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Finding King Arthur – Places in the UK Associated with Arthurian Legend

It’s nearly impossible to think of a fairytale without thinking of Arthurian Legend which hails from England. The famous legend stem from the tale of the mythical sword, Excalibur. Kingship, sorcery, and the story of one orphan named, Arthur, are the most memorable elements of the timeless legend that we all love and know. But did you know that there are actually places in the UK associated with Arthurian Legend? Follow this guide to England where the footprints of King Arthur, Excalibur and Merlin can be found today.


First, Let’s Remember King Arthur in Pop Culture


Disney’s 1963 film The Sword in the Stone, was an adaptation of T.H. White’s 1938 novel of the same title. It followed Arthur and Merlin’s adventures up until Arthur becomes king. The Sword in the Stone is referenced in the hit TV series, Once Upon a Time, as a flashback, which gave away a moment in Arthur’s past. But from watching the animated film, much more context is given to this intriguing character.


Folklore – Legends Surrounding The Sword in the Stone


At the beginning of The Sword in the Stone, the narrator tells how ‘the good king had died’ and England could only be saved by a miracle. The ‘good king’ refers to King Uther Pendragon, Arthur’s father. According to legend, he was poisoned by the Saxons. It is unknown what became of Arthur’s mother, Lady Igraine, but at the beginning of The Sword in the Stone, Arthur is living with Sir Ector in his dilapidated castle.


So, Where Are the Places in the UK Associated with Arthurian Legend?


You will find that King Arthur, Merlin and Excalibur all have roots in Southern England spanning from Wales to Somerset. These are places in the UK associated with Arthurian Legend that you can visit and photograph.


The London Stone in London 


The miracle refers to Excalibur, which appeared in London after King Uther’s death. Whoever could pull it out of the stone would become the new king of England. In The Sword in the Stone, Excalibur is in a churchyard. But according to history, it’s more likely to have been on Cannon Street. There lies the London Stone. It was once a large plinth, and why the stone was erected is unclear. Throughout history, anyone seeking to challenge the monarch’s authority would strike their swords upon it. It gained a reputation as a symbol of hope for rebels, and perhaps provided some inspiration for The Sword in the Stone. Today, only the top part remains. Currently, it has been moved from its home on Cannon Street to be displayed in the Museum of London whilst some renovation is carried out.


London Stone Cannon Street, sword in the stone england, King arthur

London Stone has its light back by Andre

Winchester’s Round Table


Synonymous with King Arthur is the legend of the Knights of the Round Table. These were the bravest, finest knights in Arthur’s kingdom, and they lived in his castle and held meetings around a circular table. This meant that everyone present was equal, as opposed to a rectangular table that has a head position. The number of Knights of the Round Table is arguable, but it is usually accepted there were 12 or 13.


In the city of Winchester, mounted to the wall of the Great Hall, is a large round table rumoured to have been the one from King Arthur’s castle? Although it appears it was made in the 13th century, years after Arthur’s supposed to reign, its origins are unclear and painted on it are the names of Arthur’s knights. A revamp of it was commissioned by King Henry VIII in the 16th century, so the table is now decorated with a Tudor Rose and Henry sitting in the place where Arthur should be.


Winchester Round Table King Arthur

The Round Table by Ben Sutherland

King Arthur’s castle and surrounding city were called Camelot. It is unknown whether it ever existed in reality, and if it did its geographical location is also unknown. But the author Thomas Malory believed that Winchester was a likely site. With its ancient Iron Age heritage, Roman walls, castle ruins, and Saxon cathedral, it’s not hard to believe that it could have been King Arthur’s stronghold. Every street in Winchester seeps history and folklore.


Sightseeing – Real Places Associated With Arthurian Legends


Tintagel Castle and Merlin’s Cave in Cornwall


Another strong candidate for Camelot is Tintagel Castle in Cornwall. Perched on the rocky headland, this majestic ruin was mentioned by Geoffrey Monmouth in his 1138 book History of the Kings of Britain. It is here where King Arthur was first given form, and Monmouth states that Tintagel Castle is where he was conceived.


King Arthur Tintagel Castle Cornwall
Tintagel Castle by Ben Salter

If you venture down to the beach below Tintagel Castle, you will be able to enter Merlin’s Cave. Some legends say that this is where Merlin found the orphaned baby Arthur. It is possible to walk through the cave to the other side of the cliff, but keep an eye on the tide! The cave is only accessible during low tide, and when the tide rises it floods.


King Arthur’s Grave and the Isle of Avalon in Glastonbury


Apart from Camelot, the Isle of Avalon was another important place in Arthurian legends. This is where Excalibur was forged, and where King Arthur and his wife, Guinevere, were laid to rest. Again, it’s existence and geographical location are uncertain, but the most popular choice for Avalon is the town of Glastonbury in Somerset. In 1190, monks at Glastonbury Abbey claimed to have discovered the bones of Arthur and Guinevere and a stone cross marking their graves. Today, the site is marked by a plaque, but the bones and the cross are mysteriously absent…


King Arthur Glastonbury Abbey
Arthur’s Gravesite, Glastonbury Abbey by Neil Howard

Arthurian legends are part of England’s rich folklore and have been preserved so well that even in the modern sprawl of London a piece of them exist. Their many different versions ensure they are a constant subject of debate, and bringing King Arthur into Once Upon a Time will only add to this. A new King Arthur story to join the others, and take up the mantle of this centuries-old legend.





Amy Elize

Amy Elize is a writer and storyteller with a passion for folklore and fairy tales. She studied Creative Writing at the University of Winchester, and is currently living in Japan and working as an English teacher.

7 thoughts on “Finding King Arthur – Places in the UK Associated with Arthurian Legend

  1. That is nice history in our history. I see this movie. That is wonderful the boy roll is excellent. There every place is valuable for history. I respect all place and that is our history.

  2. I live in the UK and I have never heard of The London Stone. Although I have heard of the Stone of Destiny. Even today this stone is used to Crown our Monarchs. It two likes to claim in a joking way that it is the original stone which arthur pulled out the sword. It is claimed that anyone who sits on the stone will eventually rule Britain. It is usually kept in Scone Palace, it was returned to Scotland after being stolen by Edward Longshanks. It was also stolen by some SNP students in 1950 from Westminster Abbey but it was eventually returned. There is also a viking legend brought over to the British Isles about the leader being the one who pulled a sword out of wood the stronger the wood the stronger the leader. I have also heard of Arthurs Seat in Edinburgh. The thing is there are many places in the UK that claim to be part of the Arthurian legend. These are only a couple.

  3. These historical place is so nice. I think ancient adventure can found there. In my eyes this is so spectacular view because these place are attached with so much historical things. So why it is gonna to know eagerly what happened to there. Thanks for writing about this historical place.

  4. king arthur legend of sword
    legend of round table of all
    sword has pull the god girl know
    know what word to prove the ring

    Love light of life of love

  5. Love hearing stories your hear ring
    hear ring ear word of king heard call
    call for safe to show the real king ?
    loyal trust the king will answer the call

    obey and loyal love the light life

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