Tintagel – Where King Arthur Legends Loom Larger Than Life:
Mention Tintagel, and the legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table come to mind immediately. Since Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote his History of the Kings of Britain in 1150, visitors have been coming to Tintagel Castle to see the legendary King Arthur’s birthplace. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth’s tales, King Arthur was born in Tintagel to the beautiful Queen Igerna under the protection of Merlin the magician who lived in a cave below the mighty fortress.
Fact or fiction, Arthurian legends have been good business for Tintagel. Poets, artists, historians and sightseers have been flocking to this little village on the northern Cornish coastline since the Victorian era. This fascination with King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table, Lancelot and Excalibur has been further fuelled by the many Hollywood blockbusters. These days Tintagel is a popular tourist destination for people holidaying in Cornwall.
Things to See and Do
If it’s King Arthur’s Tintagel that you’ve come to see, Tintagel Castle ruins would probably be your first port of call. Set against the dramatic and rugged north Cornwall coastline, the extensive site is mysterious and atmospheric. To learn about the King Arthur legends and history, the Arthurian Centre at Camelford has a huge exhibition space and video that will help you unravel some of the fact from faction. The Centre is set in 20 acres of grounds which surround the ‘King Arthur’s Stone’. Here you can wander through the fields and see where King Arthur and Mordred fought their last battle. Archaeologists are still digging on this site and in summer you may get to see them at work.
But don’t leave Tintagel without stopping in the village. Tintagel village is easy to explore as the places of interest and the many shops and inns are along Fore Street, the main Tintagel thoroughfare. And the spirit of King Arthur prevails in the village as well. The shops and inns have names that make a play on the Arthurian legends. The medieval Tintagel Old Post Office is worth a visit and further up the road is the King Arthur’s Hall and the Medthodist church.
Tintagel has a range of tea rooms and pubs where you can enjoy a Cornish pasty or the famous Cornish cream tea.
If you’re planning to spend a few days here, there are many hotels, guest houses, inns, cottages and other accommodation to choose from in and around Tintagel, including the five-star Camelot. Nearby is Boscastle, another little historic village.
Map of Cornwall Coast: