Somerset’s scenic landscapes are home to a mix of historic wonders and romantic legends, going back to Camelot and beyond. Tucked into the southwest corner of England are two of the best places to contemplate the country's mythic past: Glastonbury and Wells.
Glastonbury was a religious site as far back as the Bronze Age — about 1500 B.C. It's considered the birthplace of Christianity in England, and the legendary burial site of King Arthur. Today, Glastonbury is popular with those on their own spiritual quest, and synonymous with its summer music and arts festival — one of the largest in the world. Part of the fun of a visit here is just being in a town where every other shop has a New Age focus, and where "alternative" is the norm.
As well as spending time in the town, you’ll have the opportunity to climb Glastonbury Tor, a gentle yet commanding hill rising out of the Somerset levels. From the top are beautiful views all over the South West, revealing the vast plains below – on a good day you can even see over the Bristol channel over the Black mountains of Wales.
In contrast to Glastonbury's abbey ruins, the city of Wells is dominated by its glorious, still-intact Gothic cathedral. With a population just under 12,000, Wells is often considered the smallest "city" in England, only missing out on the official title due to a technicality. Next to the cathedral is the charming Vicars Close, the oldest in-tact residential street in Europe, with other 700 years of history.
Peaceful and picturesque, both Wells and Glastonbury are worth a day trip. With a few hours in each place, you’ll have plenty of time to let your imagination soar to long-ago days.