England’s best views: Tintagel, Cornwall

‘A dark headland hovers over a massive rock. Round it crash seas of a turquoise colour produced by light acting on copper embedded in slate. This is a place where history has conceded total victory to myth. The small village is surrounded by a rampart of hot-dog stalls and an outer bailey of caravan and camp sites.

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The exploitation of Tintagel is not new. The link with Arthur derives from a 12th-century cleric, Geoffrey of Monmouth, who wrote a work of fiction with the unhelpful title of History of the Kings of Britain. The story consumed all Europe throughout the Middle Ages and beyond.

The setting is tremendous, a vista of brutal rocks and headlands stretching in either direction along the Atlantic shore. ’

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Extracted from ‘England’s 100 Best Views’ by Simon Jenkins, to be published by Profile books in October 2013 (£25 hardback) Photograph: Paul Barker