Tintagel Castle information
Famous as the supposed birthplace of King Arthur, Tintagel's stunning clifftop castle has been occupied since Roman times and once served as a residence for Cornwall's Celtic kings, but the present castle is largely the work of Richard, Earl of Cornwall, who built a castle here during the 1230s. Though the Arthurian links may be tenuous, it's certainly a fine spot for a fortress: clinging to black granite cliffs, surrounded by booming surf and wheeling gulls, it's the classic fairy-tale castle.
Though much of the structure has crumbled away, it's still possible to make out several walls and much of the original layout. Part of the castle stands on a rocky outcrop cut off from the mainland, and is accessed via a wooden bridge and a very steep staircase (vertigo sufferers beware).
Trails lead along the headland to the atmospheric medieval chapel of St Glebe's , and down on the beach below the castle, the rocky mouth of Merlin's Cave is exposed at low tide – local legend claims it's where the wizard once wove his spells.
It's a steep walk down to the castle from the village car parks; in summer, Land Rover taxis shuttle up and down throughout the day.