Tintagel Port Isaac North Cornwall Guide
Tintagel is a small town in Cornwall which is famous for the nearby castle which was the reputed home of King Arthur. The town itself is fairly nondescript but the castle, although a ruin, is spectacular. It is the location of the castle which provides the spectacle. The castle is built on a nearby island of rugged granite cliffs which rise dramatically from the Atlantic Ocean, a wooden bridge provides access to steep narrow steps which are hewn from solid rock, a fortified wall and strong oak gates defend the inner keep of the castle from invaders. The climb is steep and narrow but the view from the top of the cliffs makes it well worth the effort and the modest entrance fee charged by the National Trust.
Below the castle and cliffs is the location of the equally renown Merlin's cave (on the left above) which can be accessed at low tide. Next to the cave is the entrance to a tin mine which was in operation for over 100 years. After the climb to the top of the steps a stout door opens onto the ruins of the main living quarters of the castle. there must have been spectacular views form the lounge but it was an awful long way to fill up the coal bucket! The top of the site is mostly flat with many rocky outcrops not much good for crops but probably OK for grazing sheep and goats. They even had a fridge/ freezer up there - yes really! The far end of the site offers great views along the coast - to the west is Port Isaac Bay and to the east lies Bude Bay.
At the bottom of the site you will find a cafe, toilets, shop and exhibitions all run by the National Trust. There are plenty of hotels and B & Bs in the town itself and there is one large imposing hotel on the clifftops overlooking the site - it is called Camelot, somewhat optimistically you may think!
Site of Tintagel Castle ruins Landward part of castle
Port Isaac lies around 5 miles west of Tintagel along the B3314, it is a small fishing village situated overlooking a natural harbour within the surrounding cliffs. The village is picturesque and a favourite location for photographers and tourists alike. At low tide you can walk among the boats almost to the harbour entrance, a huge wall on either side of the opening protect the harbour form the Atlantic swells. It is quite a steep walk down to the harbour where there is hardly any parking spaces. The upper car park is large but at least half a mile from the harbour. There is another small car park on the road to Port Gaverne, which is only around a mile away form port Isaac. As luck would have it there is an excellent pasty shop at the bottom of the hill and a pub overlooking the harbour so you can fortify yourself for the walk to Port Gaverne and the slog uphill to the top car park. But the trip is well worth the effort to see a fairly unspoilt Cornish village. The South West Coast Path runs along the cliffs leading to Padstow, 5 miles to the west and Tintagel, 5 miles to the east. Port Isaac became well known in the 1970s as the location for the TV series Poldark. There is a good sandy beach at Port Gaverne which is a very long cove and is well sheltered from the sea.
Port Isaac village Port Isaac harbour
Boscastle - scene of a recent flooding incident but now full restored.
Crackington Haven - another National Trust site.
Map of Tintagel
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