The Guardian festival blog: Pagan paradise: Glastonbury without the festival | Travel

‘Summer here is something to behold,” says Kevin Mitchell from behind the counter of Knight’s, his chippy on Glastonbury’s Northload Street. “Hippies, druids, goddesses in their finery, people dressed as elves: you never know who – or what – is going to walk through the door.”

Knight’s has been run by the same family on the same site since 1909, although the building itself is medieval, constructed from stone taken from Glastonbury Abbey after it was sacked by Henry VIII. If that stone could talk, it would tell of a town much changed from its roots as a place of Christian pilgrimage to its present reality as the new-age capital of England.

That transformation doubtless has much to do with the establishment in 1970 of the Glastonbury festival, seven miles to the east of Glastonbury proper. In a typical June,…


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