ENGLAND’S SACRED SITES
From Avalon to Camelot
This journey is a once-in-a-lifetime experience to the enchanted realms of Arthur, Merlin and Morgan le Fey. Experience the history, mystery and magic of the landscape of ancient southwest Britain
September 2 – 11, 2015
Operated in conjunction with Gothic Image Tours
On this tour we visit some of the key sites of the mythic Arthurian legends, Cadbury, Glastonbury and Tintagel. We also visit some of the most impressive prehistoric temples of southwest England, including Avebury, Stonehenge and Boscawen-un. At the world-famous Stonehenge we gain private access to do a Druidic dawn ceremony.
Avebury is the world’s largest stone circle complex, with the largest man-made prehistoric mound, Silbury Hill. Boscawen-un in Cornwall is special because it is a rarely intact and living stone circle, with one stone of solid quartz.
A special feature of this trip will be to meet and spend time with some of Britain’s most respected teachers, authors and ceremonialists who share with us their knowledge and insights into our pagan and christian heritage. Their insights and understanding of the history, myth and legend of this sacred landscape, will be invaluable.We shall spend time with Geoffrey Ashe, the international authority on Arthurian history and legend, and Sig Lonegren, dowser, prehistorian and labyrinth expert. See more details about the tour leaders.
We begin our pilgrimage at Glastonbury, the ancient Isle of Avalon, known in former times as England’s ‘holyest earthe’. We climb the incredible Glastonbury Tor, home of the King of the Fairies, with its stunning views and its three-dimensional labyrinth dedicated to the Great Goddess.We trace the footsteps of the Essene Joseph of Arimathea, on Wearyall Hill, drink deeply of the healing waters of Chalice Well, and absorb the spiritual energies of the ‘first ground of God’ in the green pastures of Glastonbury’s Abbey ruins. We visit an ancient Druid grove where lie the majestic ancient English oak trees, Gog and Magog, with their astonishing simulacra.
Nearby, across the ten mile King’s Causeway, is that most impressive of hillforts, Cadbury Castle, known as Camelot, King Arthur’s citadel, festooned with massive earth and stone ramparts and enchanted woods.Onwards to the legendary site of King Arthur’s birth – Tintagel, its castle ruins, sacred island and Merlin’s cave full of magic and atmosphere, where dwells his spirit amidst the craggy rocks and roaring tides.
Few natural sanctuaries in Britain are as numinous as St Nectan’s Fairy Glen where we pause in wonder at the marvellous waterfall and keive. Here we can swim in the healing waters which have created a natural bowl. We visit the Saint’s hermitage and shrine before we venture further to Rocky Valley with its awesome labyrinth rock carvings. We lunch and enjoy the quaint village of Boscastle.
Onward to the wild and moody district of West Penwith where we visit two powerful stone circles: Boscawen-un and the Merry Maidens along with two delightful holy wells at Sancreed and Madron. Here we will have time to pause and reflect on the wisdom of our Neolithic ancestors in some of the most unspoilt and evocative sacred landscapes in the British Isles.
As we travel back upcountry, back towards London, we stop on Bodmin Moor at Jamaica Inn and visit the legendary Excalibur site of Dozemary Pool. Onwards via a 12th Century hostelry for lunch to the pretty market town of Marlborough.
The following morning we arise and travel to Stonehenge (with special access) for a unique vigil to greet the sunrise within the temple of the stones. Here we will have a Druid ceremony in which we can all participate. Later we visit the enormous ancient stone circle complex of Avebury – so large that it has a village in the middle. We also visit the magnificent West Kennett Long Barrow and Silbury Hill, part of the Avebury complex. Our tour concludes with a farewell dinner at our Marlborough hotel.
Day One. Rendezvous at London Heathrow Airport, Terminal 3, Arrivals Building, ‘The Meeting Point’ – at NOON. Transfer to coach. Lunch at the Mayfly Inn, Wherwell, en route to Glastonbury. Check in to our hotel – the 14th C George and Pilgrims’ Inn in Glastonbury. Dinner and orientation.
Day Two. A mystical tour of Glastonbury – the Ancient Isle of Avalon. We begin at Wearyall Hill where tradition recalls Joseph of Arimathea arrived with his twelve companions in AD37, bringing the Chalice of the Last Supper or the Holy Grail. Thence to the Chalice Well where we visit the beautiful gardens and drink of the healing waters of the well. Here is the legendary burial place of the Holy Grail. We climb the magnificent Tor hill on which is sculpted a three dimensional labyrinth or Cretan maze. From here we view the surrounding landscape from St Michael’s Tower on the tip of the Tor. After lunch we meet the Arthurian scholar Geoffrey Ashe who guides us through the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey – the ‘Holyest Earthe of England’. Free time until dinner at our hotel. Overnight in Glastonbury.
