425km (264 miles) SW of London; 79km (49 miles) NW of Plymouth
Even if you don't buy into the legend of King Arthur, a visit is recommended to Tintagel, a little village 9.7km (6 miles) northwest of Camelford, which is said to have been the legendary Camelot. Once at Tintagel, signs point the way to the splendid ruins of Tintagel Castle, allegedly the site of King Arthur's birth.
Whether the tales of Arthurian chivalry and the famous Round Table are true or not, we'd come here just for the views, some of the most dramatic coastal scenery in the West Country. Steep cliffs and a rugged sea combine to paint a powerful portrait, and it's fun climbing up and down the cliffs, but only at low tide.
The 13th-century ruins of the castle that stand here -- built on the foundations of a Celtic monastery from the 6th century -- are popularly known as King Arthur's Castle. They stand 90m (300 ft.) above the sea on a rocky promontory, and to get to them you must take a long, steep, tortuous walk from the parking lot. In summer, many visitors make the ascent to Arthur's Lair, up 100 rock-cut steps. You can also visit Merlin's Cave at low tide. Once you reach Merlin's Cave, the site might not be so much -- after all, it's only a cave, although one of legendary status. But the climb along the steep cliffs to reach it provides the thrill.
The castle is 1km (a half mile) northwest of Tintagel. It's open April to September daily 10am to 6pm, October daily 10am to 5pm, and November to March daily 10am to 4pm. Admission is £4.60 for adults, £3.70 for students and seniors, and £2.30 for children. For information, call tel. 01840/770328 or go to www.english-heritage.org.uk.