It was the abbey’s importance historically and its world-wide renown that interested us to visit. For once we found ourselves not at a National Trust property, and having to pay the entrance fee, which is slightly cheaper for the over-60s!
The abbey is situated in the centre of Glastonbury, so parking can be difficult, although there is a town centre car park right next door – if you can find a space! Beware coach loads of visitors (mainly German on the day we were there), queuing for the public toilets in the car park – there is an alternative- with no queue – just round the corner!
The pay desk on entering is a little inconvenient as it is narrow with little room to manoeuvre wheelchairs and large dogs etc. The museum/exhibition in the reception area is interesting if rather small, as it gives both a textual and pictorial history of the abbey, which is important as there is little information outside. Because of this, I would thoroughly recommend joining one of the tours, led by volunteer costumed guides. The one we took was with so-called “Brother Duncan”, who did his best to animate life in the abbey at the peak of its power, although at times he did rather over-act and play to his audience!
All that remains of the abbey now is ruins, but there is enough left to appreciate the enormity of the abbey itself, its wealth and influence. The visit is for the most part walking around the grounds outside so it needs a dry day to see it at its best, and is not wholly suitable for those with mobility problems. The cafe within the grounds is an excellent watering hole with a brilliant panorama over the ruins. There is a small shop just by the entrance which sells souvenirs and other trivia relating to the abbey, but everything seemed to me to be directed at foreign visitors and hugely over-priced. We didn’t spoil an otherwise interesting visit by wasting our money!