For a magical day out take the family to Tintagel Castle. Its wonderful location, set high on the rugged North Cornwall coast, offers dramatic views, and its fascinating ruins and stunning beach cafe make it a perfect day trip.
Throughout the year, a packed events programme provides great family fun including Tales of King Arthur, Castle of Legend and Easter Adventure Quest! Visit http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/tintagel-castle/events for details.
Tintagel Castle is steeped in legend and mystery; said to be the birthplace of King Arthur, you can still visit nearby Merlin's Cave. The castle also features in the tale of Tristan and Isolde. With a history stretching as far back as the Romans, Tintagel Castle is one of the most iconic visitor attractions in the south west.
The History of Tintagel Castle
Joined to the mainland by a narrow neck of land, Tintagel Island faces the full force of the Atlantic. On the mainland itself, the gaunt remains of the medieval castle represent only one phase in a long history of occupation. Even before Richard, Earl of Cornwall, built his castle in 1233, Tintagel was already associated in legend with the conception of King Arthur by Uther Pendragon, the result of his seduction of Queen Igraine. Indeed Richard's castle was probably deliberately built to reinforce his connections with Arthur and the ancient rulers of Cornwall. This Arthurian connection was later renewed by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, in his Victorian 'Idylls of the King'.
After a period as a Roman settlement and military outpost, Tintagel became a trading settlement of Celtic kings of Cornwall during the 5th and 6th centuries. Legend has it that one of these was King Mark, whose nephew Tristan fell in love with Yseult (or Isolde). Their doomed romance is part of Tintagel's story.
The remains of the 13th century castle are breathtaking. Steep stone steps, stout walls and rugged windswept cliff edges encircle the great hall, where Richard, Earl of Cornwall, once feasted.
There are many myths and unanswered questions surrounding Tintagel. The site has an amazing capacity to surprise, even after years of investigation. In 1998, excavations were undertaken under the direction of Professor Chris Morris of the University of Glasgow, on a relatively sheltered and small site on the eastern side of the island, first excavated in the 1930s.
High-status imported Mediterranean pottery of the 5th and 6th centuries was found, as well as some fragments of fine glass believed to be from 6th or 7th century Málaga in Spain. Even more remarkable was a 1,500 year-old piece of slate on which remained two Latin inscriptions. The second inscription reads: 'Artognou, father of a descendant of Coll, has had (this) made.' Who exactly Artognou was continues to be the subject of lively speculation.
Dogs welcome on leads
- Disabled toilets
- Guide dogs permitted
- Accessible formats
Due to the geography of the local area, access to the castle is via at least 100 steep steps. Surfaces in the castle include grass, gravel, cobbles and flagstones. Many of the surfaces are uneven and include changes of level. The island element of the site is a natural Cornish headland which includes several cliffs. Parts of the castle can be viewed from Glebe Cliff; the National Trust has set aside an area beside the church for this purpose. A Land Rover service (April - October) can take visually impaired and ambulant disabled people to the exhibition and shop (additional charge). No need to book, except for large groups - please contact the site in advance. Access to the castle 'island' is difficult for disabled visitors (via over 100 steep steps). Visually Impaired Visitors Due to the hazardous nature of the site, it is recommended that blind and partially sighted visitors have assistance.
Tickets / Price Guides
|Ticket Type||Ticket Price||Ticket Details|
|Free Admission||£0.00||EH Members|
Open all year
28 March - 30 Sept, Daily 10am - 6pm 1 Oct - 1 Nov, Daily 10am - 5pm 2 Nov - 14 Feb 2015, Sat & Sun 10am - 4pm 15 - 19 Feb 2015, Daily 10am - 4pm 20 Feb - 24 Mar 2015, Sat & Sun 10am - 4pm Closed 24-26, 31 Dec & 1 booked.
Nearest station is Bodmin Parkway station. Take First Western National X10 Exeter to Boscastle bus or the 122 or 125 bus from Bodmin Parkway to Tintagel. Western Greyhound 524 Bude - Wadebridge, 594 Bude - Turo with connections on 555 at Wadebridge to Bodmin Parkway Station.
Nearest major road is A30. To Camelford on A395-A39. Follow Tintagel signs B3314-B3263.
Tintagel Castle Events Programme 2014
Wed 28 - Fri 30 May, Tue 29 - Thu 31 July, 11am-5pm
Witness the action as we journey back to medieval times with fighting knights and legends of old. Watch as our brave knights do battle and demonstrate weapons from the period and prove your worth as a warrior as your don your armour and try out your combat skills.
Storytelling at Tintagel Castle - Tales of King Arthur
Tue 5 - Thu 7, Tue 12 - Thu 14, Tue 19 – Thu 21, Tue 27 - Thu 29 Aug
11.30 - 4pm (Performances at 11.30am, 1.30pm, 3.15pm)
Let Merlin and King Arthur take you on a magical journey back to the days of old when knights did battle and ladies swooned. Be enchanted as they spin tales of magic, mystery and adventure. Or step into your very own Arthurian story as you see if you have what it takes to become a Knight of the Round Table. A truly legendary day out!