Keep Calm, Stay Alert and Come Shopping!
The news we have been waiting for has now come in. Glastonbury, being in the Mendip region, is in Tier 2 of the Covid restrictions, which is ‘High Alert’. What does this mean for visitors to the Town and locals who are looking forward to getting out a bit? I’ve thoroughly examined the ‘rules’ as they stand (on 29th November) and bring you my interpretation of what that is likely to mean for Glastonbury. It’s not a comprehensive guide to everything that will be happening in the town in the run up to Christmas, but I’ve done my best to include everything I have heard about.
The current ‘lockdown’ ends and the Tier System comes into operation from the Wednesday 2nd December, so if you are from a Tier 2 area (60% of England) you can come to visit, shop and stay in guest accommodation in the town. Holidays are now permitted for people in Tier 1 or 2 areas. If you are from a Tier 3 area it is not permitted for you to travel to, visit or stay in the town. Please do not come if you are from a High Risk area. Above all, Stay Alert! Glastonbury needs Lerts.
As the news has only just been announced many people are still working out how they can operate under the new restrictions (or indeed if they can open at all). Of course, the restrictions may change again by the time you read this!
As I write this, the shops have not finished decorating their windows for Christmas yet, but here’s a few that have got their baubles out already, I hope to bring you my 2020 Christmas Windows photos post soon.
Shopping & Late Night Opening
‘Non essential’ retail will be permitted to open, so you can come and do your Winter Solstice / Christmas Shopping, I imagine the vast majority of the shops will re-open, with social distancing measures in place obviously. Some may have different opening hours to usual, with others still be operating on a ‘click and collect’ basis.
If you are coming for a particular shop I recommend contacting them first to check details. You may find this guide I made back in January handy:
There are Late Night Opening events planned on the following December weekends: Friday 11th and Saturday 12th, Friday 18th and Saturday 19th. There won’t be all the attractions of the annual Frost Fayre which has of course been cancelled, but I’m sure the shops will be making visitors especially welcome on those evenings.
Please wear a mask when you are shopping, unless you have a genuine exemption. Whatever your personal beliefs, these are the rules that local businesses have to enforce to stay open and really don’t want to have to argue the toss with customers. Also, people live here and they have to shop too, some of them are vulnerable, they may feel anxious if surrounded by non mask wearers, or even too scared to go out at all.
Here’s a couple of little videos I made to show you what Glastonbury Town is like this December:
Staying in Glastonbury
If you are in Tier 1 or 2 you are allowed to come to Glastonbury on holiday with your household, but you cannot holiday with other friends and families. As far as I am aware Glastonbury’s accommodation providers are not taking bookings from those in Tier 3 areas.
Click Here to download a free accommodation guide (book direct for the best prices)
The lovely B&B I’m managing One Dod Lane (related to the Heart of The Tribe Art gallery) still has dates available in December
Middlewick Holiday Cottages, Spa and Farm Shop and Cafe will be open again as normal and will start serving food again with table service.
Old Oaks Touring and Glamping site are re-opening on Wednesday the 2nd, with all Covid precautions in place. They are only accepting Tier 1 and 2 people. New Year is pretty much booked but Christmas dates are still available, over 18’s only.
Eating, Drinking and (no) Socialising
The ‘Rule of six’ applies in all tiers. But you can’t socialise with anyone you don’t live with, or are in a support bubble with, in any indoor setting. So no night’s out with friends.
Pubs and hospitality venues can only open if they serve food and can only serve alcohol with ‘substantial meals’. Last orders are at 10pm and they must close by 11pm. Table service only. Takeaway service can continue to operate after 10pm providing it’s by delivery, click and collect or drive-through. I’m sure that the Rifleman’s Arms will manage to create a convivial Christmas atmosphere regardless, with their old world charm, rough cider and open fires.
Cafes I would imagine will mostly be open again, though raw foodies will be disappointed to hear that Excalibar has closed entirely.
I hear that Hundred Monkeys Cafe will be back open with a smaller menu, from 10 – 3 weekdays 10-4 weekends.
The Old Tannery (formerly the Bocabar) at the Red Brick Building are offering full service, normal opening hours, but diners will need to stay in their bubbles (i.e. one household / support bubble per party / table).
There are a few events planned for December, and I imagine that now that venues will be allowed to open for events (at 50% capacity to enable social distancing) a few more events will be organised at the last minute. However, as the legislation currently stands, you will not be able to buy alcohol at a performance unless you are also eating a substantial meal. I’m interested to see how this is going to work, as most venues depend on alcohol sales to survive. Presumably you will need to order tickets in advance, I imagine that tickets for events that are going ahead will sell out fast, so do book ASAP if there’s something you really want to go to. Venues will have to close by 11pm, but can stay open past 11pm to conclude performances that start before 10pm.
I am waiting to hear if the Red Brick Building and Glastonbury Assembly Rooms will be able to go ahead with any live music.
I am sad to say that the King Arthur have told me they will not be reopening until 2021.
Event Guides Links
For a (hopefully) up to date guide to events see the Basis Online and Glastonbury Online. There’s a Facebook Glastonbury Town Events page and I will also be doing my best to share any confirmed events on the Normal For Glastonbury Facebook page.
