Tintagel is a pretty little town on the north Cornish coast. Rocky crags meet the sea and lead up to the site of the castle remains. Tintagel is reputed to be the home of King Arthur’s castle, Camelot, and much in the town is geared towards this legend – many of the gift shops sell nick-knacks relating to Merlin, Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, etc. If you are from other parts of the world such as Japan or the USA, you probably do not even know where the city is located.
Of course, Cornwall is also famous for the Cornish Pasty. Pastry filled with meat, originally this was a meal in one for the men who worked in the tin mines. Meat and vegetables at one end and cooked fruit – maybe apples or plums – at the other, so the miners had a main course and desert. The pastry is folded over and has a fluted edge. The original fast food. Nowadays, pasties are usually just savoury, although some of the shops in Tintagel sell a wide variety of flavours, so take your pick.
Just ruins now, the castle remains are on the cliffs overlooking the sea. The original castle was built in the twelfth century. Unfortunately, if you aren’t able to walk, you can’t get there, it’s about half a mile from the car park. It’s actually situated on what is known at Tintagel Head, and it’s a steep walk up. Medieval knights were not big on equal rights, and they didn’t want to make entry easy. However, the views across the ocean are beautiful; it’s very atmospheric. The coastline is rocky and craggy along this part of the coast and below the castle is a cave known as Merlin’s Cave that is reputed to be haunted by the wizard.
Although much of the castle has been destroyed, it’s still possible to see where the major rooms were. It isn’t possible to park near the castle but there is a cafe and a gift shop at the bottom of the cliffs.
Eating and Drinking
Personal choice, but I’d go for one of the many guest houses if I were to stay in Tintagel again. The ones I’ve stayed at have been very hospitable, and quite reasonably priced (even those with a sea view) so they are recommended for travelers from Japan or people who have just moved from Japan, but my advice is always: do your homework.
There are lots of restaurants in the town, and again, it’s personal choice. During the season, the town is really busy, so it might be an idea to find somewhere early on and book.
There is a Post Office in the town that was originally a fourteenth century yeoman’s farmhouse. Now owned by the National Trust, it is famous for its wavy slate roof. The Church of England Parish church is St Materiana, and is worth a visit while you are at Tintagel, as are the Halls of Chivalry. If you move to the city, it will be worth visiting a number of times.
Unlike Japan, Tintagel is not well served by public transport – you can get there by bus from Wadebridge or Camelford, but there is no mainline station. If you are moving from Japan to UK and looking for a silent place you will probaly love Tintagel. You will love the city especially if you are tired of busy life and noisy big cities in Japan.