You may find, as I do, that from time to time your reading tends toward the fantastical. And if it does, you can’t come to England and miss how the spirit of the land comes to life in fantasy literature. It does help, of course, that the earliest fantasy writers were English. Indeed, Tolkien’s love of the countryside was embodied in his portrayal of the Shire, which turns out to be a common British county name suffix.
You can get a similar sense while traveling through Wales. The mother tongue of this beautiful, rugged country has given us the sorts of names we find in the legends of King Arthur; names like Guinevere, Uther Pendragon, and Excalibur. You’ll also find some charming place names like Llandrindod Wells, for instance, or Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. But it’s the Welsh castles that are most evocative of this storied spirit, and we had the pleasure of visiting the 13th century fortress of Beaumaris on the Isle of Anglesey.
Photographing a large castle with an iPad is tricky because the lens doesn’t allow for very wide angles. Still, being up on the walls gave us some fine views, and the many details give an idea of what the castle as a whole is like.
Walkways, doorways, and details: