Guy Ritchie’s high-octane, irreverent version of the legend of King Arthur lands in UK cinemas on 19 May.
Starring Charlie Hunnam as a cocky, gangster Arthur, it was filmed in Snowdonia, the Forest of Dean and Windsor Castle, although you might not recognise them because of the amazing CGI – you can read our review here.
Did you know there are lots of places that may or may not have had a role in the legend? So wherever you live in the country, you can go for an Arthurian day out.
Visit Britain have created an illustrated map of them and the filming locations in the movie, and we’ve listed the legends behind each of the locations beneath.
Remember to pack a picnic as well as a sword…
Discover Faerie Glens on the Isle of Skye
From its mystical Faerie Glen to the towering Quiraing rock formations piercing the skyline, it’s easy to see why the Isle of Skye’s magical landscape was used in the filming of King Arthur. Perfect for the adventurous, the Scottish island has some of the most beautiful scenery in Britain – if you’re willing to climb for it!
Find the site of an ancient battle at Caledonian Forest, Highlands
Said to be the site of one of King Arthur’s Twelve Battles, the Caledonian Forest in Scotland was apparently bewitched into a moving army of trees! Estimated to have once covered thousands of square miles, the remnants that exist today are the ancient descendants of this spectacular forest. Head to Glen Affric in the Highland region of Scotland and discover carpets of heather and braeberry, and maybe even a soaring golden eagle.
Wind up at a waterfall in Loch Lomond
Some historians believe Arthur fought a mighty battle against the Picts at the scenic Loch Lomond in Scotland. Today Loch Lomond and The Trossachs are preserved as a National Park, making it an ideal spot for adventurers. Take a bike ride through its scenic routes, wind up at a waterfall or even go wild camping.
Unearth where King Arthur defeated his enemy in Glasgow
Apparently, in what is now the suburbs of Glasgow, a famous Arthurian battle took place where King Arthur’s enemy Caw was defeated. These days the city is a great place to soak up some culture, being home to The Museum of Modern Art, the National Theatre of Scotland, the Scottish Ballet and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.
Stand on the site of Camelot at Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh
This iconic natural landmark can be found overlooking the Scottish capital city of Edinburgh. Though no one can quite decide why the ancient volcano is named Arthur’s Seat, it is believed by some to be the site of King Arthur’s Camelot. Providing an unparalleled view of Edinburgh city, a climb up Arthur’s Seat takes around two hours from the Palace of Holyroodhouse to reach the top.
Search for the Lady of the Lake at Loch Arthur
Jewelled with expansive lakes, there are lots of places in Britain that lay claim to being the location of the Lady of the Lake, including Loch Arthur in the County of Dumfries. Set amongst trees and surrounded by hills, Loch Arthur offers stunning vistas of the Scottish countryside, and with locals believing that Excalibur rests at the bottom of the lake, you might even spot it glinting in the sunlight!
Stand on the site of battle victory at Hadrian’s Wall, Cumbria
Once running the full width of the Roman province of Britannia, Hadrian’s Wall has a story or two to tell about the history of Britain. Castlesteads, also known as Camboglanna, was the 12th Roman fort along the wall and is also considered to be the site of Arthur’s greatest battle victory. Get a taste of history and marvel at the once great defensive fortification, now nearly 2,000 years old.
Discover 900 years of history at Carlisle Castle, Cumbria
Surviving more than 900 years of British history, Carlisle Castle has been the site of many battles, held a very important royal prisoner, and is believed by some to have been built on the site of King Arthur’s Camelot. Take a trip to the castle where you can explore the great keep, medieval castle rooms, and the castle’s turbulent past, whilst deciding for yourself if Arthur once lay claim to the historic site.
Find King Arthur’s jousting arena at Arthur’s Round Table, Cumbria
King Arthur’s Round Table can be found in Cumbria and dates to roughly 2,000BC. It is a Neolithic earthwork henge, but is also believed to have been King Arthur’s jousting arena. Take a trip and discover where knights may have once battled, before heading to the nearby historic sights of Brougham Castle and Clifton Hall.
Have an adventure in Snowdonia National Park
Towering mountains and stunning vistas await adventurers who visit Snowdonia in Wales. The national park was used as a filming location in King Arthur and is the perfect spot for some epic mountaineering.
Search for Excalibur at Bardsey Island
Legend has it that Bardsey Island, which lies 1.9 miles (3km) off the Llŷn Peninsula in Wales, is the resting place of 20,000 saints and is also the place where King Arthur’s sword, Excalibur, was forged. Take a boat trip to the island and follow the ancient pilgrim route, or enjoy a tranquil stay on the quiet island in an ancient cottage.
Uncover myths at King Arthur’s Labyrinth, Powys
Once an old slate mine, King Arthur’s Labyrinth has been transformed into a subterranean collection of passages. Climb on board your vessel with a mysterious hooded boatman before navigating the vast caverns of the mine as you listen to tales of Arthurian legend and Welch folk tales.
Feel the magic at Merlin’s Town, Carmarthen
An old oak tree stood in Merlin’s home town of Carmarthen, Carmarthenshire, in Wales, which local legend had linked with the wizard of Arthurian legend: ‘When Merlin’s Oak shall tumble down, then shall fall Carmarthen Town.’ In 1978 the last fragments were taken to the local museum and sure enough, shortly after, Carmarthen suffered its worst floods in living memory. Spooky!
Live like a knight at Warwick Castle, Warwickshire
Located in Warwick in England, Warwick Castle has a fascinating history that spans over 1,100 years. After learning of the castle’s history and having your fill at the themed Battle Banquet, you can stay in a choice of accommodation: the Knight’s Village Lodges, medieval-style glamping tents, or the castle’s Tower Suites.
Unearth King Arthur’s Cave in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire
The Forest of Dean is one of the oldest surviving ancient woodlands of England making it a perfect spot for the filming of King Arthur. Take to the mighty river that divides the forest, and canoe the fast waters at Symonds Yat, or explore the myths and legends surrounding the ancient forest, including King Arthur’s Cave.
Visit the resting place of kings at Glastonbury Abbey, Somerset
Reimagined on our map to its former splendour, Glastonbury Abbey in Glastonbury today stands as a ruin in the county of Somerset. Once a grand monastery dating back to the 7th century, the historical abbey is said to be the final resting place of King Arthur and his Lady Guinevere. Explore the magnificent ruins and imagine for yourself what this ancient site once looked like.
Spot royalty at Windsor Great Park, Berkshire
Sweeping parkland, award-winning gardens, ancient woodland, and twisting forest trails await at Windsor Great Park. With vistas stretching along the tree-lined walkway to Windsor Castle, and with more than 1,000 years of Royal history, it’s no wonder King Arthur was partly filmed here.
Be immersed in ancient history at Tintagel Castle, Cornwall
Reimagined on our map to the glory of its heyday, Tintagel Castle in Cornwall is perhaps one of the most prolific Arthurian sites in Britain as it is said to be the birthplace of King Arthur. Head to the rugged coast and explore the peninsula of Tintagel where the ruins of the epic defensive castle still stand; if you explore carefully you might even discover Merlin’s Cave and can imagine for yourself what this great site once looked like.
For more information, go to: visitbritain.com
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