Connect with Somerset’s pagan mythology at Glastonbury Tor and sample the county’s signature cider
A view along the River Brue towards Glastonbury Tor
Somerset is to cider what Burgundy is to wine and no trip to the county would be complete without sampling a pint or two of its signature tipple. In the first instance, the place to head to is Burrows Hill Cider Farm, near the Somerset Levels. Visit its orchards in spring to see the apple trees in blossom, or in early autumn to see them heaving with fruit. It makes the cider from September to Christmas during which time the yard is piled high with mountains of apples. The cider house shop is the place to try its extensive range which includes sparkling cider, ice cider and apple eau-de-vie. If you’re lucky enough to be staying at The Newt, it does a tour of the orchard and stocks a serious range of high-end ciders.
Somerset’s storied history and its pagan-inflected spirituality come together at Glastonbury Tor, a beautiful hill on the edge of Glastonbury town. Over time, numerous churches have stood on the top of the hill and the ruins of the 15th-century tower that has survived make it an almost impossibly atmospheric place. There may or may not be a hidden cave which leads to the fairy realm of Annwn, and it might be King Arthur’s Avalon. Visit at sunset for spectacular views in all directions: on a clear day you can see Dorset, Wiltshire and Wales.
You’ll probably need a local friend to sign you in as Vobster Quay is members-only at the time of writing but if you know a regular it’s worth badgering them to take you to this lovely lake where lush trees ring the water’s edge. It’s best known locally as a spot to swim (in a wetsuit – the water is cold), but they’re set up for diving – there are wrecks to explore and white-clawed crayfish to discover – and stand-up paddle boarding. After you’ve worked up an appetite, head five minutes down the road to Soho House’s lovely Babington House, where you don’t need to be a member to book a room for the night.
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