Old Post Office, Tintagel, Cornwall

Old Post Office, Tintagel, Cornwall

We had not planned to visit the Old Post Office in Tintagel, but because we were there (to visit the ruins of the castle where King Arthur was said to have been born) and because we had a National Trust Touring Pass, we decided to pop in and see what it was like. I’m so glad we did!

A note on pronunciation: Prior to arriving there, in all of my trip preparations and itinerary building, I though that the town was pronounced TINT-ah-gel, with the emphasis on the first syllable. I was wrong. Emphasis is placed on the middle syllable, which sounds like the A in “smack.” It’s Tint-A-gel. I had to re-train my brain to say it correctly after pronouncing it in my head incorrectly for so many months. Now I try to find out in advance how place names are pronounced as soon as they land on my radar.

The Old Post Office was first built in the 14th-century as a farmhouse. In those days, it would have been a single story, with a thatched roof and livestock housed in one section. Heat and smoke from a central hearth would have risen up through the thatches and killed any woodworms (thus preserving the frame).

In the 16th and 17th centuries, major modifications to the building took place. A slate roof replaced the thatched one. Wood paneling was replaced with stone, and a chimney was added. With no more open fire sending smoke up through the roof, a second story could be added.

In the Victorian era, the house briefly held a licence to be the letter receiving station for the district. Afterwards, it was referred to as the Old Post Office, and the name stuck.

old post office

It has a wavy slate roof and a gorgeous cottage style garden in the back. On the whole, it was a very child-friendly place to visit. The guides were very good about engaging our daughter in conversation, and there was no shortage of hands-on activities for little ones to enjoy. During our visit there, she got to play giant tic tac toe in the garden, try making a rag rug, and learn why we say “sleep tight” at bedtime.

In addition to all the reasons she loved it, we enjoyed the peek into what life was like in England centuries ago. Not surprisingly, one of the biggest rooms contained the fireplace.


A second floor was added to the building in the 17th century. We were able to see what the bedrooms there would have looked like.

bedroom window

old PO bedroom

Outside, in the back yard, we played for a while and just sat to enjoy the pretty flowers. It was there that we learned the herringbone pattern of the stone wall in front of the Old Post Office is called the curzy way.

old PO garden

All in all, it was a lovely visit – I highly recommend checking it out if you’re in the Tintagel area!

The Old Post Office is located on Fore Street, Tintagel, Cornwall, PL34 0DB. Telephone +44 18407 70024. The building is open seasonally, so it’s best to check and make sure it will be open when you visit.  

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