Tintagel Travel Guide

Diary, Seaside , 26 May 2014

The Photo Diary / Tintagel

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Last weekend I pulled back the curtains at the Mill House Inn to find it was a gloriously sunny day. Those of you who live in England will know that seeing a sky unblemished by clouds is a rare treat indeed. For such a day to fall on a weekend when you just happen to be by the seaside? Almost unheard of.

Yellow Dickens & Jones Broderie Anglaise Yellow Dress

Fortune had favoured me on two counts – not only was it as balmy a day as England can offer, but I also had a yellow Dickens & Jones sundress to hand as an option for the wedding I had attended the day before in Cornwall. On it went and out I went.

The Strand Cafe, Trebarwith Strand Review

The Strand Cafe /

First things first: food. My dress, my husband and I popped to the Strand Cafe on Trebarwith Strand Beach for a spot of brunch. It was my second visit to the little seaside cafe; I’d sniffed it out as a good egg the day before on account of the organic and homemade food on the menu. After a freshly squeezed orange juice, seeded salad and sweet potato and lime soup, the beach beckoned.

Trebarwith Strand, Cornwall

Trebarwith Strand /

A long – 800m to be precise – sandy beach, Trebarwith Strand is the stuff of my childhood dreams (complete with fantastical backdrop of cliffs and caves). As I’d packed poorly and neglected to bring a towel for the beach, the warm rocks dotted along the beach provided a handy place on which to recline while I read. Comfortable rocks aside, this beach is a must-visit if you are in Cornwall, particularly if you’re keen on sports – I am reliably informed that this is the beach for a little surf if you’re so inclined.

The Old Post Office, Tintagel

Steep Steps in the Old Post Office, Tintagel

The Old Post Office /

After an hour or so, it was time to see a little of the extraordinary history of Tintagel so we decided to head over to the Old Post Office. The 14th century yeoman’s farmhouse that is now a National Trust museum, this is a small, though densely-packed, house that has been adapted throughout its history to suit the owners’ needs prior to the National Trust taking over.

Example of a medieval kitchen at the old post office, tintagel

Thanks to this rich history, it’s a smorgasbord of curiosities, from a cradle dating back to the 1600s and vertiginous steps leading up to a shelf on which spinsters would sleep (hence ‘on the shelf’). Unfortunately for the arachnophobe in me, during a visit to said shelf I looked up to find a spider of enormous proportions hovering over my head. Were I a spinster in days of yore it would’ve taken some convincing to get me back onto the shelf for the duration of an evening after a sighting of that chap.

The Old Post Office, Tintagel

Tintagel Castle /

Said spider gave me a much-needed incentive to leave the post office and embark on the walk to Tintagel Castle, the reputed birthplace of King Arthur. After an extremely steep descent to the cove, I was rewarded with a tantalising glimpse of what was to come.

Tintagel Water

Tintagel Castle

While I expected to see ruins and a view of the ocean, I was not prepared for the sheer splendour of the castle that sits on its own island overlooking the sea. Following yet another taxing walk – this time up a number of wooden stairs that lead up to the castle – I felt somewhat overwhelmed by what sat atop the island.

Tintagel Castle

Tintagel Castle

The remains of the castle and dark age stone houses were utterly captivating, particularly when juxtaposed with the timeless and seemingly endless ocean that was visible over the jutting headlands. Though walking around the island could be done in a mere hour, we took our time, drinking in the sights from different vantage points. In truth, I was also slightly trepidatious of the exhausting walk back – my advice to those of you who would like to visit Tintagel Castle is to wear sensible shoes, bring water and prepare to be out of puff at times.

Merlin's Cave, Tintagel

Tintagel Castle

Tintagel Castle

Madeleine Spencer in Tintagel

Face Painting, Ice Cream & Cider /

Though I could’ve stayed for hours enjoying the view and avoiding the walk, a post-wedding gathering was imminent. After a little ice cream (it’s Cornwall – to go without would’ve been a silly act of deprivation), off to the party it was. The married couple had asked a face painter called Andrea Child along and I, of course, plopped myself in front of her a the first given opportunity. Andrea expertly painted my face to match the dress that had served me so well throughout the warm day. After that I spent the night under the stars with a cider feeling rather pleased with life indeed.

Andrea Child Face Painting Madeleine Spencer

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