The Loch Ness Monster and Other UK Myths

Written by Lauren - 15/10/2020

by Lauren Cameron, Student Advisor

The UK has so many different myths and legends, most of which we’ve all been hearing about since we were little kids. Why not take the opportunity to study in the UK, surrounded by the myths of the Loch Ness Monster, or Robin Hood? Read on to find out about some UK myths, some of which you probably know, and others that may be new!

The Loch Ness Monster

Loch Ness, showing the water, hills and blue sky with clouds
(Loch Ness, taken by me)

Of course, Nessie comes
first. Almost everyone knows the story of the monster in the lake that people
have been trying to spot for thousands of years (literally- the first recorded
spotting was in 565 A.D.), but few have actually seen it. The world took an
interest in this myth in the 1930’s, when a photograph was released, allegedly
of the monster (we now know it was a hoax, but there are recordings that
pre-date this!). Why not take a visit up to Loch Ness, Scotland, join the
Nessie Hunters, and see what you see? Maybe you’ll be the next sighting – and
if not, at least you’ll have seen some beautiful scenery.

Robin Hood

I must have watched the
Disney version 100 times, but did you know that Robin Hood and his Merry Men dates
back to the 1400s? Ballads and tales have been written about Robin Hood for
over a century and a half, and it’s a story we all grow up knowing. Robin Hood
steals from the rich to give to the poor, while still remaining loyal to his
king. Set in Nottinghamshire, you can visit the Mighty Oak from the story in
Sherwood Forest to this day! No one knows whether the legend is based off of a
real person, but it is a tale we can all learn something from, even if its

King Arthur and the Sword in the Stone

Still a relatively well
known myth, King Arthur and the Sword in the Stone is a myth of strength and
honour. The legend goes that the magician Merlin placed the sword Excalibur in
a stone, and whoever removed it would be the rightful king. Arthur removed it,
and went on to defeat the country against Saxon invaders, along with many other
heroic tales. King Arthur is a central figure in English history, and though
some of the legends surrounding him may not be true, we have centuries of
literature to thank him for.

gray steel sword on ground during daytime, conjuring images of the sword in the stone myth
(via UnSplash, by Ricardo Cruz)

Arthur’s Cave

to the last one, the resting place of King Arthur is a great Welsh Myth. The
story goes that centuries ago, it was discovered by a shepherd. He took a hazel
branch from the area, whittled it, and tried to sell it at a market, not
knowing he was selling it to Merlin. The shepherd and Merlin returned to the
area and found the cave, and found sleeping knights, one of whom was Arthur.
When they woke, Arthur announced that it was not their time, and the knights
went back to sleep. The shepherd never found the cave again, and neither did
anyone else. If you can find this one, let me know, because then you’ll be the
stuff of legends.

The Ghost of the Grey Lady

Interested in ghosts? Take a
visit to Longleat House, where legend has it you can see the wife of the 2nd
Viscount of Weymouth. Why is she haunting the halls? The story goes that she
was having an affair with the footman, and when her husband found he killed the
footman and buried him in the cellar. He told his wife that the footman had
left he estate, but his wife, Lady Louisa, did not believe this, and searched
the halls for the footman every night until she died, and allegedly still does

The Nine Maidens of Dundee

Near Dundee, Scotland, a
farmer lived with his nine daughters. One day, he sent his eldest daughter to
fetch water from the well. When she didn’t return, he sent his next daughter,
and so on until they were all gone. When he went to investigate, he found them
all murdered, and a dragon standing over them. The farmer fled, and returned
with some towns people. One man named Martin slayed the dragon, and that place
became known as “Strike-Martin”, and later, Strathmartine. You can still visit
this place today, and see the stone marking the place where Martin slayed the

Robert the Bruce

A former King of Scotland,
Robert the Bruce is a well-known Scottish figure. What many people don’t know,
is that after defeat in battle in the early 1300s, Robert the Bruce went into
hiding in a cave, where he watched a spider build a web, against the harsh
Scottish climate, for 3 months. When Robert the Bruce returned, he allegedly
coined the phrase “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”, inspired by
the spider and something we all still say today.

Selkies and Kelpies

The Falkirk Kelpies (water horses), two giant horse head statues on the green grass
(Falkirk Kelpies, taken by me)

Scotland sure does love it’s water creature myths. Many Scottish myths contain stories of Selkies and Kelpies, two different kinds of mythical creatures. Selkies are creatures that can transform from human to seal and back, and the stories are thought to originate in the Orkney and Shetland Islands. Kelpies, on the other hand, are water horses that can be found in Scottish lochs and rivers, and can take on human form. If you want to see some Kelpies, head over to Falkirk, where two giant Kelpie statues stand on the outskirts of the city.

There are so many more myths and legends to learn about in the UK. Some of these may have been familiar, while others were not, but I hope you spend some of your time in the UK researching some legends and visiting some sites! Who knows, maybe you’ll spot Nessie, or the Grey Lady.

Are you interested in studying in the UK? Contact us and we’ll get you in touch with your own personal student advisor to help!

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