Should You Visit Glastonbury Post Lockdown?

It’s hard to know what to do right now. After three months (or more) of being confined to our homes most of us are desperate for a change of scene, but international holidays are risky and some areas of the country are so overwhelmed with visitors that they aren’t being that welcoming. I thought I’d write a post for those of you are thinking of coming to Glastonbury, illustrated with some more of my series of portraits of Glastonbury shopkeepers.

Very Vintage at 28 High Street

Glastonbury is welcoming visitors!

Glastonbury has been welcoming pilgrims for a millennia, most of our High Street shops and businesses depend on our visitors to survive. Many of you come back again and again and have become part of the family. You will find a warm welcome here, providing you treat others with respect and kindness.

The shops, cafes, pubs and bed and breakfasts are nearly all open. The last couple of weekends have been busy, but not so busy that you will find yourself queuing for hours to get served. We have less international visitors than we would normally expect in August, so it should be possible to find accommodation. Bear in mind that if you book direct with accommodation providers you will make a substantial saving over booking with Air Bnb or booking. com. I suspect that the ‘summer season’ will be extended this year so do consider coming after the school holidays.

Linda Ravenscroft Glastonbury
Linda Ravenscroft in the Mystic Garden, 5 Market Place

Glastonbury Attractions

You will most likely find buskers on the High Street and busy pub gardens, sadly you won’t find the colourful processions and big gatherings for which the town is famed, however, there’s still plenty to keep you entertained here. The town’s attractions are mostly open and observing social distancing, you can go up the Tor or into the Abbey, St Margaret’s Chapel and Almshouses and Chalice Well Gardens, while the Rural Life Museum is reopening on the 12th of August. If you feel like venturing out onto the beautiful Somerset Levels you’ll find the Ham Wall and Shapwick Heath nature reserves open – a flat and easy three mile cycle ride from the town. The Glastonbury Information Centre in Magdalene Street is open to give you help and advice on your visit. The White Spring remains closed presently. Best to check individual websites for updates as things are changing daily. The public toilets in town are open and there’s a couple of handwashing stations too.

Goddess and the Green Man Glastonbury
Goddess and the Green Man, 17 High Street

Shopping

The Glastonbury business people I’ve spoken to are taking their responsibility to keep our visitors and their staff safe seriously. Shops have been arranged to facilitate social distancing, there’s screens and bottles of antibacterial gel everywhere and everyone is doing extra cleaning. The Mendip district has seen comparatively few cases of the virus, so we are probably at more risk from visitors than you are from us. Because many of us haven’t been personally affected by the virus, visitors from parts of the country where vigilance has become the norm may find the town a little too relaxed, while others will appreciate the places that are trying to create a vibe that is a bit more ‘normal’. It’s a case of doing your own risk assessment and choosing which places you feel comfortable frequenting.

The rules are the same in Glastonbury as they are in the rest of England, the shops will appreciate you wearing a mask unless you are medically exempt. Some are choosing to wear masks outside as well, others aren’t. I have heard reports of people giving their unsolicited opinions regarding mask wearing (pro and anti), sometimes rather forcefully, this is unfortunate and really rather rude. Personally I find refusing to engage in such conversations the best approach.

There are plenty of walks you can enjoy in the countryside all around the town, they’re in the fresh air and they are free!

Jon's Jewellers Glastonbury
Jon’s Jewellers, 6 Market Place

Getting here and getting around

We had a lovely couple of weeks where the High Street was pedestrianized and parking in most of the Town’s car parks was free, sadly this did not last, so I am afraid we are having to do our best to not get too close on the pavements while remembering not to step out into the road. Until Sunday August 16th there are road works on Bere Lane (A361) and Magdalene Street which is making the town difficult to navigate by car. However, you can still park in St John’s, Butt Close and Silver Street Car Parks. Please don’t park in residential areas, you may save a few pounds but you cause enormous difficulties for residents. The Tor Bus is not running at the moment.

Natural Roots Hairdressers Glastonbury
Natural Roots Hair Salon, 9 Northload Street

I hope you’ve found this information helpful and perhaps reassuring. If you would like more information on visiting the town please join We Are Normal For Glastonbury for access to the Visitor’s Guide I’ve prepared. I haven’t updated it for these Covid times, as things are changing so quickly, but you will find the vast majority of the advice in it still relevant.

Laura Lou Lou's Glastonbury
Laura Lou Lou’s, 16 Benedict Street
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Lamb Chops Barbers Glastonbury
Lamb Chops Barbers, 3 Northload Street
cover book NFG

Read All About It!

