Where to find King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table

Tuesday 14 April 2020

Explore the dazzling real-life locations across Britain that lay claim to the legend of that famous king and his Knights of the Roundtable…

Legendary locations

Feel the magic of Tintagel, Cornwall

Rough steps at Tintagel Castle in Cornwall, EnglandPhoto: sgwphoto

Located half on the mainland and half on a jagged headland that projects into the Cornish sea, Tintagel Castle is a mystifying site steeped in ancient history and legend. The remains of the castle that stand today belonged to one of the wealthiest Earl's in Britain: Richard, Earl of Cornwall. Regarded as the birthplace of King Arthur, the site’s connection to the legend seems to be the main inspiration as to why the Earl built his ambitious castle here. 

A key location in the Dark Ages, the wonder of Tintagel spans throughout the eras, so whether you're a fanatic or a sceptic, there's no denying the sense of magic and mystery that tingles in the air at this impressive site.

Take a seat at Arthur’s Round Table in Cumbria

King Arthur's Roundtable in Cumbria, England

Almost as famous as King Arthur himself is the round table where his knights would gather, but is there any truth to this legendary meeting place? Head to King Arthur's Round Table in Cumbria, and you might just find out!

The great round monument dates back to the late Neolithic period between BC 2000-1000 and consists of a low circular platform surrounded by a wide ditch and eastern bank. It's thought that Arthur used this site as his jousting arena.  

Discover the romance of Arthur and Guinevere in Owestry, Shropshire

It's believed by some academics that Arthur was actually king of the Votadini Tribe who ruled over what is today the English county of Shropshire. Apparently, Arthur married a local girl from Oswestry, one of Britain's oldest border settlements, who could be considered to be the real Lady Guinevere. Whether the King of the Votadini tribe was, in fact, the famous King Arthur is up to you to decide, but if you follow the King Arthur Trail  and see the stories behind the sword in the stone, the Holy Grail and Camelot, you might just make up your mind.

Medieval meet-ups

Battles and medieval tournaments at Arundel Castle, West Sussex

Medieval displays at Arundel Castle, West Sussex, England

Founded at the end of the 11th century, the magnificent Arundel Castle has been the family home of the Dukes of Norfolk and their ancestors for nearly 1,000 years. The castle is set high on a hill in West Sussex and commands views across the South Downs and the River Arun, a perfect location for a spectacular castle.

With a history that twists through the medieval period and into modern day, it comes as no surprise that Arundel Castle has a story or two to tell. If you're a lover of history or even the dramatics, stop by at the castle where you can see knights in full armour re-enact battles between the Normans and the Crusaders, bustling medieval tournaments and jousting, as well as Living History Days where you can meet figures from the past.

Relive history at the Battle of Hastings

Bonfire at Battle of Hastings reenactment festival, England

A defining battle for the path of English history, the Battle of Hastings began the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, the story of which has been passed down through generations and historians surviving to this day. If history, epic battle re-enactments and conquests for the throne sound like your cup of tea – and we're guessing if you love King Arthur as much as we do it will be – then the anniversary of the Battle of Hastings is definitely for you.

Taking place in October each year is the Hastings Festival, where a week-long celebration commemorates the anniversary of the Battle. Expect a Hastings bonfire torch lit procession, battle re-enactments, and the National Town Criers Championship.

If you're not in town during the anniversary, there's still plenty to see in Hastings. Head over to Battle Abbey and enjoy panoramic views of the battlefield, or catch up on your knowledge at the new exhibition before exploring the huge dormitory where monks once slept.

See St George defeat the dragon

St George's Day festival at Wrest Park

Another legend of British history is England’s Saint George. Each year in April, medieval feasts, jousting tournaments, story-telling and battles between George and the Dragon (link is external) commence across the country to celebrate the country’s patron saint. Legend has it that George was a Roman solider who came across a town plagued by an evil dragon that was about to kill the king’s daughter.

A hero at heart, George slayed the dragon and freed the town from the grips of the beast. Truth or myth, it certainly makes a great story and an even better excuse to party medieval-style with knights of old. Check out English Heritage to find an event.

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