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Live and breathe the story of England at royal castles, historic gardens, forts & defences, world-famous prehistoric sites and many others.
Due to storm damage to the beach steps and the surrounding cliff area, there is no access to the beach and Merlin’s cave. We’re sorry for any disappointment that this will cause.
Go on a legendary adventure at Tintagel - cross the spectacular new bridge to take in unforgettable views of the coastline and explore the history-rich headland. Walk among the castle ruins that still cling to the cliffs, find early-medieval remains, and meet Gallos - the life-size bronze statue of an ancient king who keeps watch over the wild seas below.
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Tintagel Castle is a historic site situated on the clifftops of North Cornwall. Due to the rugged coastal landscape, there are steep slopes, sheer drops and uneven surfaces which can present a challenge to visitors.
If possible, we ask our visitors to follow a one-way route around the site which means leaving via 140 steep steps. Please see our access page for detailed information and advice for visitors with limited mobility.
Finds of pottery, early coins and two Roman inscribed pillars suggest activity on the headland.
Tintagel is a rich and important site, trading with the Mediterranean world. The headland is covered with many small rectangular buildings.
Find out more about the history of Tintagel
The site seems to have been abandoned for over 500 years.
Geoffrey of Monmouth writes his History of the Kings of Britain. His legendary King Arthur is conceived at Tintagel by Uther Pendragon and Igerna, wife of Duke Gorlois of Cornwall.
Learn more about Tintagel in history and legend
Henry III's brother Richard, Earl of Cornwall, begins building himself a castle. He buys the land once the castle is finished.
The castle's great hall is subject to constant erosion, possibly causing a partial collapse. Edward the Black Prince, 1st Duke of Cornwall, reworks the hall into smaller buildings.
Although the castle is little used, legends continue to flourish. Antiquary William Worcestre names Tintagel as the place of Arthur's birth, as well as his conception.
The site is largely deserted, despite a survey recommending that the headland be strengthened against possible foreign landings.
References to King Arthur's Castle become a tangled mixture of local folklore and literary legends.
Archaeologist Ralegh Radford proves through his discovery of pottery fragments that Tintagel was once part of an early medieval trading network that reached across the Mediterranean world.
A major fire destroys the turf over a wide area.
Excavations on the island's eastern side confirm that the rectangular huts, great ditch and imported pottery date from the 5th and 6th centuries.
Learn more about Tintagel Castle
For the first time in over 500 years, the two halves of Tintagel Castle are reunited via a daring new footbridge. Spanning a 190-foot gorge, the bridge follows the line of the original route, long lost to erosion, between the 13th-century gatehouse on the mainland and the courtyard on the island.