Travel Diaries: Somerset Tour – A Summer’s Day Journey to Wells and Glastonbury

It is a perfect summer’s day.  We set off on foot through the Wells Recreation Ground, where musicians are busy setting up and deckchairs are being set out in rows around a band stand.  We follow the calm moat of the Bishop’s Palace, and head into the centre of England’s smallest city.

On the main street, a very cheerful policeman entertains our children, telling them about Well’s olympic long jumping champion, Mary Elizabeth Rand.  He challenges them to see who can jump the furthest down the cobbled street – her exact record is marked out along the pavement.

There’s a tiny alcove in the corner of the road; a lady with a recorder is setting up to busk there.  We exchange smiles with her as we pass through what turns out to be a little corridor.   We enter another square, and, suddenly, the magnificent Cathedral is before us.

Wells Cathedral is beautiful; layer upon layer of intricate stone latticework.  It is one of the most impressive buildings I have ever been inside.

As we return to the passageway, the lady busker is playing Amazing Grace, which feels a perfect way to bid goodbye to the Cathedral.  Our youngest son enjoys dropping coins into her upturned velvet hat.

Back through the park and the brass band is now surrounded by an audience and playing Sleepy Jean, so we pause to listen, join in the applause, and then set off for Glastonbury.

We park in the centre of town, and catch the volunteer-run Community Bus to the foot of the Tor.  We are the only passengers and are treated to a guided talk on King Arthur and the history of Glastonbury as the bus climbs up the steep hedge-lined roads.  Our eldest son has lots of questions and is delighted when the impressive driver knows the answer to every one.  We are dropped off at the start of the footpath.

Last time we were here, many years ago, it was winter, icy, and the steps up were treacherous.  The whole landscape was covered in a blanket of thick fog, which felt wonderfully mystical, but afforded little visibility at the top.  Today, it is as easy as climbing stairs.  The air is still, the sun is shining and we are all at the summit within ten minutes.

We are thrilled that we can view all the way over to the Black Mountains of Wales on the horizon, where we had been hiking just a few week’s earlier.

After a day of travelling, we are driving back towards Bristol when we see a hot air balloon … and then another.  We consider the lack of any breeze, and think, well, it is the perfect day for ballooning.  Then we see several more, all taking off from the same place.  A quick internet search and we realise we have accidentally timed our drive home past Bristol for their Annual Balloon Festival.

Change of plan! We divert into Bristol and follow the balloons.  The children are all shouting for joy in the car, the streets are packed with crowds.  We wind our way to the highest point we can find, park up and scramble out of the car to watch.

The children have never been to Bristol, so we stay into the late evening, exploring the streets and end a wonderful day munching on leftover pastries from our picnic and admiring the dockside ships.  This glorious city deserves more than a few hours … we’ll be back soon.


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35 Comments Add yours

  1. gillyflower says:

    A wonderful tour — thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Exquisite photos – I would love to visit such a place!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh wow … thank you. One day really didn’t feel enough, we definitely need to set up our tent down there for a good few days and explore properly! 🙂

      Like

  3. It really does sound like a perfect day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you 🙂 There was a lot of luck involved, such as musicians starting at just the right time as we walked past … not to mention the hot air balloons! But I think I’m learning that a lot of it is about just keeping our eyes peeled for an opportunity, and not being too stuck to a plan 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sounds like a plan!

        Like

  4. flaxandloom says:

    Lovely… nice to read about your travels

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you 🙂 It was meant to be a gardening blog when it started … I’m not sure how all my travels got on here ….! 😀

      Like

  5. samanthamurdochblog says:

    Great tour – I must confess I have never actually been, but your wonderful guide has made me put it on my list. The cathedral looks fab..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Samantha! I definitely need to get back there soon, I really don’t know Somerset very well, it’s a three hour drive for us (!) And it’s very odd to see miles and miles of rolling green hills, here – everywhere is woodland, you have to climb quite high to see over/through all the trees!

      Like

    1. Thank you so much 😀

      Like

  6. Sarah says:

    Hi 🙂 It sounds like a day to remember! Thank you for letting me tag along. 🙂 I am in awe of the Cathedral, the old buildings, the boats, and the view.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We loved the boats too – we live in the furthest point away from the sea you can get in the UK. In the very middle of middle England. Everyone where we live gets very excited about the coast and tall ships 🙂 We’ve been to quite a few cathedrals this year (Lincoln, Durham, Bury St Edmunds, Leicester … I’m sure there’s more…) but Wells completely took my breath away.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Brian Skeys says:

    We visited Wells this summer on a beautiful sunny day. We were fortunate to have a guided tour of the Cathedral which I would recommend. We also visited the Bishop’s Palace Garden which were equal to their reputation. Wells is a beautiful city, one we intend to visit again. I am pleased to read your family also enjoyed it.

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  8. Amy says:

    Thank you taking us there! What an enjoyable tour. 💖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Amy, I’m so glad you enjoyed it – I’ve loved reading your blog too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Amy says:

        💖 Thank you! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Lovely photos with poetic text 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, that is really kind. I started the blog for my children to read about their adventures, so often my writing is a bit story-like!

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  10. Such a beautiful part of the UK.. And so loved your narrative and the journey… Many thanks for your visit, and pleased to meet you.. I use my main blog which is this logo to comment as I do not get replies via my Dreamwalker’s Garden logo..
    I will leave a comment below using the garden one.. Just so you know who is visiting.. lol
    Have a wonderful weekend .. ( and I was the eldest of 5.. ) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello there Sue 🙂 Thank you very much! I spend agonisingly long selecting and adjusting photos and the writing sorts itself once the photos are in order – and it’s so lovely to get feedback that the words and pictures are working together well 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They do, and it shows how well your posts are put together.. And I look forward to exploring more of them..

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  11. hello me again.. and many thanks for you follow, I hope to enjoy more of your posts and explore..
    Sue..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello again, and you are most welcome. I really enjoyed looking through your website 🙂 I’ve just recently rearranged TinyPotager so it’s a bit easier to explore the time of year now 🙂

      Like

  12. Goodness that was a wonderful day. The cathedral looks amazing. Glastonbury is on my to visit someday list. 🌼

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely want to get back there next year, a day was not enough 🙂 There’s also a lot of gardens around the area I would love to see, and hikes to do ….

      Like

  13. Great post and photos!
    Brought back memories of my travels through Glastonbury and Wells, which you may wish to read:
    https://imageearthtravel.com/2016/04/11/mythical-glastonbury-englands-somerset/ and https://imageearthtravel.com/2016/03/27/medieval-bath-and-wells-somerset-england/
    Many thanks for stopping by and following my Travel and Photography blog. 🙂

    Like

  14. Sound like a great day out and I love the notion of changing your plans to chase the balloons.

    Like

  15. We were only talking recently of how we have meant, for the last 20 years, to go to the Balloon Festival. So far we haven’t made it… 🙂

    Like

  16. It’s all quite beautiful! Thanks for letting us tag along with you.

    Like

  17. Coral Waight says:

    Astounding cathedral! I must try and organise a visit some time in the future to see it for myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank so much for your comment here – it was a few years ago that we went but now, thanks to you, we’re all sat at the kitchen table reminiscing about our trip to Somerset. If you go there, the Bishop’s Palace is also worth walking over to, just a few minutes away – such a tranquil place with the still waters around it.

      Like

  18. Coral Waight says:

    Thanks for the advice. I will.

    Liked by 1 person

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