Day Three. Today we visit the spectacular hill fort known as Cadbury/Camelot – the likely site of King Arthur’s citadel. Here we can see the enormous stone ramparts that surround the hill and walk the perimeter of the 21 hilltop acres that constitute the fort. This became an important defensive site over thousands of years. We learn of the history, myth and legends of the Arthurian period. After lunch we return to Glastonbury to visit the ancient Druid oaks of Avalon – Gog and Magog – that were reputed to be part of a processional path leading to the Tor. Free time until dinner when we can shop, have a massage, tarot or astrological reading, Reiki, Aromatherapy, Aura Soma or revisit a Glastonbury site for quiet contemplation. Overnight in Glastonbury.
Day Four. Today we travel to North Cornwall, to the legendary birthplace of King Arthur – Tintagel. En route we visit the holy well and chapel of the Celtic St Clether, set in a beautiful valley with a bubbling stream and rocky outcrops. A place of rare peace and sanctity. After lunch we explore the ruins of Tintagel Castle, set on island peninsula amid the rugged Cornish coastline. We descend to the awesome Merlin’s Cave, said to be haunted by the spirit of the great sage. We visit the fogou (iron-age underground ceremonial cave) and the King’s Inauguration Footprint, set in stone at the highest point of the island. We check in to the Camelot Castle Hotel. Dinner. Overnight in Tintagel.
Day Five. Today we visit the nearby enchanted fairy glen of St Nectan with its wonderful waterfall, keive (initiation bowl), saint’s hermitage and chapel. Here is a precious nature site of outstanding beauty. Legend recalls that King Arthur and his knights found refreshment here. We take lunch at the Cobweb Inn in the lovely little fishing village of Boscastle, where we will have time to explore its many interesting features. Later in the day we visit Rocky Valley where, in a disused mill, we will find two bronze age stone carvings of the Cretan labyrinth or maze. Overnight in Tintagel again.
Day Six. Onwards through the Cornish countryside to Penzance – the last city in England.On the way to our hotel we will view the impressive St Michael’s Mount across from Mount’s Bay, where we take in the sea air and relax by the shore. Overnight in Penzance area.
Day Seven. Today we visit the stone circles, wayside shrines and holy wells of the little district of West Penwith – the Land’s End. First, the evocative stone circle of Boscowen-un (‘house of the elder tree’), secluded amongst bracken, with a central leaning pillar stone and an enigmatic quartz stone in the south-west of the circle. Then the Merry Maidens stone circle, named as legend recalls after a group of girls caught dancing on the Sabbath by the Devil, who turned them to stone. Nearby are two monoliths known as the Pipers, who met the same fate. We visit the lovely valley of Lamorna, where we take lunch at the Lamorna Wink Inn. In the afternoon we visit the holy wells of Madron with its Celtic chapel and Sancreed, where stands a church with ancient crosses. You may wish to bring a rag or ribbon to hang as an offering to the spirit of these sacred wells. Overnight in Penzance area.
Day Eight. We journey northeast across the great Bodmin Moor, stopping for a break at Jamaica Inn, made famous by Daphne Du Maurier. We have lunch at a unique 12th C hostelry on the edge of Dartmoor. This inn has been built within what remains of a stone circle! We travel upcountry to the pretty market town of Marlborough. Overnight in Marlborough.
Day Nine. We rise early and journey to the great temple of Stonehenge. You may wish to bring along a personal item that can be blessed within the temple. We return to our hotel for breakfast. After a short break we visit the World Heritage Site and sacred landscape of Avebury. The henge, the largest stone circle in the world, has an imposing bank and ditch, and inner stone circles. We visit the largest burial mound in Europe – West Kennet long barrow – and the largest artificial structure in Europe – the enigmatic Silbury Hill. In the afternoon we have free time to rest, stroll round the town of Marlborough and prepare for our farewell dinner. Overnight in Marlborough.
Final Day. After breakfast we depart for London Heathrow Airport for international, domestic fights and transfers. We arrive by 10am in time for flight departures from 1pm onwards.
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PRICE PER PERSON (Land Only)
Double Occupancy: $3,319 by check or money order or $3,499 by credit card
Single Occupancy: $3,719 by check or money order or $3,919 by credit card
$300 ($315 by credit card) Non-Refundable deposit to hold space
NOTE: The Single Room Supplement applies for those who would like to secure a private room throughout the tour.
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