The Chalice Well is a mystical destination on the outskirts of Glastonbury in South West England.
Famed for its connection to the spiritual world, visitors to the well come in search of its unique energy, peaceful gardens, and healing waters. Little wonder why it has long been regarded as “a place to soothe the soul and revive the spirits”.
Of course, there is more to the Chalice Well than simply the well and chalybeate spring (which tops Chalice Hill).
Upon entry, visitors are greeted with a series of unique garden “rooms” linked together through a network of water features flowing with the iron-rich waters that the space is known for, “each with different qualities and planting, all designed to connect us to nature and the source of life”.
In this Chalice Well guide, we’ll be covering all of the following:
- Practical Info for Visiting the Chalice Well
- A Brief History of the Chalice Well
- How to Get to the Chalice Well
- Things to do at the Chalice Well
- Additional Tips for Visiting the Chalice Well
Practical Info for Visiting the Chalice Well & Gardens
The opening hours of the Chalice Well (as of January 2023) are as follows:
- Daily from 10am to 4.30pm – last entry at 4.00pm
- Christmas Day and Boxing day open 11am-3pm
No pre-booking is required.
The admission fees (as of January 2023) are as follows:
- Adults – £5.00
- Seniors (60 plus) – £4.10
- Children (5 to 17 years) – £2.50
- Concessions – £3.80
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A Brief History of the Chalice Well
It is said that for centuries, waters have flowed at the grounds of the Chalice Well, producing 25,000 gallons of water per day (i.e. 13,650 litres) at a constant temperature of 52 degrees Fahrenheit (11 degrees C).
Archaeological research conducted in the 1960s found that stones used in the well-shaft dated back to the 12th century, with further digging uncovering evidence of human life here since Antiquity.
And while the 1959 establishment of the Chalice Well Trust by Wellesley Tudor Pole is the defining event of what has made the Chalice Well what it is today, it is important to know that the site has changed hands several times over the years, like in 1912, when Alice Buckton purchased the Chalice Well and turned it into a hostel for pilgrims.
… But more interesting than the Chalice Well’s recorded history may well be the many myths and legends that swirl around the site’s origins.
In fact, popular legends link the Chalice Well to the Holy Grail, with some claiming this is the site where it was buried. Others say that the red-tinted waters of the Chalice Well came from when Joseph of Arimathea buried a cup there that used at the Last Supper.
While (of course) such claims are impossible to prove for certain, what can be proven is the Chalice Well’s endless popularity among visitors keen to enjoy the site’s serenity… and if you, too, are interested in seeing the Chalice Well for yourself, keep scrolling.
How to Get to the Chalice Well
The official address of the Chalice Well is as follows:
- Chalice Well Trust, 85-89 Chilkwell St, Glastonbury BA6 8DD
There is very limited parking on-site, so we parked at the St Dunstan’s Car Park, and proceeded to the Chalice Well on foot (about 15 minutes).
A closer car park can be found at Draper’s Factory Shop on Chilkwell Street.
Things to Do at the Chalice Well
Wondering what there is to do when you visit Glastonbury’s Chalice Well? Here are some ideas:
Drink some of the Chalice Well’s famous healing water
One of the key features of the Chalice Well is its water, which has long been said to possess healing properties.
Luckily, there is one designated spot where visitors can drink the well’s famous water – the Lion’s Head drinking fountain, where the water flows directly from the spring (and undergoes safety/quality testing to ensure its fitness for consumption).
NOTE: The water is very rich in iron and isn’t necessarily the most pleasant to drink, with a very noticeable metallic taste. Even the official Chalice Well guide warns against drinking this water in large quantities, advising instead to take a few sips or even go by the recommendation of Wellesley Tudor Pole: ‘seven drops in a tumbler of ordinary drinking water, fruit juice or milk’.
Wade through King Arthur’s Healing Pool (and Court)
This pool is said to have been around since the mid 18th century, and is stained with the rich iron from the water.
Combined with the small waterfall that flows into the pool, this is one of the most picturesque parts of the Chalice Well gardens.
Visit the Wellhead and Sanctuary
Another one of the most beautiful and peaceful parts of the Chalice Well site can be found at the Wellhead and Sanctuary.
Here, you’ll be able to admire a Vesica Piscis made of wrought iron (with a lance that passes through). This ancient symbol is meant to signify a union of heaven/earth, hence why it is a recurring motif of the Chalice Well.
Enjoy a moment of peace at Angel Seat
Known as a place of solace and tranquility, the Angel Seat is another part of the Chalice Well site that invites visitors to linger a little longer and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of the gardens.
Enjoy a picnic in the Meadow
In warmer months, the Chalice Well is a great place to enjoy a peaceful and quiet picnic. Visitors are invited to bring picnics, so long as they do not contain any of the disallowed items on the Chalice Well rules list (e.g. alcohol).
Observe the Silent Minute
At the Chalice Well, a Silent Minute is observed daily at 12pm and 3pm. inspired by the original Silent Minute at 9pm established during WWII by Wellesley Tudor Pole, the government and the BBC, these days visitors are alerted to the Silent Minute with a ring of the old school bell.
Browse the shop
Open daily, the Chalice Well shop is home to a number of souvenirs and potential gifts, with everything from books, journals and candles to crystals, oracle cards, and meditation shawls.
Curious about what they sell? Lucky for you, they have an online shop you can browse.
Book in for a retreat
Those looking to enjoy special privileges such as 24/7 access to the gardens should look into booking a stay at the Little St Michael’s Retreat House.
This historic 17th century house directly adjacent to the Chalice Well offers self-catering accommodation in a Grade II listed building with six bedrooms, as well as a meditation space and meeting room.
NOTE: The retreat house is smoke-, fish- and meat-free, as well as mobile-, laptop-, TV- and radio-free. Learn more about bookings here.
Additional Tips for Visiting the Chalice Well
Last but not least, here are some bonus tips for planning your visit to the Chalice Well.
Know the rules
According to the brochure provided by Chalice Well staff upon entry, there are certain ground rules that should be observed in order to help maintain the site as a sacred place. They are as follows:
- Do not smoke or drink alcohol
- Switch mobile phones to flight mode
- Enjoy your picnic in the meadow
- Respect the designated areas for quiet reflection
- Supervise your children at all times
- Respect others by remaining fully clothed
- Group events or ceremonies during public hours are not permitted without prior agreement (contact the office by phone or email for more details)
- For safety: Candles must ONLY be placed on the shelf provided next to the Mother & Child statue in The Sanctuary
Plan to spend a good amount of time here
Undoubtedly, the Chalice Well is no ordinary attraction.
Rather than quickly stopping by and taking a few photos, it really is meant to be a site that is enjoyed with no rush.
During our visit, we saw many visitors simply sitting at the benches with their eyes closed, taking in the serenity of the gardens.
If you’re looking for something fast-paced and exciting to do in Glastonbury, this is definitely not the place… but if you are looking for a spiritual place to slowly explore on your own time, then it’s definitely worth considering.
We Hope You Enjoyed This Guide to the Chalice Well!
Let us know in the comments if you have any more questions, or insider tips to add. We’re always looking to improve our articles for readers!