The seat of Arthurian legend and the reputed cradle of Christianity in England, Glastonbury (pop. 6,900) is an amalgam of myth and religion. Legend has it that Joseph of Arimathea founded HGIastonbury Abbey, on Magdelene St. in AD 63. The abbey was destroyed during the English Reformation, but the colossal pile of ruins that remains still invokes the grandeur of the original church. For Arthurian buffs, Glastonbury Tor is a must-see. Once an island, the 160m Tor is reputedly the site of the Isle of Avalon, where King Arthur sleeps until his country needs him. To reach the Tor, take the bus in summer (£1), or turn right at the top of High St. onto Lam-brook, which becomes Chilkwell St.; turn left onto Wellhouse Ln. and follow the path up the hill. On your way, visit the Chalice Well, on Chilkwell St. where it is said that Joseph of Arimathea washed the Holy Grail. Legend holds that the well once ran red with Christ’s blood. Pilgrims of a different sort flock to the annual summertime Glastonbury Festival, Britain’s largest music event. The week-long concert takes place at the end of June and has featured some of the world’s biggest bands. (Tickets(0115) 912 9129; www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk.)
No trains serve Glastonbury, but First buses ( (01934) 429 336) run from Bath via Wells (lWhr. every hr. £4). From the bus stop, turn right on High St. to reach the tourist office, the Tribunal, 9 High St. which books rooms for a £3 fee. (832 954; fax 832 949. Open Apr.-Sept. Su-Th 10am-5pm, F-Sa 10am-5:30pm; Oct.-Mar. Su-Th 10am-4pm, F-Sa 10am-4:30pm.) Glastonbury Backpackers , at the comer of Magdalene St. and High St. has a lively cafe bar and friendly staff; both compliment a great location. (833 353. Breakfast £2-5. Internet £1 per 30min. Dorms £12; doubles £30, with bath £35.) Postal Code: BA6 9HG.
THE CORNISH COAST
With lush cliffsides stretching out into the Atlantic, Cornwall’s terrain doesn’t feel quite like England. Indeed, its isolation made it a favored place for Celtic migration in the face of Saxon conquest; though the Cornish language is no longer spoken, the area remains protective of its distinctive past. England’s southwest tip has some of the broadest, sandiest beaches in northern Europe, and the surf is up year-round, whether or not the sun decides to break through.