With such a long and diverse history as the United Kingdom, there are bound to be a few skeletons in the closet. Explore the unique and ancient landscape, including castles and mystic forests, along your own folklore tour. While these stories may be a bit more on the side of legend, they are all steeped in history.
While London, Liverpool, Belfast and Oxford are all great cities for families to visit, loaded with eateries and activities for all ages, there are a few cities and towns on the outskirts, just a scenic drive from your downtown hotel.
The Fair Folk
You may have heard of the Fair Folk before since they have had a stronghold on culture in the United Kingdom throughout history, but, just to refresh your memory, legend has it fairies are not to be trusted. From stealing human infants, playing tricks and causing children to act out, Fairy Folk are believed to live on the Isle of Man, but underneath the world of the living — think of the upside down in Stranger Things.
Far out in the Irish Sea, the crossing known as the Fairy Bridge is part of a local Manx superstition where any passersby has to greet the Mooinjer Veggey, or little people, while passing through. Just a warm hello is expected for those crossing over the bridge, which you can see the locals doing quite often. Plenty of tours are available, detailing the myths, lore and history of the incredible locale.
The Dobhar Chu
While visiting Scotland, it wouldn’t be a trip without hearing some Loch Ness Monster stories. Watch out for signs of the beast known as Nessie and explore the lush, rich landscape it sometimes is known to roam. While you may be all too familiar with the Scottish monster, Ireland has one, too.
A bit more difficult to pronounce, the Dobhar Chu is the Loch Ness Monster of Ireland and has been rumored to live in the waters surrounding the British Isles and the Irish coast. Known to be slightly more aggressive than Nessie, Dobhar Chu has an appetite of the human variety
If you’re in the area, make a point to visit the Cornwall cemetery in Drummans. Look closely to spot the grave of Grace Connolly for an old grave with almost all other markings faded away —all but an illustration of the Dobhar Chu, her killer.
Merlin’s Oak, Carmarthen, Wales
One look at the landscape of Wales and it basically screams enchanted history. Once the home of Merlin, the wizard famous from the days of Arthur and the knights of the Round Table, the place definitely has some history.
The small town of Carmarthen, Wales, is said to be the childhood home of Merlin and the location where he once placed a spell on his favorite oak tree to protect it. The legend is said to protect Merlin’s tree along with the town — when one goes, so will the other. In more recent history, the town decided to remove the tree in 1978, when a flood struck, the worst in the town’s history. Visit Abergwili, Wales, and head to the Carmarthenshire County Museum to see the remaining branch from the famous tree.
The Black Shuck
An ominous, horrible storm hit Bungay, Suffolk, in 1577. During the horrible storm, locals took shelter in the town church, then struck by lightning. The strike caused the doors to blow open and legend has it a massive dog with glowing red eyes, who became known as the Black Shuck, appeared in the middle of the church. The dog terrorized the locals before eventually moving on to a neighboring town, said to experience the same thing.
Other dogs, presumably of the same litter, have been reportedly seen ever since in and around Suffolk. As recently as 1945, residents complained about the massive storms and eye-witness sightings of the big dog with red eyes.
After centuries of storytelling and passing down tales for generations, the varied landscape, deep countryside and eerie terrain may speak for itself. Plan a trip around the fairytales, folklore and old wives’ tales with the family.