English Heritage has announced that the new footbridge at Tintagel Castle, welcomed its millionth visitor on Friday, July 29, four years after opening in August 2019. 

The bridge was designed to elegantly span the 70-metre gap between the two halves of the ancient site, enabling visitors to enter the coastal castle the way its medieval inhabitants once did.

Designed by Ney & Partners and William Matthews Associates Architectural Practice, the construction of the bridge was a striking feat of engineering that aimed to harmonise with the landscape. The bridge was designed to be as slight and unobtrusive as possible, reflecting the narrow historic land crossing. This gave rise to the stronghold’s name, ‘Din Tagell’ meaning ‘the Fortress of the Narrow Entrance’. 

Set 57 metres above sea level, the bridge is made from two independent cantilevers that reach out to almost touch, leaving a 40mm gap in the middle. It is paved with Cornish slate.

The design has since gone on to receive worldwide architectural acclaim, including winning the Royal Fine Art Commission Trust’s 2022 Building Beauty Awards. The footbridge was officially opened by Their Majesties King Charles and Queen Camilla in 2020.

The Tintagel Castle site team had been monitoring the number of visitors each day as the total grew closer to one million, and physically counted visitors stepping onto the bridge on Saturday when the milestone looked imminent.

Sarah Mayall from Hampshire was the lucky millionth visitor who crossed the bridge at about 3.15pm. She was surprised with the gift of English Heritage membership and a hamper of Cornish treats. Sarah was visiting Cornwall on holiday with her family.

Hannah Monteverde, Tintagel Castle manager, said: “We’re delighted to mark this milestone just before the fourth anniversary of the footbridge opening. Crossing the bridge has now become one of the highlights of a trip to Tintagel for many visitors which is really special for our team to see. Congratulations to Sarah on being our one millionth person!”

Tintagel Castle continues to captivate visitors with its stunning scenery and mythical past. 

It was likely a residence for the rulers of Cornwall between the 5th and 7th centuries AD before the Earl of Cornwall built his ambitious castle here in the 1230s. 

Tintagel gained literary fame in the 12th century when Geoffrey of Monmouth named it as the place where King Arthur was conceived, a legend that persists to this day.