Legendary defender of ancient Britain
Manuscripts in the British Library suggest that the character King Arthur is based on a real person thought to have been a great king of the Dark Ages, who was born, lived and died in Shropshire in the Heart of England.
The first stop on your King Arthur trail has to be the quiet countryside outside the Shropshire village of Wroxeter. Here an archaeological dig has revealed remains of the ancient city and castle, which some people believe is the remains of Camelot, King Arthur's castle. The site’s open all year round and there’s a museum displaying artefacts from the excavation.
One of the most well-known Arthurian legends is the ‘Sword in the Stone’. It tells of a sword embedded in a stone that can only be removed by the true King of Britain. Local myth suggests King Arthur’s sword in the stone event happened at Mitchell’s Fold stone circle in Shropshire. One of Mitchell’s Fold stones has a strange hole in it – was this where Arthur claimed the crown?
Many places claim to be Arthur’s final resting place, but the most prominent of these is Glastonbury Tor. This steep hill in the once-flooded Somerset Levels is said to be the ancient Isle of Avalon, in Celtic folklore the island of enchantment. The hill is said to contain a secret magical passage to the underworld, where King Arthur is sleeping, but will awake in England's hour of need and come to her rescue.
It takes about 10 minutes to walk to the top of the Tor where you’ll find spectacular 360-degree views of the surrounding landscape. Glastonbury itself is home to many myths and legends and a centre for New Age and Alternative practices.
Touring these famous King Arthur sites offers a fascinating historical trip around some of Britain’s most beautiful countryside. There’s also the chance to see Lady Guinevere’s home at Oswestry Hill Fort, and go on the hunt for the Holy Grail at White Castle in Wittington.