Ruins of Tintagel Castle, Cornwall

Picturesque panoramas of the Celtic sea make the climb to the English Heritage’s Tintagel Castle totally worth the effort.

On our recent holiday, Noah and I were astounded by the beauty of Tintagel bay, located on the North coast of Cornwall. Tintagel has strong connections with folklore, with the area being featured in literary works as the birthplace of King Arthur and speculated as a setting for the tale of tragic lovers Tristan and Iseult.


King Arthur’s car park has a large overflow and is just a couple of minutes walk from the footpath to the site of Tintagel Castle. Before making our way down the path, Noah wanted to share his new idea for a place to have a nap.

Noah has a nap in the boot of the car

Tintagel Bay

Tintagel Bay

It’s a five to ten minute walk down a (sometimes quite steep) hill to the marvelous view of Tintagel Bay. We didn’t require a ticket to visit the bay so if you’re strapped for time we thoroughly recommend checking it out regardless of whether you will visit the ruins. The beautiful turquoise water is a stark contrast to the murky, clay saturated waters of the North Sea.

This part of the cliff-side is riddled with footpaths to explore, as well as having a visitor’s centre, cafe, toilets and gift shop. There are lots of grassy areas so it was the perfect spot to have our picnic.

Noah and Esther sat on the grass

From here, the beach can usually be accessed. Disappointingly, the recent bad weather had damaged the steps leading down to the sand so the entrance was temporarily closed. Such a shame because we would have loved to investigate some of the caves we could see.

Tintagel Castle

There’s over a hundred steps leading up to the first collection of ruins. It was rather busy on the day we visited, so we had to stop many times to allow people on their way down to pass on the very narrow staircase. It’s a good job the view was so impressive.

The view climbing up the stairs.

At the top, Noah climbed, jumped, balanced and wriggled his way through the ruins of the castle’s halls and service buildings. A Great Hall was erected in the 12th century, but what stands today is the remains of areas rebuilt in the 13th century after cliff erosion caused part of the hall to collapse. These rooms would have been used for lodgings and storing food.

Ruins of the Tintagel Castle.

After a short rest, Noah, Grandad and I decided to venture further up the cliffside. Nana opted to stay at the ruins and enjoy the view.

The view looking out from Tintagel Castle

Noah raced on ahead up the jagged stones. When we reached the top, he was sat on the floor; “I’m practicing being an archaeologist” he beamed.

Noah pretends to be an archaeologist.

Exploring the site

There was plenty of archaeological evidence to be discovered. We found the remains of a walled garden and a well. A man-made tunnel was fun to play in whilst we speculated what its purpose might have been. Historians say that it could have been a food store or garden feature.

The Tunnel at Tintagel Castle

Towering above the bay, is a mysterious bronze sculpture of King Arthur whose installment has caused divided opinions among locals. Although striking, I was more interested in the layered rock formations beneath our feet that reminded me of some of the formations we saw in Iceland.

King Arthur statue at Tintagel Castle.

There is so much more to discover, but the baking heat and climbing had tired us out. It was time to head back down, not forgetting to capture some pictures of the deep blue water.

The view of the Celtic Sea

We visited the gift shop on the way out, where I was quite happy to sample the English Heritage’s cherry and strawberry wines (both delicious). Returning to the car park is an arduous trek back up the hill to the main road. There is a land rover service available for £2 per person.


Tintagel Castle is located at Castle Rd, Tintagel PL34 0HE. The ruins are ticketed, but English Heritage members go free. Please check their website for the latest ticket prices and opening hours.

We’d love to visit some more castles in the UK! Do you have any suggestions?

Find out what we did with our photos from this holiday in our post about creating meaningful photo souvenirs.



12 Comments Add yours

  1. Annabel says:

    I’d love to take my kids to Tintagel, it looks so atmospheric! We’re heading to Cornwall this summer but to the south so I doubt we’ll make it there on this trip, next time! #totstravel

    1. Fantastic! Have you got any ideas where you will visit?

  2. Tintagel is an amazing place, you can see why it is the stuff of legends! Love the new nap location! Thank you for linking up to #CulturedKids

  3. Emma Raphael says:

    It really is a beautiful part of Cornwall, and I completely agree with Catherine, you can see why there’s so many legends surrounding it! Thanks for joining in with #CulturedKids 🙂

  4. Katherine says:

    What an awesome place to visit with kids – great for their imaginations! And I wish I was still as small as Noah so that I could take a comfy nap in my car on a lunch break. #CulturedKids

  5. Somewhere I’d love to go – it looks so romantic and the colour of the sea there is extraordinary.

  6. Janet says:

    We had much the same experience when we visited a few years ago. There are so many steps and different views. I would have liked to have walked the coast path more, but after all the steps my legs just gave out! #CulturedKids

    1. Yes! So much to explore! Hoping we’ll get a chance to go back and do the parts we missed someday 🙂

  7. Oh it looks positively stunning. What a beautiful place to swoon over on a sunny day. I would love to see Cornwall – just looks so fabulous. PS – how old is the statue? #CulturedKids

    1. Thanks for reading! I believe the statue was only installed recently, within the last year or so. From what I’ve read, its installation was quite a controversial issue in Tintagel.

  8. Tintagel sounds great, Esther, will visit next time we’re in Cornwall. Thanks for this post. We also liked St Ives, Porthcurno, and the Isles of Scilly. Pity the train from London still takes a long time, so we’ve not been back for three years. Hope to visit again this year, though.

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