Tintagel is a Cornish village shrouded in legends and mystic tales.
Many will associate Tintagel with King Arthur and, perhaps, Merlin’s Cave. However, the village has more than a few strings to its bow. Apart from legend-related attractions, you’ll find museums and countless National Trust sites – both natural and manmade. There are plenty of things to do in Tintagel!
Here’s a guide to ten things for our Tintagel itinerary.
Tintagel Castle is widely considered the biggest attraction of the village.
The castle’s history dates back to the 5th century AD and is written as the place of King Arthur’s conception. Throughout the centuries, powerful rulers have taken Tintagel for their own, mostly tempted by the same legends that draw tourists today.
Interestingly, Tintagel Castle is split between the mainland and headland and joined by a footbridge. The split means there are essentially two sites to explore, so allow at least an hour to take in the castle ruins.
Nowadays, visitors can tour Tintagel Castle ruins for £16 per adult, £14.40 per concession, and £9.60 per child. I would advise coinciding visiting Tintagel Castle with good weather, as the site is exposed to the elements and on a breezy clifftop. Otherwise, embrace the wild weather but wrap up warm and prepared.
Just under Tintagel Castle, a 330-foot-long sea cave is rumoured to have been the home of Merlin, the legendary sorcerer.
You can easily combine a visit to the Castle with Merlin’s Cave, adding it as a free detour only minutes away. Make sure to check Tintagel tide times and visit at low tide to guarantee time to explore the cave.
Also, keep an eye out for a carving of Merlin’s face! Could it be proof?
Tintagel Castle Bridge
In Tintagel Castle’s hay day, the Mainland and Headland were joined by a footbridge. However, this bridge was lost between the 14th and 17th centuries. It wasn’t until 2019 that English Heritage constructed a new bridge so modern visitors could recreate the experience.
While the Tintagel Castle Bridge is accessible via a Tintagel Castle entrance ticket, it has a story of its own that I believe makes it an attraction in its own right. Plus, the views while crossing are unbelievable!
Taste a pasty from Pengenna Pasties
You cannot visit Cornwall without trying a Cornish pasty. It’s a rule.
Pengenna Pasties has been baking since 1985 and prides itself on ‘original family recipes’. The bakery sits on the end of Fore Street, which acts as Tintagel’s main street. And, whether you want to eat in or takeaway, it provides versatile dining options.
Choose from six pasty fillings, including vegetarian and vegan. I’d recommend sampling the traditional steak or cheese and onion pasty – what better way to warm up after exploring Tintagel Castle?
Of course, you can also keep it classic with cream tea. In this case, though, allow yourself at least an hour to soak up the ambiance.
Tintagel Toy Museum
For a serious blast of nostalgia and inner child indulgence, the Toy Museum is one of the best things to do in Tintagel.
The museum is free to enter, and you can browse Geoff Cann’s personal (extremely extensive) collection at leisure. The Tintagel Toy Museum buys and sells collectable toys, so you have the option to leave with heavier or lighter pockets. However, even those who aren’t enthusiasts will enjoy the eclectic display.
You’ll spot ancient dolls, car and tractor toys, and an assortment of vintage magazines and children’s books.
Tintagel Old Post Office
Speaking of nostalgia, Tintagel Old Post Office is the epitome of old English living and community.
The Post Office was built as a farmhouse in the 1300s, passing hands throughout the Medieval period until becoming a village post office in recent centuries. The building retired from its postal duties before the 20th century, drastically needing repairs.
The National Trust and local community embarked on incredible maintenance work, with the property winning an award for ‘building conservation’. Nowadays, visitors can explore Tintagel’s Old Post Office and immerse themselves in old English architecture.
The property is full of character, still featuring unique elements like the red diamond on the fireplace rug – believed to scare the Devil back up the chimney.
Have a swim at Tintagel Haven
The saying might be “When in Rome”, but when in Cornwall, you need to prioritise beach days. Luckily, there are a few beach options around Tintagel.
Tintagel Haven is a ridiculously scenic beach to relax on and go for a swim. Visitors to Tintagel Haven have the castle, bridge, Merlin’s Cave, and a clifftop waterfall as a backdrop. The beach’s proximity to Tintagel’s major attractions also makes it an easy addition to your itinerary.
You will have to calculate tides, though, as Tintagel Haven disappears completely at high tide. If you miscalculate tides, don’t worry too much though, as you can drive to Trebarwith Beach in less than 10-minutes.
St Materiana’s Church
Picture a windswept Medieval, clifftop church, and you won’t be far off picturing St Materiana’s.
The church gets its name from Saint Materiana, a Welsh Saint, and is built in an aesthetic Norman style. Visitors are also welcome to explore the church interior, as long as their visits don’t clash with service times.
To admire the architecture and wander amongst the tombstones, you’ll have to hike around ten minutes up Vicarage Hill from the centre of Tintagel. Alternatively, make the clifftop hike from Tintagel Castle, following the Southwest Coastal Path for less than ten minutes.
Trek the Southwest Coast Path to Benoath Cove
Fancy a slightly longer clifftop hike? Follow the Southwest Coastal Path North for 1.5 miles, heading to Benoath Cove.
You’ll pass natural landmarks like Barras Nose, North Tintagel Boulders, and Bossiney Cove before arriving at Benoath Cove. At Benoath Cove, make a steep climb down to the beach and reward yourself with a swim.
After a swim, the Bossiney Tea Room is a short walk away for some well-earned refreshments. Then, return via country lanes to Tintagel in a fifteen-minute walk.
Of course, those wanting a longer hike can continue as far as they’d like – the Southwest Coastal Path follows the entire Cornish coastline!
Grab a dessert and coffee from The Beach Cafe
When you’re reading for a bite to eat, The Beach Café is the place to go for dessert and coffee.
Just behind Tintagel Haven Beach, The Beach Café serves traditional Cornish dishes with fresh, locally sourced produce. But, even more excitingly, the café is in a refurbished mining office.
Diners can enjoy an industrial interior with exposed beams, slate floors, and plenty of black and white photographs to recreate the café’s past life.
Tintagel is a beautiful village and one of Cornwall’s (and England’s) best places to visit. From the preserved Old Post Office to the mine-turned Beach Café, there is a huge local push towards natural and historical conservation. To experience Cornish pride and community, you won’t find many places better!
Got any more suggestions of things to do in Tintagel? Feel free to drop suggestions in the comments below.