Looking for the best things to do in Tintagel, Cornwall? You’ve come to the right place! In this guide, I share all the must-see Tintagel attractions alongside all of my top tips for visiting.
If you’re looking for unique locations to visit in Cornwall, Tintagel should be at the top of your list.
Before our road trip around Cornwall, we hadn’t even heard of Tintagel. However, it ended up being one of the highlights of our trip.
An unassuming village steeped in history & legend, we fell in love with its mysterious nature and cinematic landscapes.
Many visitors come on a day trip to see the famous Tintagel Castle, unaware of all the other Tintagel attractions worth sticking around.
So let’s jump into it and look at all the best things to do in Tintagel.
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Things to do in Tintagel - 12 Epic Attractions
You can jump on ahead if you’re looking to get to the best things to do in Tintagel. But otherwise, here are some valuable tips ahead of visiting.
Getting to Tintagel
You’ll find Tintagel on the Northern Coast of Cornwall.
It’s around a 40-minute drive from Padstow, 50-minutes from Newquay, and 35-minutes from Bodmin.
If you’re driving around Cornwall, keep in mind that many of the roads are narrow country lanes.
This likely won’t cause too much trouble if you’re coming by car. Although, in a campervan or a larger vehicle, you might find some areas tricky to navigate.
We had a few hairy moments when driving our campervan in Cornwall. But so long as you take it easy on the roads, you’ll be just fine.
If you want to avoid the roads, coaches run from most major cities around the UK, and there are trains from Paddington to several stations in Cornwall.
Best Time to Visit Tintagel
To fully enjoy all that Tintagel has to offer, you’ll want to visit when it’s warm and dry.
Any time between late May to mid-September offers a fair chance of good weather.
But, this is the UK, so we must always prepare for wet and rainy days.
July & August tend to be the hottest and driest months in Cornwall. But since this is also when the kids are off school, most places get busier and more expensive.
We visited Tintagel in September, just after the school holidays. It was relatively busy but not unbearably so, and the weather was perfect!
Getting Around Tintagel
Tintagel itself is relatively compact, so you can easily get to most of the attractions on this list on foot.
Having said that, the rugged coastal landscapes might be a challenge for less abled visitors. There are lots of steeps hills and uneven surfaces.
To get to some of the other things to do near Tintagel, you’ll need to use your car or public transport.
The 595 bus takes you to Wadebridge or Bude, where you can make connections to other popular locations in Cornwall.
Parking in Tintagel
There are various pay and display car parks in Tintagel village, and pricing is very reasonable.
Most also allow overnight parking, which is great if you have a motorhome or campervan.
On the higher end of the scale, you’re looking at around £4-5 for the day or £8-10 for an overnight stay.
However, we found a gem of a spot on the far end of Atlantic Road that was just £3 for the day and £5 overnight. (Cash only in an honesty box)
Where to Stay in Tintagel
If you’re camping in Tintagel, I highly recommend the parking spot I mentioned above.
Not only is it super cheap, but it’s close to all the top things to do in Tintagel and boasts stunning coastal views.
While there are no facilities in the car park, it’s just a 5-minute walk to town and public toilets.
Otherwise, you can use the map below to find and compare local accommodations in the area.
Things to do in Tintagel
Now for the exciting part! Time to look at all the interesting and fun things to do in and around Tintagel.
1. Tintagel Castle
It makes sense to kick off the list with Tintagel’s most famous attraction – Tintagel Castle.
Safeguarded by English Heritage, this historical site is one of great fascination. It’s a place where history meets legend and nature meets art.
From the early medieval buildings and dramatic scenery to its literary fame as King Arthur’s birthplace, there’s a lot to get excited about when exploring Tintagel castle.
Wandering the grounds feels like a real adventure, and you can’t help but sense a touch of magic and mystery in the air.
One of the highlights for us was crossing over the footbridge to the island. With cinematic coastline all around, you get a sense of what it was like all those centuries ago.
My only peeve about visiting the castle is that it’s pretty expensive. At £14.50 for adults and £8.70 for children, it can soon add up for families.
For history buffs who want to get closer to the ruins and the island’s history, the price tag is undoubtedly worth it.
But, if it’s more the scenery you’re interested in, you can get equally great views along the SW Coastal Path.
One other thing worth noting is that the castle gets very busy during peak times, so booking in advance is recommended.
2. Secret Beach & Merlins Cave
Beneath the cliffscape of Tintagel Castle lay a secret beach and, more importantly, the entrance to Merlins Cave.
Merlin was a prominent character in the Arthurian Tales. Legend has it that he was the wizard responsible for King Arthurs’s conception.
Not in your typical birds and the bees kinda way, though, more by magic and sorcery means.
You can visit the secret beach and Merlins cave during low tide. At high tide, both can barely be seen.
The best part is, they are completely free to visit! Many think you need a ticket to visit Merlins Cave, but that’s not the case at all.