Carol singing can go ahead, outside, and I believe inside, providing it’s a choir and not the congregation. I’m hoping we might see Glastonbury’s Avalonian Free State Choir out and about, but I don’t imagine they have been able to rehearse lately!
If you can’t be here and you are missing Glastonbury’s Pagan Carols you can download the very excellent ‘Carols for Solstice’ album by Tim Hawthorn and the Silver Twiglets from bandcamp.
Treatments, Classes Etc
‘Personal Care’ is allowed to open, so I guess you’ll be able to get a haircut, health or beauty treatment, I suggest checking out your favourite salon or therapist online and making a booking. I understand that yoga classes and similar can go ahead
Beth tells me that she will be offering bodywork therapies from December 3rd, find out more at Rock Rose Therapies.
Andrea tells me Natural Roots Hair Salon “will be opening on the 2nd, business as usual… visors back on. We are booking up quickly!”
For acupuncture see Matthew Fellows at his lovely clinic in Hanover Square, he’s ace!
Visiting Friends and Family in the Town
No mixing of households indoors, apart from support bubbles. Maximum of six outdoors. So I guess up to 6 of you can go for a walk together, or sit outside a pub or cafe. You can’t stay with your family or friends in their home, you can stay at a B&B or hotel, but you need to socially distance and not ‘hang out’ with the hosts or other guests.
Places of Worship & Attractions
Places of worship will be open, but you cannot interact with anyone outside household or support bubble.
The Goddess House is yet to announce whether it’s opening it’s doors and I am unsure of the St Margaret’s Chapel situation presently.
Glastonbury Abbey is open to visitors.
Chalice Well Gardens are open seven days a week, 10 am until last admission at 4 pm each day, the gardens will close at 4:30 pm. The shop is not open presently.
Obviously the Tor is open!
Art at the Heart
At the very excellent Heart of the Tribe Art Gallery the ‘Shape & Form’ Group Show is opening on December 3rd, sadly you’ve missed Jon Minshull’s show which was absolutely stunning, but you can see it online in a 360 tour on their website.
I hear that Abbey Muse Art Gallery will be open in Abbey Mews Arcade, with their new Winter exhibition, from the 3rd. Back to “normal” hours, 11-4 Mon-Sat, with an artist minding the shop for every session. Also Glastonbury Galleries in the alleyway next to the Assembly Rooms in the High Street are having a wintery/mixed exhibition in their show room.
Finding Out More
The Glastonbury Information Centre in St Dunstan’s House, Magdalene Street will be opening on Thursday 3rd December from 10am – 3pm, 7 days a week until the 23rd December, you’ll find the Pilgrim Reception Team there ready to answer your questions about the town.
There’s a Free Glastonbury Virtual Winter Solstice event happening, click the link to see the Facebook page for details.
If you are in a Tier 1 or 3 Area, vulnerable, or simply can’t or don’t want to visit right now, you can still support Glastonbury businesses and local creative people by buying online. We really hope you get to come back safely soon.
Here’s my Normal For Glastonbury handpicked recommendations for Christmas gifts:
The Information Centre have an online Winter Solstice Festive Marketplace on Facebook.
Glastonbury Online have produced a great guide to shops offering mail order services, click here to go there.
Best Gift Ever!
If you know someone who is really missing Glastonbury why not buy them a copy of my book, written before lockdown when I was still able to think of funny things rather than just producing posts like this? It’s only £9.99 and is guaranteed to amuse and entertain anyone who loves Glastonbury Town.
Even the laziest gift-giver can manage to get this present together: I’ll even sign, gift wrap, label it and send it direct to the recipient for ust £15.49 including P&P to the UK.
Last second class posting is on Friday 18th, so please make sure you order by the 17th.
Yule Gift Wrapped Normal For Glastonbury Paperback
Yule Gift Wrapped and Signed ‘Normal For Glastonbury’ Paperback
Are You Normal For Glastonbury?
For more information on visiting Glastonbury please join We Are Normal For Glastonbury, you’ll then be able to access my comprehensive Visitor’s guide, amended for the Covid 19 pandemic. Plus, you’ll get news from the town, member’s forum and blog, a snazzy certificate and a warm glow from knowing you are helping to support me to carry on writing unpaid posts like this one that help Glastonbury’s visitors and businesses keep in touch.
The photo that heads this article is from 2018, as I’m publishing this post before the shops reopen so I don’t have a this year’s Christmas photos yet.
Enjoy this post?
Then you’ll love my books – ‘Normal For Glastonbury: Life in England’s Most Magical Town’ (the new fully illustrated edition is now available) and my ‘Crap Views of the Tor’ Postcard Book. There’s more in my Online Shop too.
My readers support this blog to keep it independent and ad-free, so I can continue to write about and photograph Glastonbury Town and its wonderful creative community.
For more of ‘this sort of thing’ join the We Are Normal For Glastonbury membership site, for exclusive content, a comprehensive guide to making the most of your visit to the town, a personalised membership certificate and more. Membership is only £20 a year.
You can also subscribe to Normal For Glastonbury by email, follow the Normal for Glastonbury