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King Arthur’s Britain

King Arthur is one of Britain’s greatest legendary figures, with his origins lost in the mists of time. The mythical king, who many think could have been a real person, is associated with numerous landmarks across the country. Enjoy a tailor-made tour with Janet Redler Travel & Tourism discovering the sites and locations linked to Arthurian legend.

Tintagel_c_VisitEngland_-_Visit_Cornwall_-_Adam_Gibbard.jpgTintagel Castle © VisitEngland / Visit Cornwall / Adam Gibbard

One of the most famous and spectacular landmarks associated with King Arthur is Tintagel Castle on the rocky northern coast of Cornwall in south west England. On the edge of a cliff overlooking the wild Atlantic, the romantic ruins – while not old enough to have been King Arthur’s – mark the site of an ancient settlement. Tintagel is reputedly the birthplace of Arthur, son of Uther Pendragon, king of all Britain, and Igraine, the former wife of Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall. Also at Tintagel, you can see Merlin’s Cave and King Arthur’s Hall, with its 72 stained glass windows illustrating the Arthurian tales.

Cadbury Castle, formerly known as Camalat, is often considered as the location of Camelot, the famous court and capital of Arthur’s realm. A bronze age hillfort in the English county of Somerset, the castle has been linked to Arthurian legends since at least the 16th Century. Its imposing plateau and ramparts are visible from miles around and make it easy for modern day visitors to imagine this important site as the location of Arthur’s fabled court.

Landscape_around_Glastonbury_c_VisitBritain_-_Stephen_Spraggon.jpgLandscape around Glastonbury © VisitBritain / Stephen Spraggon

The English town of Glastonbury, also in Somerset, has long been associated with Arthur and is said to be the legendary Avalon, the famous island where the sword Excalibur was forged and King Arthur went to recover after battle. Glastonbury is where monks from the abbey claimed to have found the bodies of Arthur and his wife Guinevere in the 1100s, but the remains were later lost when the abbey was destroyed in the Reformation. The town is also linked to Joseph of Aramathea, who reputedly brought the Holy Grail to Glastonbury and housed it in a chapel there, where the ruined abbey now stands.

Caerleon, near Newport in south Wales, has been linked to the legend of King Arthur since the 12th Century, when Geoffrey of Monmouth identified it as one of the most important cities in Britain. Geoffrey claimed that Caerleon was the site of Arthur’s court, and it is said that Arthur was crowned there. The Roman amphitheatre, which can be seen there to this day, is associated with the ‘Round Table’ of the legend. Caerleon is also where renowned Victorian poet Lord Tennyson wrote his Idylls of the King, a famous cycle of poems about the life of King Arthur.

Whilst too recent to be King Arthur’s, the wonderful Round Table in the Great Hall at Winchester Castle, which bears the names of the king and his knights, is well worth a visit. The historic table dates to the 13th Century reign of King Edward I, a noted Arthurian enthusiast, while the current paintwork is thought to have been commissioned by King Henry VIII in Tudor times. If nothing else, the table demonstrates the enduring popularity of the King Arthur story over more than 800 years.

Detail_of_Round_Table_c_VisitBritain_-_Daniel_Bosworth.jpgRound Table at Winchester Castle © VisitBritain / Daniel Bosworth

The Battle of Camlann is said to have been Arthur’s last battle, in which he was killed or mortally wounded, by his arch-enemy Mordred. The site of the notorious battle is thought to be at Slaughterbridge in Cornwall, not far from Tintagel, and an ancient stone by the stream is said to mark the spot where Arthur fell.

There are, of course, lots of other sites across Britain linked to the Arthurian legend, and indeed there are many versions of the legend itself, which link to different British landmarks. On a tailor-made tour, Janet Redler Travel & Tourism will make sure that you or your group enjoy many of the celebrated places associated with King Arthur, so why not contact us today to start planning your visit?

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