Free places to visit in Glastonbury and Somerset
The world famous, iconic Glastonbury Tor is steeped in history, mystery, myth, magic and legend and no trip to Glastonbury is complete without a trek up the big hill. It's well worth climbling the 150m elevation to wonder at the stunning 360 degree views, spanning three counties. The Tor is one of Somerset's most important spiritual landmarks and was even featured in the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics!
Cheddar Gorge and Caves are privately owned and therefore all activities, including the Cheddar bus are chargeable, however, National Trust land (access up a gravel path opposite the Cave entrance) joins up with the famous Cliff Top Walk, and so you can witness the amazing views for free. And of course, just driving through the Gorge is an awesome experience in itself, and that's free too! Details of the walk here.
This tiny Medieval city is a delightful place to spend a few hours. With its magnificent Wells Cathedral (free admission, although donations are very welcome), it's bustling market (Wed and Sat), Bishop's Palace (chargeable) and many cafes and eateries, there's plenty to see and do. A simple pleasure is to enjoy a coffee in the Market Square and gaze in wonder and at architecture and history of the old buildings. A must do.
Somerset Rural Life Museum - currently closed until 2016 for major redevelopment
The magnificent fourteenth-century Abbey Barn is the centrepiece of the museum. The barn and the farm buildings surrounding the courtyard contain displays and tools used in local rural activities such as mud horse fishing, peat digging and cider making. Regular exhibitions and events take place. There's also an on site cafe. Located on the corner of Bere Lane and Chilkwell Street.
'Vibrant, quirky, diverse, alternative, unique'. Glastonbury is a fascinating place, rich with legend, romance, myth and history. It's high street is full of interesting independent shops and cafes. Some say that Glastonbury has a strange 'pull' which draws people from all walks of life, from all over the world. You'd be hard pressed to find a place anywhere else in the country, with such a diverse range of cultures, beliefs and colourful personalities.
Somerset Levels & Nature Reserves
The mystical Avalon Marshes can be found within Somerset's historic Levels and Moors. and are perfect for walking, cycling and photographers. Both Westhay Moor Nature Reserve and Shapwick Heath are internationally famous as havens for birdwatchers. Somerset Wildlife Trusts Catcott Lows is a mecca for migrating birds during winter and wading birds in the spring. Close by are RSPB's Ham Wall, Greylake, West Sedgemoor and Swell Wood Nature Reserves.
Walking through Ebbor Gorge offers marvellous landscapes and superb woodland wild flowers and birdlife. The walk between the cliffs is a special experience and, if time allows, it is well worth stopping long enough at Wookey Hole to join the guided tour through its fascinating limestone caves (payable).
Details, directions and a map of a gorgeous 5.5 mile walk can be found here
Street in Somerset is the home of Clarks shoes. The museum in the high street showcases the history of the Clarks family business and has shoes dating back as far as the Roman times. Other fascinating things on display include buckles, engravings, fashion plates, machinery and hand tools. Just up the road is Clarks Shopping Village, which is also free, unless of course you indulge your passion for shopping!
A photographer, walker or nature lovers paradise, full of shimmering lakes, reed beds and bird song. Great place to cycle, picnic, or simply get amongst the adundant nature.
A major wetland, forming part of the Avalon Marshes and home of the Neolithic Sweet Path, the oldest man-made routeway in Britain. Look out for otters, insects, plants and birds. Another great place to walk, cycle or simply relax.
Protected by the National Trust, Brean Down is one of Somerset's great coastal landmarks. An exhilarating walk will take you atop dramatic cliffs and out along the county's greatest natural pier, offering spectacular views.
Dog owners and their dogs will love the freedom of the vast expanse of beach at Brean Sands. This is a 6 mile stretch of firm sand where your four legged friends (and you) can run free all year round. Check tide times and safety guidelines.
Offering superb views of the Somerset Levels, Exmoor and the Mendip Hills, Ham Hill has something for everyone. Large wild flower meadows, steeply sloping Iron-Age rampart, a deserted medieval village and historically managed native woodlands, all offer fantastic opportunities to explore this unique piece of Somerset countryside. The 400 acre, open access Country Park site has a ranger service and free guidebooks are available on site or from local tourism outlets. Other walks in South Somerset.
Other places to visit in Glastonbury and nearby ~ click here