Steeped in Arthurian legend, Tintagel on Cornwall’s North Coast is thought to originally have been ‘Dindagell’, Cornish for fort or castle. Tintagel’s famous castle ruins on the coast, around half a mile from the village centre, are reached via steps from the mainland. The castle, affectionately known as ‘King Arthur’s Castle’, is one of Cornwall’s most visited heritage sites. The village centre is a pretty scene of old inns, craft and gift shops, restaurants, cafes and tearooms. Beaches in the area attract families and surfers, and they include dog friendly Castle Beach (also known as Tintagel Haven) popular for safe swimming and Trebarwith Strand and Bossiney. At the base of Castle Island on Castle Beach sits Merlin’s Cave accessible at low tide.
The Old Post Office (National Trust) with cottage garden is a charming medieval yeoman’s house with Victorian post office equipment and artefacts dating back to the 16th century on display. King Arthur’s Great Halls, a 1930s building built by the millionaire Fredrick Glassock on Fore Street has various entertaining displays on Arthurian legend and a small gift shop. A visit to stunning St Nectan’s Glen just inland from Tintagel is also not to be missed with its sixty-foot waterfall and beautiful woodland trails.
Tintagel Toy Museum and Collector’s Shop offers a nostalgic way to spend a few hours, with free admission. Visit Granny Wobbly’s Fudge Pantry, an independent traditional sweet shop where you can sample and buy traditional crumbly fudge. Another little specialist shop gem in the village is the Urchins Bear Shop at The Old Bath House on Fore Street packed with Teddy Bears galore!
Around the village the cliff top coast path offers magnificent coastal walking opportunities – parts of the coast path including the area around Glebe Cliff are owned by the National Trust. The remains of 18th and 19th century copper, lead and slate mines can also be seen along the Tintagel coast. Gentle scenic circular walks start from King Arthur’s Arms car park . Pick up maps and local guides on walking and attractions at the independent Tintagel Visitor Centre located on the Bossiney Road.
Tintagel’s 13th century castle (English Heritage) is one of Cornwall’s most spectacular, located on an island joined to the mainland by a thin strip or neck of land and steeped in Arthurian legend. Fascinating artefacts from the Dark Ages have been unearthed around the castle including the so called ‘Arthur Stone’ discovered in the late 1990s and inscribed with the Latin ‘Artognov’. Regular events take place across the summer season including an archaeological week and there’s ample opportunity to explore the ruins via trails and coastal paths with spectacular sea views as far as Lundy Island on clear days! A beach cafe, a shop, picnic area and toilets are all on-site, and dogs on leads only are welcome.
Just south west of Tintagel is beautiful golden sandy beach Trebarwith Strand located at the bottom of a deep valley. Trebarwith is popular with surfers and for family rock pooling. A summer lifeguard services is present and dogs are welcome with parking just a few minutes’ walk away. The strong winds coming in from the Atlantic here make Trebarwith a top spot for surfing. Around the beach there are climbing rocks popular with children. Trebarwith is a tidal beach – at low tide the sands extend for around a mile whilst at high tide the beach is completed covered by water. Nearby Crackington Haven beach and village makes the perfect day out. This small family friendly beach is flanked by cliffs and is popular for surfing and rock pooling.