Pocket Britain
Britain > Cornwall > Tintagel

One of Cornwall's most intriguing destinations, full of mystery and drama

Listen to this article


Tintagel Castle
St. Materiana's
Old Post Office
The name of this small village on the northern coast of Cornwall is a bit of a mystery. No-one quite knows where it came from! Tintagel is also the name of the local castle, a sight which makes the village one of Cornwall's most intriguing destinations.
The fortress stands out towards the sea, on its own tiny little section of land that almost appears to be an island. In fact, this used to be part of the mainland, but years of constant erosion have left it nearly completely separate. The castle is situated right next to this huge rift in the land, perched on a high cliff in the most dramatic of surroundings. In its time, it would have been one of the most imposing and impregnable defensive structures in all of Britain. Unfortunately, in the present day, years of neglect have left the building in ruins.
The original castle on this site was probably built by the Romans or the Celtics, but the current remains date from the 13th century. Despite its present state, the dilapidated walls and battlements are still thought of as the major landmark in both the village, and in the entirety of Cornwall. This is because, according to popular legend, Tintagel Castle is the birthplace of Arthur Pendragon, the mythical hero who would go on to become the King of England, and command the Knights of the Round Table. Every year, a group of enthusiasts keep the story alive by re-enacting one of the famous battles from Arthur's past. Witnessing this display helps you to imagine what the castle must have been like, all those centuries ago.

Part of the ruins of Tintagel Castle
Photo IDS.photos
Beneath the fort, hewn into the cliff, is a large, atmospheric cave. This is supposedly the former home of Merlin, the most powerful wizard in all the land. He's one of the key characters in Arthurian legend, and if you're careful, you can make your way down onto the beach, and explore his cavern for yourself.
There are several more interesting sights and activities in the village itself. If you're not sure where to start, then there's a helpful visitor's centre that has plenty of information. Most tourists end up passing through "King Arthur's Great Halls", a museum that tells the ancient tales of the hero. There is also a popular weekly market every Thursday, and there are some fantastic walking routes that lead off from the village, particularly alongside the cliffs.
In fact, if you head south along the coast, you'll soon come to Tintagel's church, St. Materiana's. Most religious buildings are located in the centre of their village or town, but this Norman building is quite a distance away, standing by itself looking lonely. There is a large graveyard here, containing many memorials that are hundreds of years old.
Another of Tintagel's well-known buildings is the Old Post Office, a 14th century stone house that was used as part of postal system in the 1800s. It has since come under the ownership of the National Trust, who have restored the building to its heyday appearance. There is also a charming cottage garden, which is open to the public.

Tintagel Post Office
Photo a.froese
Tintagel is a pretty village, which is a delight to explore. It is one of the few places in the country that offers a real connection to the greatest of England's legendary heroes.
Visitor Information
Tintagel Visitor Centre, Bossiney Road, Tintagel, PL34 0AJ. Tel: 01840 779 084
Tintagel Castle is open daily (except over Christmas and New Year), from 10am to 4pm. Entry costs around £6 for adults, £3 children. Tintagel, Cornwall PL34 0HE. Tel: 01840 779084
Tintagel Old Post Office is open daily March to October, from 11am to 4pm. Entry costs around £4 for adults, £2 children. Fore Street, Tintagel, Cornwall PL34 0DB. Tel: 01840 770024

Back ~ Top ~ Home ~ Index

Pocket Britain is optimised for use on a smartphone or tablet with internet access. All content is subject to copyright. All reasonable methods have been used to ensure information supplied is accurate at the time of publication. However, it is advisable to check information before relying on it. Privacy Policy