Situated on the north Atlantic coast of Cornwall, the village of Tintagel (pronounced /tɪn'tædʒl̩/ with the stress on the second syllable; Cornish: Dintagell) and nearby Tintagel Castle are associated with the legends surrounding King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table. The village has, in recent times, become a magnet for tourists and day-trippers.
The modern-day village of Tintagel was known as Trevena (Cornish: Tre war Venydh). It was cited originally as a place of origin for King Arthur by the pseudo-historian Geoffrey of Monmouth. Tintagel is also used as a locus for the Arthurian mythos by the poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson in the poem Idylls of the King. The village also features the 'Old Post Office', which dates from the 14th Century. It became a post office during the nineteenth century, and is now in the hands of the National Trust.
Major excavations beginning with Ralegh Radford's work in the 1930s on and around the site of the 12th century castle have revealed that Tintagel headland was the site of a high status Celtic monastery (according to Radford), a princely fortress or trading settlement dating to the 5th and 6th centuries, in the period immediately following the withdrawal of the Romans from Britain. Finds of Mediterranean oil and wine jars show that Sub-Roman Britain was not the isolated outpost it was considered to be, for considerable trade in high value goods was taking place at the time with the Mediterranean region. In 1998, excavations discovered the "Arthur stone" which has added to Tintagel's Arthurian lore.
The coastline around Tintagel is significant because it is composed of old Devonian slate; about a mile southwards from Tintagel towards Treknow the coastline was quarried extensively for this hard-wearing roofing surface. The turquoise green water around this coast is caused by the slate/sand around Tintagel which contains elements of copper: strong sunlight turns the water a light turquoise green colour in warm weather. Although there is no beach at Tintagel, Trebarwith Strand is just half an hour's walk south of Tintagel and is probably Cornwall's finest beach, boasting clear seas, golden sands, and superb surf.