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.

What the Glastonbury Tourist Information think is interesting about Glastonbury – a square of grass that allegedly once contained the tomb of a king who probably didn’t really exist.


Sometimes if they are feeling generous they might refer to Glastonbury’s “colourful” characters. Glastonbury’s characters are not simply colourful, they are positively psychedelic.

What most actual tourists in Glastonbury think is interesting. Colourful people doing mad shit just because it’s May the 1st (Sandie and the late, great, Brian)

I have a sneaking suspicion that Glastonbury TIC is run by an octogenarian who actively dislikes:
1. Tourists
2. Hippies
3. Everything that has happened since 1954

Take a look at the Tourist Information Page for Glastonbury Glastonbury TIC
The introduction reads “We are housed in Glastonbury Tribunal in the High Street Glastonbury. Take time to visit and browse our range of quality souvenirs and books. Plan your visit with information books which you can purchase online (deliverable worldwide). We are ticket agents for many local attractions and events. Visit the Lake Village Museum on the first floor. Sit in our tranquil & secluded garden with its stone courtyard & wishing well. Garden available for wedding photography.”

The website then goes on to say pretty much sod all.

I couldn’t resist sending them this question on their contact page: “I’m confused – I thought Glastonbury was the town with all the crystal and magic shops, that has loads of interesting New Age conferences and pagan events going on, and is full of interesting characters and has a really good music scene? This doesn’t seem to be the Glastonbury I’ve come across on your Tourist Information Page. Surely there aren’t two Glastonbury towns in England?”

Needless to say I haven’t received a reply.

Things have at least moved on since American Beat Poet Allen Ginsberg visited the town and was greeted with a ˜No Hippies” sign on the door of the George and Pilgrim. In fact the vast majority of people now acknowledge that without the hippy shops Glastonbury would have another homogenised and largely empty High St. It’s not the locals who are keeping the witchy knick knack shops open, it’s the tourists, and while they are here they are eating a fair few pasties and sampling the local cider too.

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7 thoughts on “Tourist Disinformation – A Bit of a Rant”

  1. I have to agree- some of the staff are so snooty! I’ve popped in more than once to pick up bus timetables and information leaflets for my visitors and they are not exactly welcoming 😔

  2. I wish they’d get rid of that ghastly metal sign on the pavement outside the Tribunal! Such an eyesore that destroys the visual appeal of the front of the place

  3. I love that the TIC only recognise one shop BTB …. VEry blinkered.. Funny I have relations not too far back who lived & were born at the Tribunal. They also butchered meat in the fairy flower shop and had a grocers next door… Maybe I should own up the the TIC that I have old pictures from those days.

  4. May I suggest that a few ‘locals’ pop into the TIC one day, and do a pop-up spontaneous poetry reading ? To entertain the visitors ? Like we used to do in the late fifties when we were classified as ‘beats’. Poetry * Jazz in a local cellar….

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