Take a Quest Through King Arthur's Britain

Join Albion's greatest hero on a mythical tour

By Google Arts & Culture

Sculpture of King Arthur, TintagelOriginal Source: TINTAGEL CASTLE

The legends of King Arthur have inspired generations of writers, artists, nobles, and monarchs. There are many versions, and many people and places lay claim to the tales. Here are just some of the places that feature in the myths and legends.

Tintagel Castle, Cornwall

Follow the path to the rocky outcrop of Tintagel Castle, the legendary place of Arthur's birth. 

Despite the lack of hard evidence, the allure of this myth led Richard, Earl of Cornwall, to build Tintagel Castle here in 1233 to strengthen his personal link to King Arthur. 

Tintagel CastleOriginal Source: Tintagel Castle

Dozmary Pool, Cornwall

This placid lake on Bodmin Moor, Cornwall is said to be where King Arthur received the sword Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake, and where Excalibur was returned by Sir Bedivere after Arthur's death.

Caerleon, Newport

Many places claim to be the true site of Camelot, but Caerleon in Wales is perhaps the best fit. Today a small village, it was once a major Roman fortress with heated baths, an amphitheatre, and a port.

If any early king wanted a grand capital city, this would be the place.

Winchester Great Hall, Hampshire

The Great Hall at Winchester dates to the thirteenth century, when many of the Arthurian legends were first written.

Today it's the only remaining part of the city's castle and lets us imagine what it must have felt like to first read those tales.

Lit Lege King ArthurLIFE Photo Collection

The Winchester Round Table

Inside the Great Hall hangs the Winchester Round Table (seen in this engraving) made by Edward I, and repainted by Henry VIII, in homage to Arthur's own. The legendary table was said to have been made so that every knight would have a view of the King.

Dinas Emrys, Gwynedd

According to the Historia Britonum, this is the site where the young wizard Merlin prophesied the victory of the Welsh King Vortigen, represented by a red dragon, over the Saxons, represented by a white dragon. That same red dragon now graces the Welsh national flag.

Stonehenge, Wiltshire

England's most famous prehistoric site predates the medieval legends of Arthur by millennia, but according to the 12th-century writer Geoffrey of Monmouth, it was built by Merlin as a memorial for the slain soldiers of King Aureoles Ambrosias.

St Winefride's Well, Flintshire

The poem of Gawain and the Green Knight tells of Arthur's young nephew on a quest to prove his honour after making a bet with a magical green knight. On his long, arduous journey he passes by 'Holy Head', thought to be the healing spring of St Winefride in Wales.

Lud's Church, Staffordshire

With its pathway winding through slick, green, mossy rocks, this natural fissure in the cliffs near the town of Macclesfield, England has been suggested as the site of the forbidding 'Green Chapel' in Gawain and The Green Knight.

Camelford Bridge, Cornwall

Most versions of the legends have Arthur fight his final battle at a place called Camlann. In the midst of the action, Arthur is mortally wounded by his arch-enemy Mordred. Many have suggested that the river at Camelford, not far from Tintagel, is where this takes place.

Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote…

"Arthur was filled with great mental anguish by the fact that Mordred had escaped him so often. Without losing a moment, he followed him to that same locality, reaching the River Camlann, where Mordred was awaiting his arrival."

Glastonbury Tor, Somerset

This prominent hill above the village of Glastonbury features in various tales as the Isle of Avalon. In some versions of the legends Arthur is brought here after Camlann to be healed, and in 1190 the monks of Margam Abbey are said to have found Arthur's coffin here.

The Sleep of King Arthur in Avalon (1881-1898) by Edward Coley Burne-JonesMuseo de Arte de Ponce

The Last Sleep of Arthur in Avalon, 1881-1898

The Victorian taste for medieval romances and chivalry is expressed is this monumental painting by Edward Burne-Jones, portraying Arthur at Avalon, surrounded by his remaining knights and ladies, as he dies from his wounds.

Amesbury Abbey, Somerset

This former Benedictine abbey, today the Church of St Mary and St Melor in Glastonbury, is where, in Thomas Malory's Le Morte d’Arthur, Queen Guinevere is said to live out the rest of her days, in penance for her infidelity.

Glastonbury, Somerset

The village of Glastonbury has itself has long been associated with magic and myth, as well as some of the most significant archaeological sites in England.

Click and drag to take a look around this historic village, and keep an eye out for the return of King Arthur.

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