Cornwall_St Michaels

St Michael's Mount

It’s a cliché, but getting here really is part of the adventure. Few landmarks in Cornwall are more evocative, or enticing, than St Michael’s Mount, especially at low tide when a cobbled causeway emerges from the sea, extending an irresistible invitation to walk across to the rocky islet crowned with its medieval castle and church. Better still, wait for an ebbing tide, roll up your trousers and wade across.

Once on the island, you may be surprised to find a thriving little community (home to 30 islanders), complete with harbour, sub-tropical gardens, shops, café and restaurant.

Collect children’s quiz sheets before walking up the steep, but short, path to the castle. If you look carefully, you’ll find a cobblestone in the shape of a heart which, according to legend, once beat in the chest of the giant Cormoran – a big bully prone to snacking on the island’s cattle until he was lured into a pit and slain by a local lad called Jack (the original giant killer). A more uplifting legend refers to a vision of the Archangel St Michael that appeared to fishermen in the year 495.

The views from the summit of St Michael’s Mount are spectacular, while the castle itself is a small but fascinating window on the past, with cannons and suits of armour dating from the War of the Roses and the Civil War, when the fortress was under seige.

The Mount’s religious roots go back to the Norman invasion, when the island was granted to the Benedictine Abbey of Mont St Michel in Brittany. There’s an exquisite chapel deep inside the castle which has been the family home of the St Aubyn family since the 17th century. Don’t miss the elegant rococo-style Blue Drawing Room or the Chevy Chase Room with its 17th-century frieze depicting hunting scenes described in the Ballad of Chevy Chase.

St Michael’s Mount, Marazion, nr Penzance, TR17 0HS
T01736-710507 or 710265 (tide and ferry information)
Open late Mar-Jun Sun-Fri 1030-1700; Jul-Aug Sun-Fri 1030-1730; Sep-early Nov Sun-Fri 1030-1700, last
admission 45 mins before castle closing time
£6.60 adult, £3.30 child (5-17), £16.50 family

Getting there
On foot At low tide, follow in the footsteps of pilgrims and giants as you walk across the causeway to St Michael’s Mount. It only takes a few minutes, but you should wear sensible shoes as the cobbles are slippery and uneven. Bear in mind that the climb to the castle is steep and cobbled and, therefore, unsuitable for pushchairs.
By boat At high tide small motor boats ply back and forth between the Mount and three landing points along the shore at Marazion. One-way fares £1.50 adult, £1 child.

Click here to visit the official website of St Michael's Mount.