If you can’t come to the town right now but want some Glastonbury magic in your life please buy a copy of my book of mostly amusing, sometimes serious, observations of life in the Town. Now available in paperback for £9.99 or as an eBook for £3.99. (Almost) guaranteed to have you laughing out loud. Makes the ideal gift too! Find out more.

Wyrdraven exterior Glastonbury
Wyrdraven at 7 Benedict Street

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12 thoughts on “Should You Visit Glastonbury Post Lockdown?”

  1. Very irresponsible to be encouraging visitors to the town at this time. It may be that you wish to support local business’ but this ought to be secondary to caring about people’s safety.

    Reply
    • This post provides information to help people make up their own minds. As you have clearly made up your own mind I can’t see why you bothered reading it, far less commenting.

      Reply
  2. The town feels dead. My brother came from Buckinghamshire to visit last weekend and we were walking around at night and were the only ones in the high street. You know what Glastonbury needs is late night chillout bars. They need to be cheap and have waiter service so you can sit outside and relax with friends + serve nice snacks as well. The Crown used to have a good crowd in once but that’s gone now. We did get a lovely meal in a Thai restaurant in Street. Thumbs up to the chap who runs it. You can tell he is dedicated to a cause of tasty food.

    Reply
    • Yes, in fairness, Glastonbury’s never really developed a broad night culture much beyond the pubs, some of which are nonetheless very good and friendly too, serving food and hosting some excellent live music, and if authentic Indian curry appeals to you, the Hawthorns is a must. But I do agree about late night bars, though I’m not sure they’d be sufficiently patronised to make a living, particularly during the winter. We also like the Thai Elephant in Street, and the Grape and Grain Brasserie (also in Street) is rather good. Could be an interesting opening for you here, Andrew; Glastonbury’s first late night chill-out bar! Go for it!

      Reply
      • When the Assembly Rooms has a good night on and the Crown was also going you did get a bit of nightlife, but I think the council and general bigwigs didn’t like it. It was too lively for them.

        It takes a kind of critical mass to make it a good scene, and if done well then people will travel from miles around. The mark of a good night is how far people are prepared to travel to get there. Recall the Michelin star rating was also based on how far you would drive to eat at a place.

        I’ve seen people in the past come all the way from London for a night out in this town. It takes people to believe in what they are doing though. You need more than locals as well. You need people from all over the place contributing to the entertainment. Local bands are like resident DJs. They become lifeless unless they draw in wider influences. You need competition, not local protectionism.

        Hopefully one day someone will buy up the Crown and make a real go of it, but due to how it was for the Assembly Rooms and things like the restrictions on the King Arthur, no one is buying. It’s wasted opportunity. They should aim for cheap drinks and food, and work it on pulling in more people to make a profit.

        Reply
  3. We came down to visit for a week in early August. It was almost impossible to find any accomodation as everywhere was booked, but we got lucky at the excellent Melrose House. TBH the town was heaving by day, as was the Tor most nights. Maybe because of Lughnasadh? I think a lot of people just decided to book an impromptu holiday after being cooped up for five months. Facemasks aside, Glastonbury seemed to be back to its old self.

    Reply
  4. I think this is a great oportunity for Glasonbury with the manic mature of the never ending cycle of events it must be very hard for the town to stop and take stock of things, traders have had time to tidy and smaten up and reasses what they sell/offer. Glasonbury is a great survivor I’m sure its busy reinventing itself and ready for when people want to start reflecting and making sense of this past year and lookind for some direction to a new way of living.

    Reply
    • Hi Helen, yes, I think this has been a great opportunity for people to stop and take stock of their priorities and what is and isn’t working for them. I know quite a few people who’ve been forced to diversify over this time and actually discovered that what they always wanted to do was actually viable! I also feel it was a great opportunity for the town as a whole, we could have found out once and for all if pedestrianization would work long term for the High Street for instance. Unfortunately the pedestrianization was pulled without warning, before any definite conclusion could be reached I’ve noticed that currently we are getting a lot of UK visitors and from what i overhear they have a favourable impression of the place.

      Reply
  5. Hi.

    Lovely Blog post. Thanks for your updates. I thought you might enjoy looking at this old map of Glastonbury. You can use a digital slider showing what was in a location back in Ye Day. It’s not as humorous as your map. Hopefully it will inspire
    us all to reflect upon time and space?

    The whole of the country is covered so anyone. Can time travel 😁

    https://www.archiuk.com/cgi-bin/build_nls_historic_map.pl?map_location=%20Glastonbury%20Tor%20GLASTONBURY%20Somerset&search_location=Glastonbury%20Tor,%20Somerset,%20ST5138,%20ST%2051%2038&os_series=1&is_sub=&pwd=freesearch@freesearch.com&latitude=51.139159&longitude=-2.701768&postcode=

    Reply

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