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12 Best Books about British Folklore, Legends, & Myths

When we hear tales of myths and folklore, we often think of Norse and Greek mythology. But British folklore, legends, and myth are nothing short of enchanting.

british folklore books

In our list of British books, you’ll discover folktales, meet mystical creatures, learn British songs, and more. Take a journey through wooded forests, mystical places, and beautiful countrysides. 

We’ve got something for all kinds of readers on this incredible list of British books about legends and myths.

Best British Folklore Books

Whether you’re looking for an easy or academic read, British poetry, or magical legends and myths, you’ll find it here.

Storyland: A New Mythology of Britain by Amy Jeffs

storyland amy jeffs

Storyland is a unique compilation of the mythologies of Britain, written by the academic Amy Jeffs. Her fantastic retellings add a new light to the myths and legends native to the countries of Britain: England, Wales, and Scotland.

This mythology doesn’t skimp on British or Scottish folklore. At 384 pages, you can thoroughly enjoy the unique and magical British heritage that this book has to offer.

This unique compendium doesn’t stop there; it hosts the author’s fantastic lino art that aligns itself with each piece of text. This book is truly one to savour and return to.

A Treasury of British Folklore: Maypoles, Mandrakes and Mistletoe by Dee Dee Chainey

a Treasury of British Folklore

A Treasury of British Folklore: Maypoles, Mandrakes and Mistletoe is perfect for the reader who wants to their toes into the swampy, murky lowland waters of English legend and myth. This 204-page treasure trove of tales is just enough to give the reader a complete overview of British folklore.

Treasury really is the word. Here, Dee Dee Chainey pays homage to the customs that have bled through the ages and stories rooted in Britain’s past. Discover the tales of British folkloric creatures, as well as English legends and myths in this romp through the ages. 

Between Worlds: Folktales of Britain & Ireland by Kevin Crossley-Holland

between Worlds Folktales of Britain & Ireland

While Kevin Crossley-Holland wrote this book with a middle-grade audience of readers in mind, it remains perfect for readers of all ages. You and your family can discover the folktales of Britain and Ireland together in this enchanting collection.

The book contains 48 beautifully written stories that transport you “between worlds,” where impossible magic and ordinary human lives collide. With mystical sections such as “Magic and Wonder,” “Fairies and Little People,” and “Ghosts,” there is a story to delight every reader of every age here.

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Grimoire by Robin Robertson 

Grimoire by Robin Robertson

Grimoire is the culmination of Robert Robertsons most significant work. It’s a volume of narrative poetry full to bursting with Scottish folklore, and it is ideal for anyone looking to explore this subject through sensational, moving language. It’s full of new perspectives, as he lends Scottish folktales a new light with his long-form poetry. 

Robertson includes the language of the land in his work. Weaving English and, at times, local Scottish dialects together make this a beautifully woven collection of dazzling tales. This is something truly unique and special.

Read more: 19 Must-Read Scottish Books

Treasury of Folklore – Seas and Rivers: Sirens, Selkies and Ghost Ships by Dee Dee Chainey and Willow Winsham

Treasury of Folklore Seas and Rivers

Who doesn’t love a good mermaid tale? Well, be careful what you wish for. Dee Dee Chainey and Willow Winsham wrote this book for every adult and child looking for water-related myths and legends. Take a journey through seas, rivers, and lakes all around the world.

As you read this fascinating book, you’ll discover selkies in Scotland or the legend of Maui in the Pacific Ocean. This treasury will introduce you to well-known stories and even the more obscure myths and legends. You’ll come across English sailor superstitions and shape-shifting pink dolphins.

Many readers find their favourite part of this folklore collection to be the incredible illustrations that catch your eye every single time, giving you pause to stop, stare, drink it in, and admire.

Weird Woods: Tales from the Haunted Forests of Britain by John Miller

weird woods tales from the haunted forests of britain

The woods are a dangerous place to get lost in. But when you lose yourself within the pages of Weird Woods: Tales from the Haunted Forest of Britain, you will feel as though you’ve come home.

This book will keep you up at night with twelve chilling tales from twelve different authors. The tales here will help you navigate the vast forests and wooded lands of England where you’ll come across supernatural creatures of British folklore. Get ready to take a dangerous but exciting tour through and beyond the trees!

Botanical Folk Tales of Britain and Ireland by Lisa Schneidau

Botanical Folk Tales of Britain and Ireland

Thoughtfully written by ecologist and author Lisa Schneidau, it’s here that you can discover where British folklore, mythical creatures, and Britain’s natural flora connect. Following the arc of the seasons, the Botanical Folk Tales of Britain and Ireland is here to take you on a journey through the greenery and foliage of Britain. 

With thirty-nine tales included, there is something for everyone’s curiosity. And, when you’re finished reading, you’ll have a new appreciation for the power of plants and the near magical benefits they provide us.

The Anthology of Scottish Folk Tales

The Anthology of Scottish Folk Tales

Visit the ancient land of Scotland with The Anthology of Scottish Folk Tales. This magical collection draws together the most memorable Scottish folklore passed down through the ages. 

With its handy map, it shows you where each tale takes place, drawing the reader even further into its charm and beauty. At 176 pages, it’s an excellent introduction to classic stories of Scottish folklore, such as “The Seal Killer” and “Buff Barefoot.”

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by Simon Armitage

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

For the more advanced reader, the long-form poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight can transport you to the days of ye olde England.

This Arthurian epic was rediscovered two hundred years ago after being published for the first time in 1839. It was originally written long ago by an unknown author and is one of the most well-known Arthurian legends to date. 

Following the tale of Sir Gawain, nephew to King Arthur himself, you can discover the myths and legends surrounding this larger-than-life character. This tale of honour and duty is interestingly eerie and will certainly keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

The Anthology of English Folk Tales

The Anthology of English Folk Tales

Take an excursion across the largest country of the British Isles with the help of The Anthology of English Folk Tales. Travel over hills and across rivers to visit the unique haunts of the locals found in these English folk stories.

This small anthology was inspired by The History Press’ popular Folk Tales series. It’s a collection of excellent English folk tales written by a selection of different authors. These British folkloric tales cover the full scope of any delightful folk tale compendium, including romance, fairy tales, and things that go bump in the night. 

Cozy up with your favorite blanket and a hot drink to spend an evening off with the fairies as you enjoy celebrating Scotland’s unique customs, beliefs, and dialects. 

The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs by Juila Bishop and Steve Roud

The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs

The most recent edition of The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs has brought together a complete collection of England’s folk songs. 

Folk songs were not originally written down by the masses but sung throughout the day to accompany everyday life. The authors have included sheet music to help readers fully immerse themselves in folk songs of past days. 

This collection includes England’s folk songs between the 1870s to 1980s and the original voice of the working class. It’s perfect for both academic and leisure reading.

Le Morte D’Arthur by Thomas Malory 

Le Morte D'Arthur

Submit yourself to the captivating tale woven by Thomas Malory. If you’ve ever wished to immerse yourself in the legend of King Arthur thoroughly, look no further.

This tightly woven tale follows the life and death of King Arthur and his legendary rise to King in the mythical age of Arthurian times. British legends and myths abound in this tome and are perfect for academic and leisure reading. 

Malory doesn’t leave out any enchanting myths during Arthurian times. With no stone left unturned (pun intended), the tale includes the Noble Knights of the Round Table, Morgan le Fay, and Guenevere, and all the legends surrounding these infamous characters of English myth and legend.

If you enjoyed this list of British folklore, legend, and myth, you may also be interested in 16 Great Books on Mythology (Norse, Greek, Japanese)!

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