Cornwall is an area known for many tales, especially the legendary King Arthur. Thanks to my son loving the TV series Merlin, I’ve become interested in Arthur’s tale. This getaway is one that I would love to do again. I am not one for revisiting places, so that say’s a lot. In this three-day mini-holiday, I zigzagged from Tintagel to St. Mawes to Falmouth to Saint Michael’s Mount to Lands End.
On our way to Tintagel, my friend and I stopped briefly at Exeter, England. Some of the ruins here include a Roman fortress that was built around AD 50 and if the inside of the Cathedral is as impressive as the outside, then wow! Exeter is worth closer investigation.
This Cathedral has faces all over it. I mean – all over. It’s a very interesting piece of architecture.
The central area has been refurbished, since bombs were dropped during WWII in 1942.
Legend or Fact? I don’t know the truth, nor does it matter to me. I chose to believe King Arthur was real, but perhaps Merlin’s story is a tad embellished.
Passing Slaughter bridge, you will see The Arthurian Centre on the right. The small information center will satisfy your thirst for knowledge about Camelot and King Arthur. Plan on an hour, unless you have to read everything and watch the documentary.
Follow the trail down to the river and you can look down at King Arthur’s Stone c540 A.D. It’ll take about fifteen minutes to walk to the river.
Is that proof or what!
Famished, we stopped to eat crab sandwiches and walk the small village.
If you’re into witchcraft, you’re in for a treat. The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic is here; we didn’t enter, it would take longer than we wanted. Arthur’s Tintagel was our focus point.
The birth place of King Arthur.
Tintagel Castle is believed to have been built upon the ruins of the castle where Arthur was born.
Our beautiful day turned violent by the time we cruised into town. Drat! So much for our day of exploring.
We booked a nights stay at the Camelot Hotel and were not disappointed with the room, view and the hotel itself. The service at the restaurant, on the other hand, was absolutely horrible. I won’t go into the long story. Let’s just say it took 2 hours after placing our fish and chip order for it to arrive and another hour after that for our dessert. We played the “how long will it take” game, before breaking down and inquiring. We were the first to arrive and nearly the last to leave (at closing). Lucky for them, and us, we were satisfied with our perch for the night drinking Guinness and watching the turbulent ocean and then the sunset. If you’re wondering why we didn’t go somewhere else to eat, well the wind blew so hard it ripped the car door almost off its hinges when it was opened (the inside handle came off in hand), giving us no desire to leave the hotel.
Being up early is usually a good thing, not so much in Tintagel. None of the sights were accessible until late morning, even the castle. We walked there anyway, hopped the railing and went up the staircase, but once we were topside, we came face to face with an access door that was locked. Bummer. So close, yet so far. There’s not much left of the castle, so with the exception for it being built on top of the ruins of Arthur’s castle, it was not something that we hadn’t seen before. After a while, these barely there castles start to look-alike.
Merlin’s cave is found in this cove. During low tide it is accessible.
We stayed in St Mawes, which is a ferry ride across from Falmouth. It’s a quiet little village, since they don’t cater to tourist. With that said, we had a great evening there, even with the downpour of rain. We sat inside enjoying our meal, while we watched people standing soaking wet, waiting for their fish and chips – that’s completely nuts! They must be something spectacular.
It’s free to enter the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth, where also the Pendennis Castle is (also free) that was built by Henry VIII.
The fort is brought to life by animation.
Saint Michael’s Mount
Tip of the day, get here first thing in the morning; this place gets packed. St Michael’s Mount is one of forty-three tidal islands. We arrived during high tide and took a boat across, which left shore ten minutes early. Lucky us, we had no wait (when we came back the wait was about 40 minutes). The boats run continuously until the tide gets too low. During low tide, you walk to the island via causeway. If you look in the first photo below, you can see a person ‘walking on water’. He started out, but had to turn back and wait.
As with a lot of the Cornwall area, here too tales are told. In the 12th century, the story of Tristan and Isolde claims the hermit Ogrin came to Saint Michael’s Mount to purchase clothes and such for Queen Isolde.
The Mount has an interesting history; a trading post during the Iron Age, a chapel, an abbey, a fort and a residence.
In 1044, Edward the Confessor founded the chapel. William the Conqueror came in 1066. In the 12th century the Mount became a fortress, by John, brother to King Richard I. Have you heard of the War of the Roses? Well, this is the fortress used during that time and when the Cornish Rebellion came along.
The St Aubyn family, the owners who acquired it in 1650, still live in sections of the castle. The National Trust took over the estate in 1964, I’m sure due to the expensive upkeep (it’s what usually happens), giving the family a lease to live there ninety-nine years rent free.
It was amazing how many people walked right past without noticing this picture frame with Napoleon artifacts, Hello! it’s Napoleon … and they weren’t even on their phones. Come on people, it’s a lock of hair, letter and material from his uniform, that’s worth a glance 😉
A small community still lives on the island. I would imagine that consist of the caretakers.
It’s a place for everyone. Children will get a kick out of the folklore of “Jack The Giant Killer.” It’s said that Jack dug all night, at sunrise he blew his horn calling the giant out to him. With the glaring sun in his eyes, the giant fell into the well. When you walk up the hill to the castle, look for the giants stone heart in the pathway.
Near the cemetery, that’s closed to the public, there is a café and shop. They serve a delicious cup of cappuccino.
What a joke! This place is capitalizing on it being the United Kingdoms farthest South West point. You do not have a choice but to pay for parking, even to enjoy the ocean view. I don’t remember the cost , but I’m thinking £7. To get your picture taken next to a sign that say’s Lands End with your name and date, will cost you £15. Or do what we did, and stand outside the marked area and take a selfie really fast, before the next sucker parts with their cash. If you have children, they will max out your credit card with all the amusement type games, this place caters to them.
The view is nice from Lands End, but England is an island, the view is great everywhere. In my opinion, don’t waste your time coming here.
Okay, your turn…..
Where else do I need to go in Cornwall?