Just before you cross over the footbridge to the island, there’s a pathway that leads down to the beach. It’s pretty steep and uneven, though, so take extra care.
3. Barras Nose
For equally fantastic views as those on the island, I recommend the short walk to Barras Nose viewpoint.
This spot can be an excellent alternative for those on a budget since you can see over to the island. Even if it is at a distance.
The walk is perhaps only 10-15 minutes from the castle footbridge; however, expect to want to take plenty of photos on route.
We also discovered that Barras Nose is the perfect spot to watch the sunset.
4. Coastal Walk
The spectacular views don’t end there.
Continue the coastal path for as long as your feet will allow for some of the most dramatic coastlines in all of the UK.
We walked from Tintagel to Rocky Valley. An utterly enchanting route encountering craggy coastline, sandy beaches, hidden coves, and old ruins.
Nonetheless, it’s a rough and rugged path, with steep climbs and uneven terrain. Please take extra care when navigating, and I would recommend avoiding high winds.
5. Bossiney Cove
Along the coastal path on route to Rocky Valley, we came across Bossiney Cove.
A beautiful secluded beach with dazzling golden sand, it was the perfect spot to stop and take a breather.
The route down to this beach is rather precarious in places. Although there are ropes in place to make descending and ascending easier.
You’ll also want to plan your visit for when it’s low tide, as the beach gets submerged in water at high tide.
6. Rocky Valley
We concluded our coastal walk at Rocky Valley, where a river meanders its way out to sea.
Follow the river along into the valley, and you’ll end up in a beautiful wooded glen.
Here is a truly beautiful place to explore, with rock pools, mini waterfalls, various trails, and even some old ruins and carvings.
If you don’t want to walk the coastal path, nearby parking is opposite Trevillet Mill Holiday Cottages.
7. St. Materiana's Church
In the opposite direction along the coastal path from Tintagel is St. Materiana’s Church.
Perched high atop Glebe Cliff, the church sits in a scenic location with a picturesque graveyard and interesting history.
The church dates back to the 11th century, and several noteworthy memorials tell the story of its past.
If you find yourself with time to spare, you won’t regret visiting this calm and beautiful spot.
8. King Arthurs's Halls
If you’re keen to learn more about the legend of King Arthur, you can’t miss a tour of King Arthur’s Halls.
On the outside, the halls don’t look like much. You might be tempted to give it a miss – But don’t!
It’s a truly magnificent place to walk around, from the theatrical decor and stained glass windows to the great hall and its huge granite throne.
Not only that, there’s a wonderful opening light show that tells the Arthurian legend in a thoroughly enjoyable and creative way.
I highly recommend this place as one of the best things to do in Tintagel – especially with little ones!
9. The Old Post Office
Continuing with the whimsical feel of the town, we have The Old Post Office.
A charming topsy-turvy building from the 14th century, the wonky structure appears to belong in a fairy tale.
It’s made even more impressive by the landscaped gardens, and it really stands out as you walk through the village.
Unfortunately, we were too late to book a tour of the inside; however, I’m sure it would be worth doing if the exterior is anything to go by.
10. Tintagel Village
One of our favourite things to do in Tintagel was to simply meander around the village.
Especially in the mornings before the crowds, you really get to appreciate the quaintness and charm of the town.
We adored the quirky little shops selling all kinds of interesting souvenirs. The local bakeries serving delicious baked goods. And, of course, the various traditional pubs that scatter the town.
I know I’ve said it before, but Tintagel feels like something out of a fairy tale. I know I will return time and time again.
11. St Nectan's Glen
Beautiful St Nectan’s Glen should not be missed off your list of things to do in Tintagel.
A stunning woodland trail running alongside a sleepy river, it’s an idyllic spot where you can relax and connect with nature.
If you’re lucky, you might even spot a fairy or two!
The reward at the end of the glen is a magnificent waterfall that many believe to be sacred. You’ll find colourful ribbons, crystals, and stone piles that visitors leave as offerings.
The glen is located a short 5-minute drive out of town, or you can also get there on foot via scenic public footpaths.
Ask in the village for directions on foot, as the road is dangerous to walk on.
12. The Cornish Bakery
For such a small village, I was surprised to find so many lovely places to eat in Tintagel.
Since we cook most nights in the van, we didn’t try as many places as I would have liked.
However, we did grab a pastie from the Cornish Bakery, which was absolutely delicious!
With lovely light and fluffy pastry with a generous helping of filling, it was up there as one of the best we’ve had! Perfect for a light lunch or afternoon snack.
Enjoy These Things to do in Tintagel!
That concludes our list of must-see attractions in Tintagel. I hope you’ve found it helpful and that you have a wonderful time exploring.
We love hearing from you! If you have any questions or feel that we’ve missed anything, don’t hesitate to leave us a comment in the comment section.
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Stay adventurous and happy travels.