Sun on Saturday: The Old Post Office at Tintagel

Yes, I'm taking you back to Tintagel as promised at the end of my second post from our visit to Tintagel Castlethis time though we're in the village and visiting the Old Post Office which is one of the National Trust's properties. It's tiny - or as the Trust more diplomatically says "unusual and atmospheric" and it's appeal - and wavy roof - is immediately visible as you approach it.

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It dates back to the 14th century and is a yeoman's farmhouse which the National Trust acquired in 1903 and the first room you visit is the Parlour. As well as this beautiful vista with the light streaming in on the day we visited there's plenty of samplers to admire, some of them worked on by girls as young as nine.

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Each of the samplers on display are intricate and neatly sewn - and more importantly finished.  The cross stitch I rediscovered last year, still isn't finished... ahem!

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We headed upstairs - thankfully just a spiral staircase and not like those above, which I'm sure would be problematic for many visitors - and into the South Bedroom. There were more samplers here but it was the bedspread that really was the star of the show, well alongside the wooden beams and oak bed.

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Then we headed back down the stairs, yeap these ones and into the cottage garden. And despite just being off the busy high street, it felt a world away. There was a large noughts and crosses set and a dressing up box and plenty of "garden rooms" to explore.

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We stood back to admire the wavy roof and the typically cottage garden type plants and after a while we felt as if we were being watched. We turned and discovered we were!

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So we popped over and said hello!

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I said before that the Old Post Office is tiny, the same's true for its garden, but both pack a lot in and for such small spaces there's lots to see. Even a model in the garden...

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And if you're wondering about the Post Office part - the name comes from the Victorian period when it briefly held a licence. Today though, there's still a post box.

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And all in all another fantastic National Trust property to explore.

Sun on Saturday: Barras Nose, lashings of ginger beer and Tintagel Castle

So today I'm sharing the final part of our visit to Tintagel Castle; last week I left it as we paused briefly to look at Tintagel Haven and set about finding the perfect lunch spot on the National Trust's Barras Nose.  And Tintagel Haven - or should that be heaven - it's not a bad view is it?

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Tintagel Haven is infact the small sand, shingle and stony beach you can see in the photo (and at high tide there's no beach) but it's better known for a spectacular cave, known as Merlin's Cave which provides the only access to the small and stony Westside Cove the other side of the headland. While we'd have loved to check it out, we were heading upwards to check out the views from Barras Nose, which was the first English Coastal acquisition by the Trust in 1897. 

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Barras Nose National Trust

It wasn't long before we spotted this stone with the inscription and spent some time twisting our heads round to read it and determine where it should start and end!


Well actually some of that head twisting to read the quote was a cunning plan to pause and take in the moment for a bit. Shortly though we were off again and found the perfect place to stop and eat the picnic we'd brought with us.

And it was here that I realised I'd made the wrong choice. I totally should have packed cans of ginger beer and not cloudy lemonade in our picnic! It really was a "lashings of ginger beer" kind of place and I'm pretty sure Enid Blyton's Famous Five and Timmy the dog had some adventures at Tintagel at some point. I just wish I'd remembered that before we were there!

Ah well a picnic with this as our view wasn't so bad after all, despite the wrong kind of fizzy drink...



But the more we looked, the more we saw - and then we realised we'd missed out on a trip to the lower part of the castle. We'd clearly missed the signs to get down there and peer through that hole in the castle walls you can see in the photo above. That was disappointing and most likely as a result of not having a site guide, and we briefly considered going back to visit this spot.

But then we remembered it was at least 148 steps up, then the steps down there and all that in reverse and we still hadn't explored the Medieval section of the Castle on the mainland, which also had some steep steps up to it. Yes we it was only briefly considered!  However we consoled ourselves with the fact that our lunch spot provided a view of it that many people visiting the castle that day weren't getting!

Cornish coastal views at Tintagel

While we were on Barras Nose we had a wander around after we'd demolished lunch - there's a route for a one mile walk on the National Trust website, but it's just as easy to follow your nose (around Barras Nose!) It too had some stunning views, just look:

Barras Nose in Cornwall
Cornish coastal views at Tintagel
Cornish coastal views at Tintagel

Full from lunch and of the views, we headed back over to Tintagel Castle. This time though we didn't cross the bridge we turned left just past the ticket point and headed up these stairs. And they are as steep as they look - I'm not ashamed to admit I had a couple of pauses along the way and not just because I wanted to admire the view!

Tintagel Castle and more steps

These took us up to the section of the castle on the mainland - and the advice we got on arrival was spot on. That was to start on the headland and leave the mainland section until after as there's a path from there leading back to the village. What they didn't tell us though was that that path means no steps down again (well maybe a few, but not like the way up!). And that advice also meant avoiding a trip around the shop on exit, always a plus!

As with other parts of the castle there were stunning views every way you looked!

Medieval section of Tintagel Castle
Medieval section of Tintagel Castle
My friend the seagull at Tintagel Castle

I tell you the seagulls in Cornwall are very photogenic - and no chips in sight for these ones either.

Medieval courtyard at Tintagel Castle

Parts of the castle have sadly slipped into the sea, but as you can see from the pictures it is right on the edge and it's surprising that more hasn't been lost. Huge buttresses prevent the rest of the Grand Hall from sliding into the sea, and it shows just how important the work of English Heritage and the National Trust are in preserving our history.

A window to the Cornish coast


We had a great time during our visit, the scenery and vistas were amazing - we were lucky of course that the weather was so good, I imagine we might not have had quite such a magical time in the wind and rain! And if I'm honest, the day was better than I expected it to be - this was one of MOH's choices and somewhere he'd visited as a child so he was keen to see it again.

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And after an inspiring day we took the relatively step free path back towards the village, and the pub and instead of the ginger variety we opted for a pint of the local brew and people watched while we got our breath back! Then it was onto the Old Post Office at Tintagel, which I must dig out the pictures from and share with you too.

Black & White photo: A corner of Tintagel Castle

Yesterday I shared the first part of our visit to Tintagel Castle where we explored the remains of the castle on the headland. I left it as we headed off to find a spot to eat our lunch and promised to share the second half of our trip next Saturday, but I couldn't resist sharing a black and white shot of the castle ruins on the mainland before then.

For me this photo is all about the texture and the light and I think that makes it a great shot for the black and white treatment, what do you think?

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