Things to See and Do

Things To See and Do

Entrance to the Castle

Begin your journey by climbing the step free path up to the mainland courtyard – the medieval gateway to the castle. 

Take in the dramatic cliff-top views, before you follow in the footsteps of Tintagel’s medieval inhabitants and cross the new footbridge to the island. You will need a timed-ticket to enter the castle, cross the bridge and explore the island - book today and plan your visit at the best time for you.

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On the Island

Explore the remains of the 13th-century castle and imagine the feasting and merriment of Richard, Earl of Cornwall’s court. Discover the ruins of the Great Hall, the heart of the castle, where Earl Richard’s guests were entertained and important business undertaken.

Our outdoor displays guide you through the history of the castle and the role that legends have played in shaping the site. Soak up the natural beauty of this dramatic headland as you imagine life here centuries ago. 

Early Medieval Buildings

Discover the dramatically-sited remains of Tintagel’s early medieval settlement, where Cornish rulers lived and traded with far off shores, importing exotic goods and trading tin. You can see the deep defensive ditch which protected the settlement as you pass through the castle entrance.

Imagine what life was like at Tintagel as you walk through the footprints of houses built between the 5th and 7th centuries AD on this remote and beautiful headland. Recent excavations have given a fascinating insight into the people who lived at Tintagel at this time. 

History Meets Legend

Tintagel was a stronghold for early medieval rulers. It may have been memories of this seat of Cornish kings that inspired Geoffrey of Monmouth to name it as the place where King Arthur was conceived. It was almost certainly this link to the literary hero that inspired Richard, Earl of Cornwall, to build his cliff-top castle here.

Today as you explore the atmospheric landscape, outdoor works of art bring to life these regal connections. You won’t want to miss the brooding figure on the island – Gallos (meaning 'power' in Cornish) – a life-sized bronze sculpture inspired by the legend of King Arthur and Tintagel's royal past. 

The Island Garden

Discover the remains of the medieval walled garden, which Earl Richard may have built in reference to the famous love story of Tristan and Iseult. Engraved stepping stones around the garden retell the tragic medieval tale.

As you explore the island, take a moment to look out for wildlife on the clifftops. The island is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and home to plenty of flora, fauna, wildlife and birds through the year. You can often spot seals in the water, and the cliffs team with coastal birds enjoying shelter from the winds.

Down on the Beach

Relax on the beach below the castle - one of Tintagel's best kept secrets - it's perfect for a quick paddle, or to explore the rock pools.

In winter you can blow away the cobwebs with a walk along the shore or stop and admire the waterfall falling onto the sand from the cliffs above. In summer, children can build sandcastles or explore Merlin's Cave when the tide is out.

Please note that there is no lifeguard service in operation on the beach, and you may wish to check the tide times when planning your visit.

A Taste of Cornwall

With its bright and airy decor which reflects the coastal setting, the Beach Cafe is the perfect place for a tasty snack, light lunch, cream tea or delicious home-made cake.

The ingredients are locally sourced and prepared to order with plenty to choose from, including fish and chips, crab sandwiches and Cornish Rarebit made with Yarg cheese and a local beer. 

You can take your lunch on the terrace whilst enjoying the views out to sea, or cosy up in the corner of the cafe on colder days. 

Exhibition & Shop

Continue your exploration of the castle by visiting our exhibition, which looks Tintagel's rich and varied past.

See artefacts discovered at the site, on display for the first time, as well beautiful book sculptures which illustrate the castle's literary links. An innovative 3D model of the headland provides a fascinating demonstration of how Tintagel has developed through time.

In the castle shop, you’ll find a range of heritage gifts, including toy swords, books and tapestries, as well as a selection of Medieval and Arthurian souvenirs.

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