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Glastonbury Chalice Well, White Spring & Wearyall Hill

What to expect for visitors - make an informed visit

Chalice Well Glastonbury
Chalice Well Glastonbury

In Glastonbury there are a number of mystical and magical places to visit, each with their own history and legends.

This page we shall be looking at three popular destinations to visit in Glastonbury, aside from Glastonbury Abbey and Glastonbury Tor, which we have separate pages for.

The first, Chalice Well, is a nice relaxing place to pop into for a couple of hours - it has a tranquil and atmospheric feeling; and wandering around there you can find plenty of places to sit and be still, and even paddle in the mineral-rich healing waters.

The White Spring is less of an attraction than a place to walk past and admire. Nevertheless plenty of people visit, often bringing their own water bottles to fill with the sacred water.

Wearyall Hill is where you visit to see the famous Holy Thorn - with its connections with Joseph of Arimathea.

Chalice Well   White Spring   Wearyall Hill   Glastonbury map   Tour from London visiting Glastonbury  

Chalice Well

Children reading at Chalice Well Glastonbury
Soaking up the atmosphere at Chalice Well
Yew trees at Chalice Well Glastonbury
Old yews at Chalice Well
Arthur's Court Healing pool. Chalice Well Glastonbury
Reflecting at the Healing Pool at Arthur's Court

According to legend the Chalice Well is believed to have sprung from the ground at the location where the chalice (the Holy Grail), that Jesus drank from at the Last Supper and in which drops of His blood were caught during the Crucifixion was placed.

The sacred vessel is believed to have been placed into the well by 'Joseph of Arimathea'. (See our Glastonbury myths and legends page for the interwoven legends of Glastonbury.)

Well and Healing Pool in Arthur's Court

The famous well is located at the back of the ample garden, and there are benches located throughout for relaxing and taking in the beauty, contemplation and meditation.

The well itself is thought to have been built by the Druids, and that the water the gushes from it, reddish in colour and tasting of iron, has been claimed to have magical powers.

The colour of the water and the taste according to legend is said to symbolise the iron nails that were used at the Crucifixion. Visitors can still drink the water which is today believed to possess healing properties.

For others with a more mystical, pagan outlook the waters are acknowledged as the essence of life, the gift from Mother Earth to sustain its living forms. There are events that take place through the year at Chalice Wells for followers of this outlook.

Separate from the well itself is the Healing Pool at Arthur's Court. This pool is where you can paddle in the mineral-rich healing waters all year round, or simply sit and have some time for reflection (it is a quiet space).

Where is Chalice Well?

Chalice Well is located just east of Glastonbury and is on the marked way from the town centre to Glastonbury Tor. The White Spring is in a straight line just yards from Chalice Well at the foot of the climb to Glastonbury Tor. It is run as a trust and there is a relatively small admission charge.

Chalice Well has the feel of being run by enthusiasts with a passion for the place, rather than operating as a hard nosed tourist destination aimed at parting visitors from their money.

The White Spring

The White Spring, Glastonbury
The White Spring

Glastonbury claims to be Avalon and to be the final resting place of King Arthur. The nearby hill fort at South Cadbury has long been suggested as the location for Camelot.

According to legend after Arthur's many exploits and stories concerning his Knights, the Round Table and the Holy Grail, he was wounded by Mordred at the battle of Camlann. This was around the year 542 and he was then taken across the water to the Isle of Avalon for his wounds to be healed.

Less than 100 metres from the Chalice Well, famous for its red water, flows a second and uniquely related well, the 'White spring'. The white spring is a calcium and energy rich well that flows up at the foot of Glastonbury Tor.

So we have two springs, one, tasting sweet with calcium, leaves a white trail. The other, tasting metallic with iron leaves its mark in red. Both have healing properties in their flow to believers.

Unlike Chalice Wells this spring has not been protected. At the moment it's in the hands of enthusiasts trying to resurrect the well into a 'temple'.

The spring used to be a Victorian reservoir, and a water source for the town of Glastonbury. The buildings from this that enclose the spring are being upgraded to make it a Temple, as attractive as Chalice Well next door.

In true Temple tradition no-one is charged or paid. Keepers and custodians, artists and craftspeople, give their time and work freely. As a result there is limited but regular opening hours.

The White Spring is found at the base of Glastonbury Tor, just a few yards up West House Lane from its junction with the A361 road, adjacent to Chalice Well. The start of the climb up to Glastonbury Tor is at this junction as well.

Wearyall Hill

Thorn Bush on Wearyall Hill
Thorn Bush on Wearyall Hill

Wearyall Hill is a long narrow ridge to the south west of Glastonbury. On the hill is the Holy Thorn. The original was said to have blossomed from the staff of Joseph of Arimathea whom legend says he visited Glastonbury, (see our Glastonbury myths and legends page). He arrived, weary (hence Wearyall Hill), planted his staff in the ground and it immediately blossomed.

The tree was seen as sacred, blossoming at Christmas and Easter, marking the birth and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Wearyall Hill is just 5/10 minutes' walk from the centre of Glastonbury. Just walk down Magdalene Street south to meet the A361 road and then turn right along the A361 towards Street. Cross to the southern side of the road and when the houses finish, you will see the footpath slanting up the hill. Note this is not a properly made footpath, it is not suitable for wheelchairs, prams etc.

You can drive up to the top of the hill, but it's a very narrow road (Hill Head, see map below), with very limited parking. Best to leave your car in the housing estate along Tor View Avenue and walk up Hill Head.

Traditionally a sprig of thorn was cut, by the local Anglican vicar and the eldest child from St John's School, and sent to the monarch.

Many other examples of the thorn grow throughout Glastonbury including those in the grounds of Glastonbury Abbey, St Johns Church and Chalice Well.

Map of main sights at Glastonbury

King Arthur's Realm day tour from London

Visiting Stonehenge, Glastonbury and Avebury

First stop is Stonehenge, before progressing to Glastonbury about lunch time. A chance to march up Glastonbury Tor, visit the sacred Chalice Well and visit Glastonbury Abbey with the grave of Arthur himself. On the way back to London a stop is made at Avebury.

More details of the King Arthur's Realm tour

avebury

SMALL GROUP STONEHENGE, GLASTONBURY & AVEBURY

Glastonbury Tor, Avebury and Stonehenge tour from London

Stonehenge, Glastonbury & Avebury Small Group guided day tour from London

• Adult from £154 • Child (3-15 years) from £134

• Small group day trip - maximum 16 people per tour • Admission to Stonehenge, Glastonbury Abbey & Avebury Stone Circle • Beat the crowds at Stonehenge - go there first! • Professional guide • Photo stop at Glastonbury Tor and entry to Chalice Well Gardens


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