Nestled within the rugged cliffs of North Cornwall, lies an enchanting place filled with tales of King Arthur and ancient Celtic history – Tintagel Castle. This magical spot is well worth a visit for any van-life enthusiast seeking both awe-inspiring landscapes and the tranquillity of coastal paths.
Getting to Tintagel Castle is quite simple. The most common mode of transport is by road, making it a straightforward destination for those living the van-life. From the A30, one of the major routes that traverse Cornwall, you can follow the B3263 directly into the heart of Tintagel. There’s also a good local bus service in the area if you’re planning a day trip without your van.
The castle itself is perched majestically on the island-like headland, offering breathtaking vistas of the Atlantic. It’s the perfect backdrop for those keen on photography. You can immortalise the dramatic contrast between the lush green cliffs and the sparkling azure waters in a single snap.
Walking towards the castle, you’ll be greeted by the life-size bronze statue of King Arthur known as “Gallos”, meaning power in ancient Cornish. This imposing figure is a must-see landmark and a favourite among photographers.
While the castle’s ruins tell stories of a bygone era, the newly installed Tintagel Bridge is an architectural marvel, providing an amazing juxtaposition of old and new. As you walk across the bridge, be ready to capture some remarkable panoramic shots of the coastline and the castle.
For those who enjoy a good stroll, there are plenty of walks around Tintagel Castle. The South West Coast Path, which runs right through Tintagel, is a particular favourite. It offers unrivalled views of the castle and stretches of the Cornish coastline. A shorter walk, the Glebe Cliff Walk, starts from the parish church of St Materiana, leading you along the cliff tops with numerous vantage points to photograph the stunning scenery below.
And for a unique coastal view, take the path down to Merlin’s Cave, a full sea-through cave located at the base of the castle cliffs. According to Arthurian legend, this was the dwelling of the mythical wizard Merlin, further adding a sense of mystery and charm to your visit.
The area surrounding Tintagel is also rich in history and natural beauty. Visit the Old Post Office, a 14th-century yeoman’s farmhouse, now run by the National Trust. For nature lovers, the nearby Rocky Valley and St Nectan’s Glen offer idyllic woodland walks with opportunities to spot local wildlife and beautiful waterfalls.
Interesting facts? Well, did you know that archaeological discoveries from recent years have provided evidence that Tintagel was once a significant royal site with links to the Kingdom of Dumnonia during the Roman period? And contrary to popular belief, the castle was not built by King Arthur but by Richard, Earl of Cornwall in the 13th century, who was inspired by the Arthurian legends associated with the site.
In conclusion, Tintagel Castle is a gem for those in search of history, natural beauty and a touch of mystery. Its stunning landscapes provide endless photographic opportunities, while its tales and legends ignite the imagination. A visit to Tintagel is an unforgettable journey into the heart of Cornwall’s heritage, providing a unique and captivating experience for all van-lifers and photography enthusiasts.
So, why wait? Pack your camera, charge up your van, and embark on a magical journey to Tintagel Castle.
Castle Road, Tintagel PL34 0HE