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Cornwall, Pt 4 – The Legend of King Arthur


King Arthur and Camelot are a Big Deal Around Here

Cornwall is home to many locations that tie in to the Arthurian legend. Possibly the most Arthur-obsessed is Tintagel on the Atlantic coast. Tintagel Castle is said to be the location of Arthur’s conception (with Merlin’s assistance). The 1981 movie, Excalibur, covers that episode nicely. Merlin disguises Uther Pendragon so that he can lie with the Duke of Cornwall’s wife resulting in baby Arthur. Several events from the Tristan and Isolde legend also take place at Tintagel.

Actual History Too

The site was an important place and home to the rulers of Cornwall from around the 5th to 7th centuries. The Normans built a castle on the cliff around 1086. Today, the remains are what is left of a very ambitious and romanticized castle created by Richard, Earl of Cornwall in the 1230s. He purposely built the castle to promote the connection to King Arthur. Read more about the history and legend here.

Come for the Legend, Stay for the Gorgeous Scenery

Even without the ruins and the legend, Tintagel is an incredible place. The views from the top of the cliff were spectacular.

A Farcical Aquatic Ceremony

There are several other sites in Cornwall and Wales that claim to be home to some portion of the Arthur legend. One of the others we visited was Dozmary Pool, on Bodmin Moor. This small pond is the home of the Lady of the Lake and where she gave Excalibur to Arthur. Sir Bedivere returned the sword to the lake after Arthur’s death.

It’s basically a small pond in a cow pasture, but there’s a public footpath and it was a fun side quest.

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