Tintagel (Tre war Venydh) is a somewhat quirky cliff-top village on the north coast of Cornwall. Steep of cliff and steeped in mystery, it enjoys a popularity that belies both its size and remoteness. It’s one of the most visited places in Britain, and that’s a true story! Tintagel is full of features old and new, with many tales to tell (some truer than others), not to mention its unparalleled coastal scenery.
Few Cornish high streets can be quite as varied and characterful. Tintagel could be the destination for a pub or café-hopping holiday, but has many other outlets selling activities, souvenirs and random beach goods. A strong King Arthur connection celebrates both the historical and apocryphal parts of the Arthurian legend, and the streets are alive with tourists, buskers and surprisingly only a smattering of traffic.
As well as Tintagel Haven itself and nearby Trebarwith Strand, there are lots of excellent beaches and coves in the vicinity. Most are dog-friendly all the year round. But do plan ahead, because many beaches are completely covered by the sea at high tide.
Many of the visitors who come to Tintagel are drawn by this very aspect of the area. The King Arthur story is shrouded in myth as well as having some historical credibility, but as well as the Camelot Castle Hotel, King Arthur’s Great Halls, Merlin’s Cave and other such attractions, there’s a fairly pagan witchy angle (like the Willow Moon occult shop, “Come in for a spell”), the ghostly stuff (see below) and a bunch of real history; the site of Bossiney Castle, or St Materiana’s Church, Bronze Age barrows, Roman milestones and a whole lot of archaeology.
The Island (not quite an island) and Tintagel Castle ruins that lie on either side of its narrow rock bridge to the mainland are the first stop for many tourists. King Arthur’s footprint (in rock) can be found at the southern end.
The Camel Estuary, a few miles west, is a paradise for watersports enthusiasts and beach lovers. Waterskiing and wakeboarding, sailing, wind/kite surfing, surfing and some of the best expanses of unspoilt sand in the UK. It’s approximately twenty minutes drive to get there, with ample parking in Rock, Polzeath and Daymer Bay.
Eating and drinking
Tintagel is said to be one of the most haunted places in Cornwall. The Camelot Castle Hotel alone claims three ghosts, one of whom allegedly throws paintings off the wall if they are not to his liking. One is a nurse who wakes guests during the night, and another rummages through the hotel bins!
Old Post Office
One very striking building, but the Old Post Office was only briefly a Post Office, though it is where the horse-drawn coaches used to throw off the mail bags. This fourteenth century farmhouse now hosts events and music, and the ancient, undulating roof is something to see.
The sloping chute at Tintagel Haven pours onto the sea at high tide, but at low water flows into a pool where all can play. Waterfall fans might also like St Nectan’s Glen, a magical valley with a sixty footer, plus many other stunning rock features.
Fore St is full of amusements and souvenirs – as well as the Trading Post, the Ice Cream Parlour and the Candy Shop. The North Shore Art Gallery sells local paintings and photos. There’s a toy shop with a small, but interesting (and free), Toy Museum in Atlantic Road.
Of course we can not cram everything Tintagel has to offer in one short blog post, but we do have a whole page choc-full of information all about this fabulous village.
Holiday Cottages in Tintagel
There is a selection of holiday cottages to rent in the Tintagel area, from traditional ones to modern conversions. They are mostly characterised by a very bright outlook, unlike the dark granite houses of Bodmin Moor.