Are you fascinated by wizards, witches, smugglers and legendary kings? Britain’s coastline is magical and mysterious and has much to offer visitors in search of folklore and the enigmatic.
Top of the list has to be Tintagel, Cornwall. Dramatically perched high on a cliff; this is the legendary home of King Arthur. According to the story, Merlin’s enchantments resulted in the birth of Arthur Pendragon, and the young babe was given over to Merlin’s care. Later Arthur ruled from this stunning spot. As to the truth – no one knows. There are certainly Dark Age ruins here. This is a very magical, brilliant place to explore. Climb the steep steps cut into the cliff side across a bridge to reach towering ruins complete with tunnels, garden and chapel standing on a commanding headland, below which waves crash and thunder.
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2. Lands End
Moving further west is the iconic Lands End – but according to legend, this was once the start of a fabled land known as Lyonnese which stretched out as far as the Scilly Isles 30 miles away. Some say it was where Arthur’s final battle took place; and that the entire land was swallowed by the ocean in just one night. Lands End is now the most westerly point in the UK with nothing between it and the coast of the USA except thousands of miles of Atlantic Ocean. Have your photograph taken at the First and Last Point signpost.
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3. St Michael’s Mount
Still in Cornwall, St Michael’s Mount was said to be home of a giant called Cormoran who got killed by a boy called Jack. There is an ancient stone chair where the Archangel St Michael appeared to fishermen in the fifth century. Visitors have always thronged to St Michaels Mount and it is easy to see why. Climb to the summit and see St Michael’s chair, try and find echoes of the Cormoran, meander around the village, explore a castle and find the Samurai Warrior, or the model of the Mount made from champagne corks.
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4. King Arthur’s Labyrinth
More echoes of King Arthur can be found in Wales where visitors to King Arthur’s Labyrinth at Corris sail through tunnels and an underground waterfall with a mysterious hooded boatman. Travel through time deep into the Dark Ages and discover dragons fighting under a hill, a giant who could wade across the Irish Sea as well as the lost legends of the Stone Circle. A small village on the edge of Snowdonia, it is now the home to a land of myth, magic and drama. Atmospheric and mysterious, this is a visit that can never be forgotten!
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5. Alice in Llandudno
Over in Llandudno, follow the Alice in Wonderland trail complete with the Mad Hatter to find places that the real Alice enjoyed while holidaying on the Welsh Coast with her family.
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6. Harry Potter on holiday
Echoes of a boy wizard can be found near the Northumbrian coast. As you enter the dramatic castle of Alnwick, anyone who has ever seen the Harry Potter films will instantly recognise the setting, for this was the location of some of the most iconic scenes in the series. It was here that Harry discovered he could fly a broomstick (and today’s visitors can still enjoy the fun of broomstick school. The free Battleaxe and Broomstick tour is a fantastic way to discover the secrets of the way Alnwick was used for filming.
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7. Dracula’s Whitby
Dracula’s Whitby is eerie and mysterious. Discover the tales of the dog who fled from the ocean, of stormy seas, ships running aground and strange travellers. Walk in the grounds of the Abbey and see the sights which inspired Bram Stoker.
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8. Davenports Magic Kingdom
In Norfolk, one of the largest collections of magical items in the world can be seen at Davenports Magic Kingdom. Discover what life was like for real witches and wizards, see a full scale reproduction of Harry Houdini’s Chinese Water Torture Tank, meet ventriloquists dolls, watch a magic show, discover illusions and be levitated! This is magic come to life, entertaining and great fun.
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9. Folkestone smugglers
Travel through acres of tunnels and caverns close to Folkestone and discover the dangerous, mysterious world of smugglers. Eerie sound and light effects, dramatic recreations bring the heyday of smugglers to life complete with bloody battles with the excise men in the Smugglers Adventure. Tales of ghosts often hid the smugglers activities, and children knew better than to watch out of windows at night. Surprises lie round every dark corner – and Hairy Jack may not be all that he seems to be.
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10. Shipwreck Centre
More smugglers stories can be found on the Isle of Wight. See the displays about local Smugglers in the Shipwreck Centre as the southern part of the island with its many cliffs and coves was perfect for landing smuggled goods. Bembridge windmill was a well known marker point.
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Mysterious, magical and fun – the British Coastline has much to offer visitors.
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