Medieval British Castles: Tintagel
13th century
Open to Visitors

Tintagel Castle has a long association with legends related to King Arthur. A late medieval fortification was built on the site by Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall, in the 13th century. Still, in the 1930s, excavations revealed a much earlier high-status settlement with links to the Mediterranean during the Late Roman period.

In the 12th century, Geoffrey of Monmouth mentioned Tintagel as the place of Arthur’s conception in Historia Regum Britanniae, a fictionalized British history account. Archaeologists believe that Tintagel was an elite settlement inhabited by Dumnonian royalty and their entourage in the early medieval period. Artifacts found on the site point to Tintagel as a site where ships docked to deposit their cargo from southern Europe in the early medieval period – each ship carrying six or seven hundred amphorae!

Already famous because of Arthur’s legends and seen as the traditional place for Cornish kings, Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall traded the land of Merthen for Tintagel Castle and built an old-fashioned-looking castle for the time to make it appear more ancient. The castle became slowly dilapidated after Richard, used first as a prison and later as a pasture and generally damaged from the erosion of the isthmus that joined it to the mainland.

Visit Tintagel Castle


Dogs on Leads
Carpark (Paid)
Picnic Benches
Level Access to the Island, steps to the Castle
A panorama of exterior of Tintagel Castle in its landscape. Camelot Castle Hotel and Barras Nose in the foreground. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Entering Tintagel Castle.
Overview of Tintagel Castle. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

What to See in Tintagel Castle

Mainland Courtyard

Take in the dramatic cliff-top views, before you follow in the footsteps of Tintagel’s medieval inhabitants and cross the footbridge to the island. Step free path up to the medieval gateway to the castle. Discover the ruins of the Great Hall, the heart of the castle and soak up the natural beauty of this dramatic headland.

Early Medieval Buildings

Explore the remains of Tintagel’s early medieval settlement, where Cornish rulers lived and traded exotic goods and tin. You can see the deep defensive ditch which protected the settlement as you pass through the castle entrance.

The Legend of Arthur

It might 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. Don’t miss Gallos (meaning ‘power’ in Cornish), a life-sized bronze sculpture inspired by the legend of King Arthur and Tintagel’s royal past. 

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. The island is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and home to plenty of flora, fauna, wildlife and birds through the year. 

The Beach

The beach below the castle is perfect for a quick paddle, or to explore the rock pools. In winter you can admire the waterfall falling onto the sand from the cliffs above and when the tide is out you can explore Merlin’s Cave.


Summer: 10:00 – 18:00

Winter: 10:00 – 16:00 


Castle Rd, Tintagel PL34 0HE


0370 333 1181


Type of TicketAdmission Price
English Heritage MembersFree


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