Thursday, 7 July 2011 12:00 AM
If you are looking for a getaway in Cornwall with a difference, try booking holiday cottages in Tintagel.
This beautiful village on the Atlantic coast has all the attractions you would normally associate with a break in the county, as well as a unique feature - the legend of King Arthur.
Thousands of visitors flock to Tintagel Castle every month in search of the truth about Arthur and his knights.
Although the remains of the fortification you can see now date back to the 13th century, archaeological excavations at the site have revealed evidence of earlier settlements.
Among the finds was the Arthnou Stone, a 1,400-year-old inscribed slate that added to speculation that Tintagel was either King Arthur's birthplace or where he was conceived.
Some versions of the legend have it that King Uther Pendragon enlisted the help of the wizard Merlin to help transform his appearance to match that of Gorlois, the Duke of Cornwall, so that he could woo his wife, Igraine, at the castle.
Others suggest the future king was born at the site and then protected from evil by Merlin, who lived in a cave beneath the coastal fortress. Arthur's knights are also said to have been anointed in a pool beneath a waterfall near the castle before heading off on their quests.
A visit to Tintagel Castle won't help you solve the mysteries of Arthurian legend, but you are sure to enjoy exploring the remains of the awe-inspiring fort and seeing the waves crashing against the cliffs in this most dramatic of settings.
It is also a great place to take children during holidays in North Cornwall cottages, as there are often storytellers dressed as Arthur and Merlin on hand to make the tales come to life. English Heritage also organises the Family Fun Knights Trail, a treasure hunt with a difference, at the castle throughout August.
There are lots of other great attractions in the Tintagel area, including The Arthurian Centre at Camelford, where children - and big kids - will be able to learn more about the legendary king and what links him to Star Wars and Harry Potter.
And when you aren't using your holiday cottages in Cornwall as bases to visit the stunning beaches at Trebarwith Strand, Bossiney Cove and Crackington Haven, you may also want to take trips to Tintagel Old Post Office and Boscastle's Museum of Witchcraft.