Tuesday, June 11

The Magic Of King Arthur And Tintagel Castle Cornwall - 21 Exclusive Photos

King Arthur's Tintagel Castle, Cornwall
Tintagel Castle - Kastel Dintagel
The sun was shining, so we headed off in search of King Arthur at Tintagel in Cornwall. Legend has it that King Arthur was conceived and born at the castle.

We live on the south coast of Cornwall so we had to head for the Atlantic north coast and to the village of Tintagel. Once there it was easy to locate the castle, we just followed the signs!


Sign Posts to Tintagel Castle

We found the track leading down towards the sea and the cliffs where the castle was built - on what is virtually an island.

Path leading to The Haven and Tintagel Castle

It's quite a trek along the path but it didn't take us too long to reach the cove called The Haven. It's the cliffs to the left that then have to be climbed to reach the castle. Fortunately steps have now been made to the top, though a bit uneven in parts.

The Haven, Tintagel, Cornwall

But first a glance at Merlin's Cave, of King Arthur fame, at The Haven before ...

Merlin's Cave Tintagel Cornwall

... heading up the steps that hug the cliffs, twisting and turning.

Steps to Tintagel Castle

The views and scenery are very special looking down at The Haven.

Looking back to The Haven Tintagel from the steps

A little out of breath, through the gate and into the castle. The remains which can now be seen are of the castle built in 1233 by Richard Earl of Cornwall. It is said that he built his castle on this spot to link him forever to King Arthur.

Through the gate at King Arthur's Tintagel Castle

The photo below shows what would have been the island courtyard and Great Hall.

Tintagel Castle The Great Hall

Tintagel Castle of King Arthur legend

The north Cornwall coastline stretches out for miles and miles in the sunshine.

View of coast from Tintagel Castle Cornwall

Some dwellings once existed precariously on the grass slopes of the cliffs. The shape of the buildings can still be seen.

Dwellings on cliff side at Tintagel Castle

Even the seagulls enjoy the views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Seagull on Cornish cliffs

High up we came across what looked to be a cave built into the cliff top. It's not known why this was made, but it appears to have been dug with metal tools and may have once been a medieval cold store for perishable foods.

Walking across the Tintagel Castle island we now see the views of the Cornish coastline in the opposite direction.

View of cliffs from Tintagel Castle

We also spot another part of the castle, as pictured below, but a problem ...

Part of Tintagel Castle

... it's necessary to go right down to the ground level again and then up lots and lots more steps to reach the top of the cliffs, that don't make up part of the island.

In the photo below you can see the wooden bridge which links the island to the mainland - and the steps going upwards at both sides.

Steps at Tintagel Castle of King Arthur Legends

But again the great thing about climbing higher is the views - lots of wild flowers on the cliff sides.

Wild flowers on cliffs at Tintagel Castle

It feels good to be surrounded by history and legends for a short while. Did King Arthur really walk these cliffs, along with his Knights of the Round Table - and what about the magician, Merlin - so many mysteries.

Climbing down the steps again The Haven comes into view.

Returning to The Haven Tintagel Cornwall

By the side of the track, leading back to Tintagel village, is a small beach kiosk for teas and refreshment - what a perfect way to spend a day.

Tintagel Castle Beach Cafe

King Arthur and Tintagel

So what are the legends about King Arthur and Tintagel Castle?

As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, it is said King Arthur was conceived and born at the castle, but it's not that straight forward, of course. This is one version of events:

Uther Pendragon was the king of much of England and he got the hots for - I mean he fell in love with Ygerna (or Ygraine or Igraine), wife of Gorlois (or Gerlas), Duke of Cornwall.

At a Feast Day Uther made it clear to Ygerna that he means to have his way with her - in the nicest possible way. This makes her husband a bit miffed, to say the least, so he takes Ygerna to the fortified castle at Tintagel to keep her safe from the clutches of Uther.

So Uther had a problem but Merlin, the magician or wizard, came to his assistance. With a magic spell or two Uther is disguised as Gorlois (that's Ygerna's husband if you haven't been paying attention).

Uther therefore gets access to Ygerna's bedchamber and to her in the biblical sense - and Arthur is conceived.

It seems that Gorlois died, or was killed, shortly after this earth moving event, so Uther and Ygerna got married, thus legalising Arthur's birth.

Alfred, LordTennyson had a much simpler version: In his Idylls of the King, he describes how waves brought the infant Arthur to the shore and Merlin then carried him to safety. Thus the cave at Tintagel has since been associated with Merlin and Arthur.

Tintagel castle and island
The island with Tintagel Castle, Cornwall
Photos: © Mike Perry

See More Cornwall Mysteries on:
10 Mystery Posts About Cornwall

Bookmark and Share


  1. So awesome! I have always planned to visit Ireland, but because of your "walks" Cornwall will be part of that adventure. And now, because of your historical tidbits, I probably know more about Cornwall than my ancestry in Country Cork.

    Of course, there may be an unknown personal connection with Cornwall for me, as others in the family are keepers of the records, because I do know there were some ancestors from the "wrong side of the blanket" and we were a rather prolific bunch...

    1. Cornwall and Ireland are both Celtic so a few similarities - they both have their own languages for example.

  2. Nice walk.
    I'm reading a book called "The Wavewatcher's Companion" which starts off by watching the waves roll in on the Cornwall coastline.
    Good book,too.

    1. The waves are different depending on whether on the Cornish south or north coast. Much rougher on the north and better for surfing.

  3. Amazing pics. I want to go to Tintagel! Looks wonderful and also those King Arthur connections are fascinating. And a sunny day too.

    1. Cornwall is a magical place - in the sunshine. In the rain, not so much.

  4. Stunning! Cornwall is so on my bucket list. You've got dramatic scenery, legends, history, the sea...

  5. Hi Mike, I have LOVED the legend of King Arthur since a young girl....too many years to count LOL. I have this on our Sth England Bucket List. Mike, your photos have made me want to see this all the more. As there are steps, U suppose the secret is to just take it easy, & take plenty water.

    1. Glad you like the photos. The steps are quite steep, but you can take your time if need be. The draw back to the castle is that it's a big tourist attraction so it can get very busy in the main summer months.

  6. As usual, I choose to believe that Arthur did wander the cliffs and ponder his kingdom! What a magnificent place, beautifully photographed!

    1. I would like to think so too. Thanks Ann.

  7. Thoroughly enjoyed this Mike! Beautiful photos and a wonderful read, thank you!

    1. Thank you Pam, appreciate your kind words,

  8. Anonymous20:38

    Kewl photos Bro, along with all the kewl thoughts and info that you put along with them. (^_^)