Newest Review: ... will need to park in one of Tintagel's car parks which are not run by English Heritage. This time we visited we parked in a car park ... more
The birthplace of a monarch
Tintagel Castle (Tintagel)
Member Name: lyndsey1989
Tintagel Castle (Tintagel)
Advantages: Lots to see, good value for money
Disadvantages: Lots of steps and hills!
As a child I holidayed in Tintagel many times with my family so it does hold a lot of great memories for me which means that whenever I go to Cornwall which can be up to twice a year I try my hardest to squeeze in a visit to this wonderful place. I have visited the castle a few times and as me and my partner were in North Cornwall last weekend on Sunday we decided we must go to Tintagel and also the castle. We went a couple of years ago and enjoyed it but as we are now English Heritage members so entry was free we decided it was definitely worth going.
==What makes it special?==
The castle stands on beautiful cliffs in North Cornwall. It is supposed to have been the birthplace of King Arthur who's sword Excalibur protected him from the evil magician Merlin. The castle itself is now in a state of ruin but lots of foundations are still in place and the scenery from the castle is absolutely breathtaking.
==Where is it?==
As you've probably guessed Tintagel Castle is based in the village of Tintagel on the North Cornwall coast. It is a few miles from the famous village of Boscastle and the nearest large town is Bude which is around half an hour away by car.
To get to Tintagel is fairly straightforward, you need to follow the A39 and then just follow the signs for Tintagel. It is easy to follow the signs and the roads are not too narrow compared to some in Cornwall!
It is easiest to reach Tintagel by car however there is a bus service that runs to the village. The castle itself is reached by a track going downhill towards the castle in the middle of Tintagel. There is only parking for disabled down the track, most people will need to park in one of Tintagel's car parks which are not run by English Heritage. This time we visited we parked in a car park right next to the track and paid £3 for 3 hours. I believe there are car parks which offer better value for money nearer to the top of the village. In order to get down to the castle you can either walk down the hill which takes around five minutes or you can get a land rover bus service which is good for those with mobility problems or those with young children. This service costs £1 for adults and 50p for children and dogs.
==Visitor Centre and what can be accessed for free==
At the bottom of the hill there is the visitors centre, a café, a small pebble beach, admissions office, shop and toilets. These parts of the castle grounds are open to all of the public regardless of whether you are planning to pay the admission fee in order to access all of the castle. This is nice because if you don't particularly want to trek all around the castle or don't really have the time or the money you can still get a bit of a feel for the place.
The toilets are of a decent size and I have never had to queue in them. It is worth noting that these are the only toilets so therefore if you are going up to the castle it would be wise to go before you go! The toilets are always spotlessly clean.
The beach is a lovely place to sit and look out to sea. You often see people with their dogs on here but I imagine that on a nice summers day it would be perfect for a picnic or even just a place to read a book for an hour.
You can also access parts of the castle for free which include the entrance to the castle. This is reached via some steep stone steps and includes ruins of an archway and various walls. There are lots of information boards which I really enjoyed reading as there wasn't too much on them but there was plenty to ensure you understood more about the castle. This area provides nice views back over to Tintagel and we spent around 15 minutes in this section. If you carry on under the archway you can access the coastal path and also the church. You can also head back to the village this way by heading down the slope to come out next to the stream halfway up/down the hill. In future I am always going to take this route as it is quicker and it is so much easier and less tiring!
==What extras do I get if I do pay?==
If you decide to pay the entrance fee of £5.50 for adults, £5.00 for concessions, £3.30 for children and £14.30 for a family you are entitled to access of the whole castle site (apart from a few minor areas which are not accessible due to cliff erosion).
There is much more to see over this side of the castle and there are lots of rooms marked out so you can see how big their rooms were and imagine what it would have been liked to have been there. Everything is easy to understand as again there are easy to follow boards which give you a brief history. You can carry on further and further up and if you do reach the top there is a nice grass area which would be a lovely place to spend a few hours on a less windy day. Being up here is so peaceful and tranquil and the views are beautiful.
Once in the paid area of the castle we probably spent around 30 - 40 minutes exploring. However, we arrived only an hour before closing so we would have probably stayed a bit longer if time wasn't getting on.
As the castle is situated on a cliff face it is reached by a great number of steps, some are wooden whist some are stone. Most are of a decent size but some are quite narrow. These are all very extremely dangerous when wet. Once at the top there are also various grass hills and slopes to climb so this really wouldn't be a very good place to visit for anyone with mobility problems.
==Is it worth a visit?==
Definitely. I think it is certainly worth taking a walk down to the castle even if you are not planning on paying the admission fee to enter the entire castle. Tintagel Castle is such an important part of British history it is a nice place to visit. Even without paying the admission fee I believe you could easily spend an hour here, maybe even two!
I do believe the admission fee is good value for money. English Heritage do a fantastic job of trying to preserve our heritage and proceeds from tickets go back into this wonderful project. If you can though, try to go on a calmer day so time can be spent on the beach etc.
I believe the castle will appeal to all kinds of people including those interested in history, those interested in architecture or buildings, those who enjoy walking and those who just want to take in and photograph the breathtaking scenery.
The reported birthplace of King Arthur providing stunning views of the Cornish coastline, fascinating history which is given to you in manageable chunks, very enjoyable coastal walks and peace and tranquillity just a ten minute walk away from the bustling village of Tintagel.
Summary: Great place to visit