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A local

A local's guide to Tintagel

About the village

Tintagel is an Atlantic Ocean-facing village in North Cornwall. It has been a seaside resort since the late 19th century thanks to the presence of Tintagel Castle and a resurgence of interest in the legend of King Arthur around the time. Today, the castle ruins make the village one of the most visited places in the UK, with around 230,000 visitors per year. It has even had its fortunes boosted with the addition of a new access bridge (opened in August 2019) that links the castle rock to the mainland.

tintagel

The village is 4 miles south of Boscastle and 10 miles north of Port Isaac. It is very quaint and located high above the beach. You can also choose from several pubs and eateries that are open in the daytime and the evening too. With the added bonus of the Tintagel Toy Museum and easy access to the South West Coast Path, this is a superb backdrop for your North Cornwall holiday.

Stay in a self-catering cottage in Tintagel. We have some lovely properties in and around the village for everybody, whether you are looking for a couples’ break or an escape with extended family and friends. Read on to discover why Tintagel should be on your holiday itinerary.

The history

tintagel bridge

Tintagel is famous because of the legend of King Arthur. Visitors flock to the 13th-century castle ruins to get as close as they can to the myth. The castle was built by Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall, to capitalise on the veneration of Arthur generated by an early fictionalised account of British history written in the 12th century. The castle is owned by Prince Charles as part of the Duchy of Cornwall, and is managed today by English Heritage. The village was known as Trevena until the post office used the name Tintagel in Victorian times. Previous to this change, the name Tintagel was just used to refer to the castle mount and the general parish. Strangely enough, the post office building is owned by the National Trust and is Grade I listed.

Tintagel Castle can be reached down a steep lane called Castle Road. At the base, you will encounter the castle visitor centre and the beach. You can reach the castle via a bridge that connects the headland to the mainland. Considering how old the castle is and its exposure to the extreme elements, it is remarkable quite how much of it still stands. The outer walls and a gatehouse still remain as well as the earthworks for many buildings.

The beach

tintagel beach

Tintagel sits atop a cliff and the only beach that can be reached from the village with ease is a small cove directly below the castle headland. Surrounded on two sides by high cliffs, the beach is completely taken by the sea at high tide. Visit the fabled Merlin’s Cave that opens out at the base of the castle rock; look out for a cool carving in the rock of the legendary wizard’s face. Also close to the beach is a sculpture of King Arthur, called Gallos, which is a very impressive sight.

polzeath

If you want to surf, head down the coast 13 miles to Polzeath where there are also surf schools galore for beginners. Polzeath is around the headland from Rock and the Camel River Estuary where you will find a sunbather’s beach at Daymer Bay. Children will love this large sandy beach which has views of the estuary and the Doom Bar. Other family activities include exploring rock pools and climbing the big hill there, making it a wonderful choice for a beach day.

The attractions

Tintagel Castle

tintagel gallos

Tintagel Castle is the obvious draw when visiting Tintagel. Head to the English Heritage website to view the availability of timed tickets that help you avoid queues during busy times. Please allow time to get to the castle as it’s about 10 minutes’ walk from the car park. If you like being spontaneous, there are walk-up tickets available, but they are limited and sold on a first-come-first-served arrangement and queues can be long. Visit the Tintagel Castle website for the finer details.

The Tintagel Toy Museum

tintagel toy museum

The Tintagel Toy Museum is a small treasure but well worth a walk around if you love a bit of nostalgia. Visitors of a certain age will certainly get a kick out of seeing their old childhood toys. There is a heavy emphasis on die-cast metal cars from the 1960s to the 1980s but you won’t hear anybody complaining about that, we are sure. Inquisitive kids will also love seeing some very cool artefacts in there.

Boscastle

boscastle

Around 4 miles up the coast is the lovely seaside village of Boscastle. Most people will remember the flood that swept through Boscastle causing havoc on a tremendous scale. Since then, the village has recovered well and there doesn’t appear to have been any lasting effects at face value. You can see photographs of that fateful day in the National Trust visitor centre at the heart of the village. Not the for the faint-hearted is Boscastle’s Museum of Witchcraft, which boasts one of the largest public collections of occult paraphernalia in the world. Educating visitors to the mystical and often benign forces of witchery, it makes for a fascinating day out. This is more of an adult experience than a family one, however, children are welcome. Most of its exhibits survived the storm and this is something to be grateful for. The village also has a good number of cafés and eateries for a village of its size.

The food and drink

Irina’s Restaurant at Camelot Castle

camelot castle hotel

Camelot Castle is a hotel on the head opposite Tintagel Castle. It’s worth heading inside to check out some affordable fine dining options at Irina’s. You can enjoy an interesting array of three-course meal choices whilst taking in the ocean view from the restaurant windows. Also at the hotel, you will find The Explorer’s Tea Room and Coffee House which offers sweet confections and light bites to try.

Charlie’s

cream tea at charlie's

Charlie’s is something of a local food legend. Its breakfasts and lunches are stunning and priced very reasonably. The level of care that goes into its gourmet craft is impressive and you will have to drive a long way for a better lunch option. Charlie’s is also a delicatessen and a fantastic place to stock up the kitchen cupboards at your holiday property for meals at home.

The Big Fish

big fish

A trip to the seaside is incomplete without a trip to the local chippy. Tintagel’s bid for fish and chip heaven is The Big Fish, and we’d say it’s a winner. Located on the village’s main street, it’s a good takeaway option for a simple treat. It is open all year round too!

The accommodation

From charming barn conversions or beautiful farm cottages with a view of Tintagel Castle and the Atlantic Ocean, we have a fantastic portfolio of self-catering holiday properties in and around Tintagel for you to choose from. Whether you are hoping to walk the craggy cliffs along the South West Coast Path or scramble around the castle ruins, our holiday homes will provide the perfect backdrop for your trip to North Cornwall. So, if you are looking for a romantic escape or a fun outdoor adventure with family or friends, we have the place for you. You can even bring your dog along to many of our pet-friendly properties too!

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