Of all the beautiful places we’ve been to in Cornwall, Tintagel Village in North Cornwall is one of our favourites.
Home to legends and an ancient castle, as well as a rather charming village and incredible coastal views, we guarantee you’ll love visiting Tintagel in Cornwall.
Read on to find out more about Tintagel’s link with King Arthur and all the top things to do in Tintagel during your visit.
Tintagel in Cornwall & The Legend of King Arthur
King Arthur was first linked to Tintagel in the 12th century.
The historian, Geoffrey Monmouth claimed Tintagel Castle was the place where Arthur was conceived by Uther Pendragon, King of Britain and Queen Igerna, wife of Duke Gorlois of Cornwall.
Later, within the 15th century, Tintagel Castle was also named as Arthur’s place of birth as well as his conception. While the 17th century saw the first mention of ‘King Arthur’s Castle’.
Things To Do In Tintagel, Cornwall
Whether Arthur really was born here (or not) doesn’t take away from the fact that visiting Tintagel village and the castle today should be on every UK bucket list.
Here are some of the top things to do in Tintagel during your visit.
Surrounded by the deep blue ocean and stunning Cornish countryside, Tintagel Castle is perched on the edge of the land – and has such stunning views!
The castle is in ruins today and the English Heritage have done a superb job at ensuring your visit isn’t too commercialised.
Instead, they’ve focused on the castle’s history and have provided plenty of opportunity for you to get up close and personal with the castle and its surrounding landscape.
Psst! If you’re not yet an English Heritage member, you can grab 20% off gift and annual memberships right now. Just click this link and use our exclusive discount code: WOWEHM20. Enjoy!
When we visited in 2017, we had to climb over a hundred very steep steps up to the castle from the entrance and back down again. We’re both pretty fit people, but we were definitely panting when we reached the top!
That said, we’ve since heard that Tintagel Bridge has been opened, so you should find your visit much easier than ours, which is great for any of you visiting with young children, dogs or the elderly.
At the top, you’ll be treated to incredible sea views and a chance to walk around the castle and surrounding countryside.
You’ll even find a bronze statue of Arthur and his sword on top of the cliffs overlooking the castle.
Don’t miss a wander around The Island Garden. This is the remains of the old walled garden and you should see it on your way to Arthur’s statue.
Inside, you’ll find some engraved stepping stones, which tell the tragic love story of Tristan and Iseult.
While you’re up this high, be sure to take in the incredible views across the sea and Cornish countryside.
It certainly helps to blow away the cobwebs and is a lovely photo opportunity – especially on a sunny day.
Tintagel Beach & Merlin’s Cave
Below the castle, there is a small beach known as Tintagel Beach or Castle Cove.
Although it’s a pebble and shingle beach, it’s very quiet and is perfect for rock pooling, or just paddling your feet on a hot day.
From Tintagel Beach, it’s also possible to access and walk all the way through Merlin’s Cave when the tide is out (although make sure you know when the tide will be coming back in again).
Legend says this is where the famous wizard, Merlin used to live during the days of Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.
Aside from the castle and beach, the nearby Tintagel village is a pretty little Cornish village and is just calling out for you to have a wander around.
Decked out in colourful bunting during the summer months and completely bustling with tourists and energy, you’ll definitely want to spend at least a couple of hours exploring the village after the castle.
There are plenty of independent boutiques and shops in Tintagel selling everything from gifts, souvenirs and fudge, to clothes, toys and games.
And towards the end of the village furthest away from the castle, you’ll find an inscribed stone rock welcoming you to Tintagel. It’s worth a quick photo if you have time.
There are also a number of restaurants, pubs and bars within the village for you to rest your feet in.
Where To Stay In Tintagel, Cornwall
There are plenty of small B&Bs, large hotels and holiday homes that you can stay in within Tintagel, some with a small link to King Arthur by name.
Here are our top picks of where to stay in Tintagel:
- Tintagel Arms Hotel: Located a short walk away from Tintagel Castle, this simple hotel is a very comfortable stay. Breakfast is served daily, and in the eating area, you’ll be joined by statues of knights in armour and other quirky Arthur-related decor. Check Prices
- The Cornishman Inn: Just 3 minutes from Tintagel Castle, The Cornishman Inn is a very traditional B&B with pub and food served on-site and a large terrace and garden attached to keep the kids busy. Check Prices
- Camelot Castle Hotel: For those of you who are after a bit of opulence and luxury during your stay in Tintagel, Camelot Castle Hotel is the one for you. With amazing sea views, period features and set inside what was once probably a castle or at least a rich person’s mansion, this hotel will take your breath away! Check Prices
Travel Tips To Remember When Visiting Tintagel
In case you didn’t have time to read this full blog, here are the top travel tips you need to remember when visiting Tintagel:
- English Heritage members can visit Tintagel Castle for free.
- Otherwise, you can buy tickets in advance online.
- Merlin’s Cave can be accessed when the tide is out via the beach below the castle known as Tintagel Beach or Castle Cove.
- Eating in Tintagel should involve traditional fish ‘n’ chips, Cornish pasties or typical ‘pub grub’ such as sausage and mash or pie.
- Make sure you buy some fudge as a souvenir from one of the little shops in Tintagel village.
- If you’re staying the night in Tintagel, check out Tintagel Arms Hotel, The Cornishman Inn or Camelot Castle Hotel.
We hope this guide to Tintagel’s castle and village has been helpful! Are you excited for your trip to Tintagel and a step back in time?
If you want to extend your stay in Cornwall, heading out on a road trip around Cornwall is one of our favourite things to do.