Tintagel Castle: Legendary Birthplace of King Arthur


My next holiday post covers Tintagel Castle. The village of Tintagel is a few minutes walk from the sea. Tintagel Island (technically a peninsula) is adjacent to the village and was originally connected to the mainland via medieval fortifications. From Roman times onwards there was a settlement on the island. The castle as we see it today, was built in the 13th century, and would have been a more modest fortress in the time Arthur is said to have lived. Today, all that is left is ruins, and not a lot of them. Being so exposed to the elements on the coast no doubt accounts for much of this.


We had a little look at the exhibition to start with. There was an interesting 3D representation and mini light show of the peninsula, together with various artifacts from Roman times and the Dark Ages period thereafter.

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There wasn’t a lot of emphasis on Arthur down at the castle site (the focus was more historical), but the legend surrounding his conception was detailed in the exhibition. Basically, Uther fancied Igraine and got Merlin to disguise him as Igraine’s husband. Igraine fell for it, and Arther was the result.


I hadn’t realised what a horrendous amount of steps were going to be involved in the day. Naive little me thought that like most other castles, it would be a little ruin on top of the hill. Oh no.

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You start in the valley, and go all the way up one side and around the island. Then back down and back up the other side. It’s a real killer. Not to mention the thousands of other people trying to go up and down at the same time. Well, that’s a slight exaggeration. I understand it gets extremely busy in the summer months.

Anyway, once you reach the top on the island side, you see the gatekeeper’s house:


Beyond this lies the best remaining part of the castle, the Great Hall.


I love the flat bricks they used for building here. I’ve never seen anything quite like it before. This is a few shots around the halls:

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And then I couldn’t resist this nicely framed view through the ‘window’:

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And then we headed out of the halls and onto the island:


There are a few remains of Dark Age settlements on the island:

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And some lovely views across the sea:

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This view is looking back over to the mainland:


At the far end of the island overlooking the sea is this sculpture. I thought it was rather nice:


After that, we went down and back up to the other side, which had a few more bits of ruined castle on them:


And then we found out we didn’t have to go down all those steps again, we could go out the road at the back:


Whereupon we found a much-deserved cup of tea!






  1. Wow! Awesome pics, Elise 🙂
    This is definitely one of my “To Visit” places.
    The one thing that gave me pause were the steps. But I’ve decided that I can take a little pain to actually be in the place where King Arthur was conceived 😀

  2. Lynden Wade

    Lovely photos. It’s one of the most wonderful castle ruins in Britain, I’m sure. I fell in love with it as a child, and wrote a “novel” based round it. It was just as good when I returned with my children.

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