Tintagel Castle Padstow
English Heritage
Castle Road
Tintagel
Nr Padstow
Cornwall PL34 0HE 
 
 
The spectacular ruins of Tintagel Castle in Cornwall are visited by many people keen to find some evidence of the legendary King Arthur.  The location is undeniably dramatic but as far as Arthur being conceived here is concerned, there is no proof. 
 
Difficult Access down more than 100 steep steps
The site is on Tintagel Head, an eroded rocky peninsula just 656 yards (600 metres) from the village of Tintagel.  Access is quite difficult, along a rough uneven track, down more than 100 steep steps and across a wooden bridge.
 
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The ruined castle we see today was built in 1233 by Richard, Earl of Cornwall but excavations have revealed a much earlier history. 
 
At the time of the Roman invasion in 43 AD Cornwall was occupied by the Dumnones Celtic tribe.  Roman coins and fragments of pottery found on the site provide evidence of Roman occupation of the peninsula during the 3rd or 4th centuries. 
 
Tintagel site was a 'High Status' settlement between 400 & 700AD 
After the Romans left Britain 300 odd years later, the Celts did build a fortress on the site.  It is thought to have been a summer residence for the Cornish Kings but once again, legend interferes with fact.  Copious finds of high class imported Mediterranean pottery prove that it was an extremely important “high status” settlement between 400 and 700 AD. 
 
If it was a seasonal ceremonial venue for Cornish kings, then the legend of King Arthur has more credence. 
 
Richard, Earl of Cornwall was not a native Cornishman and was given Cornwall by his brother in 1225.  Richard built the castle in an old-fashioned style, capitalising on the Arthurian legend in an effort to gain the Cornishmen’s trust.  His descendants were not interested in maintaining the castle and it was left to the County Sheriff who used it as a prison. By the 1330s the castle was in ruins. 
 
Cult of King Arthur
The cult of King Arthur was revived in Victorian times by the poet Alfred Lord Tennyson who made Tintagel Castle Arthur’s birthplace in Morte D’Arthur.  The Arthurian connection has never gone away and there is now a footpath from the site to Cadbury Castle in Somerset called Arthur's Way. 
 
The Castle is under the care of English Heritage. 
 
Plan Your Visit
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Opening Times, Admission Costs,
Disabled Access & Facilities
For Opening Times, Admission costs, Disabled Access and Facilities go to the English Heritage - Tintagel Castle website below. 
 
Contact & Further Information 
Website  English Heritage/ Tintagel Castle    External Link
 
Tip  There is no access for vehicles and these must be parked in the village. Land Rover service (April - October) can take visually impaired and ambulant disabled people to the exhibition and shop. No need to book but there is a small charge.
 
Getting There
- By Car
From Okehampton in Devon, take the A30 to just past Launceston. When the A395 diverges from the A30, take that road westward to the A39 near Davidstow. From there, country lanes will take you to Tingagel village.
 
The castle is on Tintagel Head, along an uneven, rough 660 yards(600 metre) track from Tintagel. Not suitable for vehicles.
 
- Parking
There is no parking on site. ‘Pay & Display’ parking is in Tintagel Village
 
- By Bus
Western Greyhound 595 (with connections available at Wadebridge, Camelford, Bude and Boscastle).
 
The Castle English Heritage website (link above) has detailed ‘Getting To’ instructions including an excellent map.
 
Google Map - Tintagel Castle