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British myths and legends
Robin Hood, Nottingham We all know this one. Or do we? The outlaw hero and expert archer who robs the rich to feed the poor is about as English as tea and crumpets. But surprisingly little is known about the man himself. So don your suit of green, assemble some merry men and head to Nottingham to see if you can discover this elusive chap yourself. You might find him at the Major Oak, the ancient tree in Sherwood Forest rumoured to be his hideout.
The Loch Ness Monster, Loch Ness, Scottish Highlands Few things shout Scotland! louder than the mythical monster that skulks in Loch Ness, Britain's longest body of fresh water. Sightings of Nessie have declined over recent years and despite high-profile submarine searches and much-disputed photographs, the beast seems quite content to maintain its low profile. Don’t be disheartened if you don’t catch a glimpse of Nessie, though. The loch itself is beautiful enough and the Highlands have sufficient mystery and magic for anyone.
Wookey Hole Witch, Wookey Hole Caves near Wells Deep within the dank, underground caves of wookey hole lived the fearsome Wookey Hole Witch. Long ago, the villagers of Wookey implored the Abbot of Glastonbury to send a protector against this malevolent hag. Enter Father Bernard, Benedictine monk and crack exorcist. Bernard scooped up some water, quickly blessed it and threw it over the witch turning her to stone. You can still see the witch’s petrified form deep in these extraordinary caves.
Glastonbury, Somerset Glastonbury is knee-deep in supernatural associations. It stands at the junction of ley lines, the supposed mystical motorways of spiritual energy and is said to be the final resting place of King Arthur. Many believe a young Jesus Christ visited the site and that the town’s Chalice Well is the hiding place of the Holy Grail. A visit from Jesus is not as far fetched as it sounds - Joseph of Arimathea, a relation of Mary, owned a mine in the area.
Jack the Ripper, East London The serial killer known as Jack the Ripper was scarily real and the fact that 5 London prostitutes were brutally murdered in 1888 is beyond dispute. More mysterious is the identity of the killer with suspects ranging from artist Walter Sickert to author Lewis Carroll. Tour the fog-cloaked streets of East London to review the evidence for yourself. While Whitechapel retains something of the night, by day it has a great mix of hip boutiques, designer bars and, on Brick Lane, curry houses as far as the eye can see.
The Devil's Bridge - Dibbles Bridge, West Riding of Yorkshire At his own name Ralph coughed. "It's a chill," said the Devil kindly, "I must build you a bridge." But alas for romance - scholars tell us that Dibble is derived from the Old English, Deop-wella: "deep pool." People have given the Devil credit for the construction of many bridges, and Yorkshire contains several examples attributed to his Satanic Majesty, eg. Filey and Kilgrim Bridges and that at Hell Gill Beck. The following picturesque legend is told of Dibbles Bridge. One Ralph, having forded the swollen Dibb, was drying his clothes behind a boulder, when he was horrified to heat a demoniac voice from the other side of the stone reciting the local roll-call of the "Devil's Own."
The Legend of Sir Tarquin Manchester, Lancashire But none could vanquish the haughty knight until Sir Lancelot de Lac resolved to put an end to Sir Tarquin's power, and release the threescore knights and four whom he held in prison. Sir Lancelot shattered the basin with a blow. Never again was it needed, for in a desperate combat Sir Lancelot finally overcame Sir Tarquin. For many years Sir Tarquin held the Castle of Mamecestre against King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. On a tree outside the gates he hung the shields of his prisoners, together with a copper basin, which all who would challenge him must strike.
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