Telling Tales

THE MYTHS, LEGENDS AND FOLKLORE OF ENGLAND

England’s history is interwoven with the threads of myth, legend and folklore. These stories shape our understanding of our past and our present. 

Join us as we tell tales from England’s past and uncover the history behind them, from St George to sea-monsters, medieval ghosts and buried treasure.

A map of myth, legend and folklore

How many local legends can you name where you live? You might be surprised by the stories right on your doorstep. 

Illustrated by artist Clive Hicks-Jenkins and brought to life by Gravitywell, our interactive map lets you explore the myths, legends and folktales of England in your web browser.

Start exploring

Tales from English Folklore

A series bringing England's myth, legend and folklore to life

  • The Tale of St Hild and The Snakes

    The story of the determined Abbess who banished a plague of poisonous snakes from Whitby Abbey.

  • The Tale of the Dancers of Stanton Drew

    How were the Stanton Drew Stone Circles formed? Legend says that it began with a wedding long, long ago... 

Making the map

with Clive Hicks-Jenkins

BRINGING MYTH AND LEGEND TO LIFE

We visited artist Clive Hicks-Jenkins and digital experts Gravitywell to reveal how traditional craftsmanship and modern technology were brought together to create the map of myth, legend and folklore. 

EXPLORE THE MAP

  • Dragons and their origins

    Where did the dragon myth originate, and why are dragon stories so widespread across at least two continents? Carolyne Larrington, Professor of medieval European literature, investigates.

  • Where do myths, legends and folktales come from?

    Mythical tales are well established in English culture. But where do these stories come from? Carolyne Larrington examines the origins of dragons, kelpies, hobs and even the legend of King Arthur.

  • Explore more stories on our blog

    Discover more stories around myths, legends and folklore plus a range of other topics on our blog. 

Tell us a story for your chance to win

Aged 5–14? Got a creative imagination? Do you think you could tell us a story in 500 words or fewer? 

Be inspired by one of our historic sites this summer and create your own story for a chance to win some amazing prizes for you, your family and your school.

How to enter

Stories

Explore the myths, legends and folklore of England

Stay tuned throughout the year as we uncover more tales of English myth, legend and folklore...

Help us bring England's stories to life

By joining English Heritage, not only will you enjoy free access to 400+ historic sites, discounted event tickets and our quarterly Members' Magazine. You'll also be playing a role in bringing the stories of England's history to life for future generations to enjoy. 

Join today from just £4 per month and start exploring England's historical and mythical past. 

Join today

Places of Legend

  • Whitby Abbey, North Yorkshire

    These gothic abbey ruins were the inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula, and home to the snake-banishing St Hild.

  • Tintagel Castle, Cornwall

    Ancient island castle steeped in legend and said to be the place of King Arthur's conception.

  • More places

    Explore all 400+ of the historic places in our care, many of them associated with myth, legend and folklore. 

More to explore

  • Legendary Holidays

    Stay in the places where myths and legends were made with our deluxe holiday cottages. From Lindisfarne Priory to Dover Castle, enjoy exclusive access to a historic site after it closes to the public.

  • Hand crafted treasures

    Display a beautiful piece of legend in your own home with our collection of reproduction swords and armour inspired by history. 

  • Join us for a legendary summer

    Make this summer legendary with our season of events. Witness Romans clashing, brave knights battling it out in real tournaments, and jousters displaying feats of strength and skill to rival today’s top athletes.

'step into englands story