Tintagel Castle Summary
- Address: Tintagel, PL34 0HE (Map)
- Tel: +44 (0)1840 770328
- Owner: English Heritage
- Administrator: Visitor Operations Team
- E-mail: Click here to contact
Tintagel Castle Description
With its spectacular location on one of England’s most dramatic coastlines, Tintagel is one of the most awe-inspiring and romantic spots in Britain. It is also a place of legends.
Joined to the mainland by a narrow neck of land, Tintagel Island faces the full force of the Atlantic. On the mainland itself, the gaunt remains of the medieval castle, thought to date from the second quarter of the 13th century, represent only one phase in a long history of occupation. Even before Richard, Earl of Cornwall, built his castle, Tintagel had come to be associated with King Arthur, as the great legendary warrior leader’s birthplace. The legend, depicted in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s fabulous History (written c. 1139), has lived on.
After a period as a Roman settlement and military outpost, Tintagel is thought to have been the stronghold of a Celtic king during the fifth and sixth centuries. Nearby an early Christian church stands on the site of what may have been a cemetery for important men.
Legend has it that one of the important men connected with Tintagel may have been King Mark, whose nephew Tristan fell in love with Isolt (or Isolde). Their doomed romance is part of Tintagel’s story, as are Geoffrey of Monmouth’s tales, in which Uther Pendragon, aided by Merlin, seduced Queen Igraine at Tintagel. Tintagel’s Arthurian connection was later renewed by Alfred, Lord Tennyson in his Idylls of the King.
The remains of the 13th century castle are breathtaking. Steep stone steps, stout walls and rugged windswept cliff edges encircle the Great Hall, where Richard, Earl of Cornwall, may once have feasted. The emphasis at Tintagel is always on the word ‘may’, as it has so many legends and unanswered questions as well as an amazing capacity to surprise us, even after years of investigation.
In June 1998, excavation works were undertaken under the overall direction of Professor Chris Morris of the University of Glasgow on a relatively sheltered and small site on the eastern side of the island, first excavated in the 1930s. Pottery from the 5th and 6th centuries AD was found, as well as some fine glass fragments believed to be from 6th or 7th century Malaga and, even more remarkably, a 1500-year-old piece of slate on which remain two Latin inscriptions. One has remnants of at least four letters, although it is impossible at the moment to say what this represents. The second reads: ‘Artognou, father of a descendant of Coll, has had [this] made’. Who exactly Artognou may have been continues to be a subject for lively speculation.
Opening Times - 2012
- 1st - 31st March: Saturday - Sunday, 10 am - 4 pm
- 1st April - 30th September: daily, 10 am - 6 pm
- 1st October - 4th November: daily, 10 am - 5 pm
- 5th November - 17th February: Saturday - Sunday, 10 am - 4 pm
- Open Bank Holidays
- Closed: 24th - 26th December & 31st December - 1st January
Admission Prices - 2012
- Adult - £5.70
- Child (5 - 15 years) - £3.40
- Concession - £5.10
- Family (2+3) - £14.80
- Groups (11+) - 15% discount
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Additional Info for Tintagel Castle
- Open All Year
- Dogs allowed
- Live Entertainment
- Car Parking
- English Heritage
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