it’ll only take you 10 minutes to find peace, wildlife and history. Try and avoid cycling into the rhymes (ditches), they are quite deep and if you manage to clamber out again your clothes will stink of pond weed forever. In the Winter months make sure you are there at dusk to watch the massed flocks of starlings.
You can download this brilliant map to find your way around.
For more on the Levels, Marshes and Nature Reserves see these previous posts.
Get Some Free Cider!
If you cycle for seven miles or so from town to Lands End Farm in Mudgley you can even get free cider! Roger Wilkins doesn’t charge for his generously sized tasters, but do buy some to take home, with some of his excellent Cheddar, a few eggs or some lovely preserves. Highly recommended.
Free Things to Do In Glastonbury Town
Watching the World Go By on the Benches in the High Street!
Of course! Who needs TV when you’ve got buskers (of varying quality, but some who are superb), people in outfits that would look bizarre in any other town but are somehow normal here, even a man dressed as a giant chicken.
St Margaret’s Chapel and Almshouses
I’ve written about this wonderful tranquil place here, it’s a hidden gem.
The Library of Avalon
You don’t even have to join the Library of Avalon to sit and read one of it’s vast collection of books, which are mainly on esoteric subjects. Lots of books on Glastonbury here is you are researching the area. It’s in a beautiful old building too. Ideal activity for a rainy day.
If it’s fiction set in Glastonbury you are after I’ve compiled a handy list here.
Speaking of fiction, I’ve written my first short story, all about why Glastonbury doesn’t have a stone circle, you’ll find it here on the We Are Normal For Glastonbury Member’s Site.
The Goddess Temple
The Goddess Temple in the Courtyard of the Glastonbury Experience is open to the public everyday between 12 noon and 4.00pm as a place for prayer, meditation, celebration and worship of Goddess. Admission is free. I can’t really tell you more because I’ve never been in!
Our library in Archers Way is housed in a modern building and upstairs is a good place for some chilled reading, research or writing. The teenage books area has big comfy brightly coloured bean bags to sit in. I am not too grown-up to take advantage of these.
When I was a kid you weren’t allowed to talk in the library, now they’ve gone all multi media taking seems to be encouraged. Still doesn’t seem quite right to me, I must be middle-aged. In fact if you are ever stuck for somewhere to have a meeting, the library has free wi-fi and desks, this may be a better alternative to finding a cafe with wi-fi, then spending all day in there over one cup of coffee.
Glastonbury Library hosts some free activities, mainly for readers, writers and children. Click here to see what’s coming up.
Go to the Abbey Park – watch the incredibly tame squirrels, take the kids on the swings and roundabouts, play frisbee. Or, have a game of football, actually perhaps not, we did have a regular kickabout one summer a few years ago, I went in to tackle a friend who was so panicked at the look of determination on my face she went over on her ankle and ended up in plaster. Don’t let this put you off however, as you are extremely unlikely to come across me playing football!
Glastonbury has a surprising number of free events – the Beltane and Samhain Gatherings, free Nights at the Abbey, occasional free days at the Rural Life Museum, Glastonbury Fringe, the Frost Fayre, Somerset Art Weeks, even the Guy Fawkes Carnival doesn’t have an admission charge. However, a lot of these events do rely on you supporting local businesses or donating to the cause. For a list of yearly events (some free) see my guide:
Community minded locals often host free events, for the love of it, like:
Shamanic Drumming on the Tor with Dan Goodfellow , who hosts 8 Sacred Sound Ceremonies on the Tor per year, around the Wheel of the Year festivals, all totally free, For more info and dates see https://www.facebook.com/groups/1613912205568952/
Volunteer days at Paddington Farm. This educational centre on the outskirts of town has a volunteer day every Wednesday, you can just turn up at 9.30am. You can help in the garden, with the animals or with maintaining the land. They finish at 1pm and then have a communal lunch, see their website.
The Basis provide a great What’s On for Somerset, to find free events in Glastonbury you could use this search.
It sort of works, although anything with the word ‘free’ in it shows up, obviously the free gigs do rely on you buying drinks or food!
The Old Oaks Touring Site have produced a fantastic guide to free places to visit in Somerset, click here.
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