When we visited Cornwall last Spring we were tantalizing close to the village of Tintagel. We had so much to cram in that week with friends, that we never got closer than seeing the road signs. This year, I was determined to rectify that matter. We arrived in Cornwall early one Saturday morning and decided it was perfect timing for me to relive some memories and create some new one. I’d be revisiting Tintagel Castle 20 years on with my 6 year old Monkey in tow.
Tintagel is on the coast of North Cornwall, not far from Padstow and well worth a visit. There’s a large pay and display car park in the centre of the village, we parked up and followed the signs down to the main entrance to the castle. It’s a little step, but there is a shuttle service for those who would prefer to be driven up and down.
I have two abiding memories of my first visit to Tintagel Castle from all those years ago, one of beautifully clear sea and the other of a rickety staircase linking one part of the site to the other. The latter didn’t provide the happiest of memories, but I’d seen photos of the site in more recent times and knew that that staircase was long gone.
Having English Heritage membership is a great bonus in Cornwall, as there are so many castles dotted around the county. We picked up an activity sheet for Monkey and headed off to explore. He’s old enough now that he can understand that ruins were once something rather wonderful and we work out together what castle rooms might once have looked like.
Monkey hadn’t heard about King Arthur before so I told him the little I knew and we talked about the landscape and how the castle must have towered above the cliff tops in days gone by.
The sea was unbelievably calm on our visit, there was no wind at all either. The sea looked more like a lake as we looked down at the hidden coves.
The pathways and staircases were certainly much sturdier and child friendly revisiting Tintagel Castle 20 years on! They didn’t faze Monkey at all.
There are information points around the site, making it easier for children to understand the layout of the rooms and functions. Monkey loved exploring and took in every piece of information provided. There were staircases to climb and doorways to walk through. Plenty of adventures to be had.
Of course any great Arthurian explorer needs to take a break every so often and there were plenty of places to just sit, admire the view and watch the world go round.
The cliff top walks offered stunning views of the Cornish coast and the wider Castle settlement. It really must have been something to behold in the days of old.
I have to admit to getting a little anxious on clifftop walk with Monkey. I’m so much more aware of the dangers now I’m a Mum, so I put Daddy P in charge, in the hope that Monkey doesn’t pick up on my fears.
They strode off together in search of smuggling ships and invaders from foreign lands.
Revisiting Tintagel Castle 20 years on was the perfect way to begin our Cornish holiday. A great place to let off steam, soak up the history and admire the views. We even bumped into King Arthur.