Twenty years ago I took a day tour from London called Stones & Bones which went to Stonehenge, Glastonbury, and Avebury. I loved it. It was the first thing I wanted to do again when I got back to the UK. The tour company I used before is no longer in business but luckily I found another one that went to all the same places. This time I travelled with the company International Friends and the tour is called King Arthur's Realm. It's a very long day. About 12 hours rushing around but I'd do it again.
In general, I dislike organized tours because I'm not a fan of humans. But I am public transportationally challenged so if I want to make it to some of these out of the way places I have no choice. Your tour guide, driver, traffic, and other passengers collectively really either make or break your trip.
Our tour guide droned on so long on the first leg of our trip to Stonehenge and there were two passengers that talked the whole time while he was talking. I'm not sure that they spoke English well so it was probably hard to understand what he was saying but other people were trying to listen. Then one of those talkers said she was cold so the driver turned the A/C off for everyone else. And they were late at every single stop. So irritating! They caused me much grief on this trip.
I was surprised how much I enjoyed seeing Stonehenge the first time. I was happy to go again even though I had less time to enjoy it this time.
I grew up in Arizona home of the famous New Age town of Sedona. Glastonbury is similar in a way but has so much more history and legend associated with it. I love them both.
Sedona is known for their energetic vortexes. Glastonbury is said to lie on a ley line - specifically Saint Michael's line. Ley lines are thought to be energy pathways linking ancient monuments. The Michael line is called that because most of the churches on it are dedicated to St. Michael. The Michael line supposedly flows down from the Tor and then passes through the other major Glastonbury sites - Chalice Well, Glastonbury Abbey, and Wearyall Hill. It is believed that the Michael line converges with the Mary line at the Lady Chapel, just passed the gravesite of King Arthur and Guinevere at Glastonbury Abbey.
In addition, depending on who you ask Glastonbury Tor is known as the heart chakra of the planet - though Bashar, a being that lives in a spaceship 2,500 above Sedona who communicates through Darryl Anka, says the heart chakra is actually Mount Haleakala in Maui (in my backyard!). I've been to both but can't confirm which Earth chakra they are associated with. I can only say that they are indeed energetically significant. Go see for yourself!
Glastonbury is also associated with a set of intertwined myths relating to Joseph of Arimathea, the Holy Grail, King Arthur, the Isle of Avalon, and Jesus.
If all this wasn't enough, Glastonbury is home (sort of) to a world famous music festival similar to Coachella.
So yes, it's well worth a visit and putting up with annoying tourists to get there.
One story claims that Joseph of Arimathea, legendary keeper of the Holy Grail, founded the first Christian church in Glastonbury shortly after the death of Christ. Allegedly, the Abbey Ruins stand where the church was erected and is still considered holy ground. In one version of the story, Christ himself travelled with Joseph from the Holy Land and helped in the building work. Finally, it was believed that Joseph had been buried somewhere at the abbey.
Legend has it that King Arthur and Guinevere are buried in the grounds of Glastonbury Abbey. The monks of the Abbey excavated the site and unearthed a stone slab. Underneath the slab was a lead cross inscribed in Latin, “Hic iacet sepultus inclitus rex arturius in insula avalonia”, “Here lies buried the renowned King Arthur in the Isle of Avalon”. Also found were a few small bones and a scrap of hair.
The bones were put in caskets. King Edward I entombed them in a special black marble tomb in the main Abbey Church. During the Dissolution of the Monasteries when the Abbey was sacked and largely destroyed, the caskets were lost and have never been found. Today a notice board marks the spot of Arthur’s final resting place.
Even though the place is a ruin, it's a very cool place to walk around.
I love this place.
In their quests King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table searched for the Holy Grail.
Joseph of Arimathea is said to have buried the Holy Grail just below the Tor, where a spring, now known as Chalice Well, began to flow and the water was supposed to bring eternal youth to whoever would drink it. It has been mystically associated with the blood of Christ. It's been called the Blood Spring. The reddish tinge to the water is due to the high iron content.
It's a very pretty and peaceful place to walk around or just sit. You can drink right out of the spring. I noticed there is another spring outside the grounds around the corner coming out of the wall. I filled up my water bottle.
There was a guy meditating right next to the well so I didn't take a picture. People come to the well to preform various ceremonies.
Tor name comes from the Old English word Torr meaning cone-shaped hill.
The Tor was thought to once be a center for the initiation of Druid priests and priestess.
In Celtic legend the Tor was known to be home to a Fairy King and his magical Hollow Hill. Fairy's were associated with constellations, astrology, and healing who provided knowledge and guidance.
Myths say that the Tor was a meeting place for the dead and that this was the home of the Lord of the Underworld. In these legends, the Tor is the gateway into the land of the dead.
The land surrounding the Tor was once marshland. Being surrounded by water the Tor became known as the Isle of Avalon. So some people think that this is where King Arthur is actually buried, as well as the Holy Grail.
Atop the Tor now is the 15th century ruins of St. Michael's bell tower, all that remains of the chapel that was once there. It was a common practice to build churches on pagan worship sites.
This is also the place where the last Abbot of Glastonbury, 80 year old Richard Whiting, was executed with two of his monks for treason by Henry VIII who believed him a traitor to the crown for being loyal to Rome. Yikes!
I didn't get to climb up the Tor this time as we had no time. I'll just have to go back.
Avebury is Europe's largest stone circle. I only visited a small part. It goes on and on. It's older than Stonehenge and you can get right up and even touch the stones.
When I took this tour the first time, our guide gave us dowsing rods. When you walked between the stones they would cross! It was very interesting.
There was a transportation strike going on this day. There was so much traffic. The subways were closed and only some bus routes were running. Our tour bus driver had timed out and was unable to drop us where he picked us up. I had no idea how I was going to get home as I am transportationally challenged on a good day.
The tour guide looked up which bus we would each need to take to get home, assuming it was running. There were two passengers, a husband & wife, that were going in the same direction that I was so they said I could come with them. A decision I would very soon regret!!
Before our tour bus even got to Victoria Station the husband had to be let off the bus because he was feeling ill and had to use the restroom immediately. His wife shouted after him we'll meet you at the McDonald's! We? After a very, very long day of touring it was about to get so much longer. The highs and lows of traveling can be extreme. I got a memorable story out of it though.
Here's what happened: