Glastonbury abbey is a popular tourist destinations for the town.
The abbey dates back to at least the 7th centary when King Ine built a church here around the year of 712 AD. The foundations of this early building form the west end of the nave, although an earlier church on the site is presumed to have existed. It was then enlarged in the 10th century by St Dunstan who went on to become Arch Bishop of Canterbury. He was responsible for much rebuilding and for establishing Glastonbury as an important monastery.
In May 1184 there was a huge fire which distroyed most of the abbey. However, it was then rebuilt into an even grander one which includes the Lady Chapel that is still standing today.
During the dissolution of the monasteries, by January 1539, Glastonbury was the last monastery left in the country. But this was dissolved shortly after the execution of the Abbot of Glastonbury, Richard Whiting, and his monks upon Glastonbury Tor.
The abbey continues to delight visitors with some of its original buildings.
- It has the circa 1340 AD Abbot's kitchen.
- The Norman style St Mary's Chapel of 1186 AD with a shrine under it dedicated to St Joseph of Arimathea.
- A 16th century almshouse.
- and St Patricks chapel, which is still in use today for worship.
Next to St Patricks Chapel is a descendant of the Holy Thorn tree of Glastonbury which flowers twice a year at Christmas and at Easter time.
Near to the entrance is a museum with artifacts and finds from the abbey including a model of the abbey before the reformation. And it has the gift shop.
Entrance to the abbey is from Magdelene Street through the old archway. There is an entrance fee but look out for some of the events at the abbey, some of which may be free.
The Abbey grounds are also host to an annual music festival (The Extravaganza) in the Autumn.
Images relating to all of Glastonbury's churches including the abbey can be found here.