In western Cornwall, hidden amongst the cliffs that rise above the beautiful blue sea, are the ruins of Tintagel Castle.
Little remains of this proud fortress nowadays, but there is one thing it still has in abundance: stories and legends.
With roots to famous kings of history and mythology (including Arthur Pendragon himself), this is easily one of the most romantic and epic castles in the whole of England.
Castle on the cliff
There has been a castle here for over a thousand years.
In the 5th-century, it was an important port in trading routes to the Mediterranean Sea, and Cornish kings would probably have lived here, decorating their rooms with the same luxurious Mediterranean pottery that excavations have unearthed beneath the ruins.
Back then, this place would have been a staggering sight to the sailors who came here, with its mighty keep ascending from the wild, rugged mound that it balanced upon.
The image of the kings who lived in this mesmerising fortress was as inspiring centuries ago as it is now: it inspired Geoffrey of Monmouth, one of the writers who developed the Legend of King Arthur, who decided Tintagel Castle should be the birthplace of this legendary character.
It’s thought that incorporating this myth into the story of this place is what led to the Earl of Cornwall purchasing this land and building the castle as we know it today.
A mythical adventure
Part of Tintagel Castle is built on mainland Cornwall, while the rest can be found on an island. A modern footbridge will take you to the island, but take a moment to appreciate the view of the lovely beaches and striking cliffs below before you get there.
As you reach the other side, you’ll be greeted by the imposing remains of buildings like the Great Hall, where lords and ladies would have merrily feasted together during the days of kingdoms and knights.
While you're on the island, spare the time to meet Gallos, a stunning statue of a heroic figure (no doubt supposed to bear some resemblance to King Arthur himself) that serves as a monument to the history and myths that surround this place.
If the tide is out, you can also take the stairs down to the sandy beach at the foot of the island and find Merlin’s Cave.
This cave is built into the side of the cliff, and is said to be the place where the powerful wizard practiced his magic. Just try not to get too distracted soaking in the sunny southern weather or paddling in the rock pools!
Whether its to immerse yourself in the rich mythology and history, or just to soak in the views of one of the most staggeringly beautiful castles in the UK, Tintagel Castle is definitely not somewhere to be missed.