Most visitors on a cottage holiday head to Tintagel for a visit to one of Cornwall’s most iconic ruins, the stronghold of the Earls of Cornwall that is Tintagel castle. Perched on rocks high above the Atlantic swell, Tintagel was hewn out of the rock in the thirteenth century and has been shrouded ever since in popular myth and legend. Reputedly birthplace of King Arthur, and with a long and colourful history, the dramatic location certainly lends itself to the wilds of the imagination. Get a feel for the mystery and history of the fortress at the visitor centre before heading up the coastal path to seek out the real thing, including the waves crashing into Merlin’s cave, which is cut off twice daily by tides. The village of Tintagel itself has a couple of attractions worth a visit en route; the old Post Office is set in a traditional fourteenth century Cornish long house, and has been restored to its former state, as a post office of the Victorian era. King Arthur’s Great Halls, built in the early twentieth century by a London grocer, attempts to recreate the grand court of King Arthur, complete with guided tour and laser shows depicting the deeds of the famous Knights, a granite throne, the round table and other memorabilia from Arthurian legend. At low tide, Trebarwith Strand offers a superb sandy beach two miles south of Tintagel, whilst the rest of this coastline is rugged and largely unspoiled, making it ideal for competent walkers to enjoy.
Boscastle, some five miles from Tintagel, hit the headlines in 2004 when it was devastated by severe flooding. Since then, much reconstruction and erecting of flood defences has taken place and remains ongoing, but long before the village hit the national radar it had been a popular day trip for those holidaying in the north Cornwall and Devon areas. A delightful medieval, unspoilt harbour village, complemented by pretty whitewashed, thatched cottages, it is little wonder such an idyllic spot enjoys designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty status, and is now largely under the protection of the National Trust.
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