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Originally published Friday, March 28, 2014 at 10:28 AM

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Somerset, England: Perchance to dream

Glastonbury Tor has long been an attraction: as a magnet for spiritual sightseers, a vortex of energy, and now as the site (nearby) of a popular outdoor music festival.

Seattle Times NWTraveler editor

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THE RUINED 15th-century St. Michael’s tower rises dreamily in the early-morning mist creeping over Glastonbury Tor, an isolated hill popping from England’s green and pleasant land.

The conical hill in Somerset, imbued with thousands of years of both Christian and pagan history and legends, is a magnet for spiritual sightseers.

Some hold that Jesus journeyed to Glastonbury Tor; that the Holy Grail was buried here (and that King Arthur came in his quest for the grail); that St. Patrick lived as a hermit by the hill before moving on to Ireland.

Its pagan past is rich, too. Believed to be a “vortex of energy,” Glastonbury Tor remains a site for celebrations of the solstice, Celtic spring festivals and more.

Then there’s the annual Glastonbury Festival held nearby. Started in the 1970s as a hippie free-music festival, it’s morphed into one of the biggest and most popular outdoor festivals. Scheduled for June, it’s a multiday swirl of top rock musicians and a crowd of more than 100,000 making their own musical pilgrimages.

Kristin R. Jackson is The Seattle Times NWTraveler editor. Contact her at

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