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St Michael's Mount, Cornwall
Since being a child, I have visited St Michael's Mount many times. Every summer my family and I would pack up our things and journey down to Cornwall with sun, sea and ice cream in mind. Driving past St Michael's Mount always felt quite magical and special. A short distance from land a beautiful castle lies on its own island, a castle that you can in fact walk to but only when the tide is out. I was fascinated by this concept when I was younger and it is why St Michael's Mount has made such an impression on my memory.
St Michael's Mount is situated just off the coast of Cornwall and a pretty little town called Marazion, near to Penzance. It is easy to spot and is in a fantastic location to explore some of the Cornish coast. The island is home to the St. Aubyn family who have lived there since the 17th Century and it is part of the National Trust.
The Mount is rich in history. In the past, the castle has been used as a monastery, a port, a fortress and most recently a family home and tourist location. The Mount has seen a thousand years of history pass it by and the intriguing atmosphere on the island represents this. It is hard to believe that during the Civil War the Mount was used as a fortress thanks to the beauty and calm of its location and stunning Cornish views.
Today the island is home to the St. Aubyn family and 30 staff who reside in the seafront cottages. It is one of Cornwall's most historic and popular tourist locations that attracts thousands of visitors a year. Many people are intrigued by the uniqueness of the Mount and its special history.
There is a lot to see and do on the Mount and so it is the ideal place to visit for a great day out, especially as it is fun for all the family. Explore the castle inside and out and learn all about its history, wander around the sub-tropical gardens and marvel at the incredible plants, get involved in some of the activities, head to the beach, climb the Mount to get some of the most incredible views of Cornwall, browse the shops, indulge in some delicious food and drinks and much more! You can never get bored on the Mount as there is always something to learn or something else to see.
The castle is open until the 2nd of November for its 2012 season. There are a few ways which you can reach the Mount but there is only one way which I have ever been and would ever go and that is by foot. At low tide, you can walk across the historic footpath from Marazion to the Mount and it takes just a few minutes. There is something very special and exciting about this walk, be sure to check the tide times in advance however so that you don't get caught out! You can also hop on a boat to get to the Mount if walking is not your thing.
There is no fee to get to the island if you walk across however you must pay to go into the castle or the gardens. It is £9.25 for an adult and £4.50 for a child for a combined ticket for both - family discounts are also available. It really is a small price to pay for such a lovely experience. National Trust members can gain access to the castle for free!
Overall I think that St Michael's Mount is the ideal location for a great family day out. If you are planning on visiting Cornwall then it would be a shame to not make the journey to this fantastic Mount as you would be missing out on one of Cornwall's finest tourist spots. There is a great, fun atmosphere on the Mount as well as a sense of real mystery and history. The Mount is interesting to people of all age and I loved going when I was a kid as much as I love going now! The entrance fee to the castle is reasonable and there are plenty of beautiful spots to sit and have a picnic, looking out to the sea or the Cornish coast. If the sun is shining then the Mount is even more beautiful and the beaches are lovely to relax on. I would definitely recommend St Michael's Mount as a great place to visit and learn about!
Thank you for reading : )
Review also on Ciao under luceey.
We have just returned from a fantastic long weekend in Cornwall. We had so many things we wanted to do whilst visiting so we had to really narrow our list down as we were only there 4 days. One of the things my fiancé wanted to do was go back to St Michaels Mount. We did visit last year but we did not go into the castle as we were short of time, however this year he insisted we went inside and I'm glad he did.
St Michaels Mount is an island set off the coast of Cornwall, near to the village of Marazion which is on the mainland. To access the island, you can either get a boat across or if the tide is out you can walk across a spectacular causeway. This tends to be the preferred way of getting across as it was the way experienced by pilgrims and giants.
To get to St Michaels Mount you simply head for Marazion, the mount is signposted well from various routes nearby and it is situated quite near to the town of Hayle. Once in Marazion, if you have travelled by car you will of course need to leave it there. There are various car parks however I would recommend a charity car park which we parked in, it is signposted from the main road and costs just £1.50 all day, the attendants and very friendly and polite and the money is going to a good cause! A short drive (less than 2 minutes) closer to the island is another car park however this costs £3 so if you can I would park in the charity car park.
So yesterday we parked the car, had a short wander around Marazion and had a bite to eat then decided to head towards the Mount. Marazion is a lovely small town/village with a few quaint gift shops and a few places to have lunch. We found the prices to be reasonable and spent about an hour wandering about.
Walking across to the Mount is one of my favourite parts of the trip. It is great fun to walk across a causeway which is usually covered with the sea and the view you get of the Mount doing this is amazing. It is brilliant to see it from this angle and it makes us eagerly anticipate our time on the Mount. Last time we visited when the tide was just going out and it was very fun rolling up our jeans to get across the causeway! If you are planning on visiting I would recommend taking a towel just incase.
When you get to the Mount you can either go and buy tickets to enter the castle or just wander around the island. Last time we just wandered around the island and it is a nice little place to visit, there are a couple of shops and a small cafe but nothing much so you can really only spend half an hour here unless you are visiting the castle.
To gain access to the castle you simply get tickets from the ticket office and proceed on up to the castle. It is a steep walk with both steps and hills however I think there may be a disabled route so if this is needed then it would be worth phoning ahead in advance to check.
Walking up to the castle gives you a look at some of the gardens which are very pretty. If you do want to visit the gardens there is a small additional charge, however they are only open a couple of days a week so it is definitely worth checking ahead.
Walking up to the castle provides you with some brilliant views and we took some lovely pictures on the way up. From the bottom to the castle entrance it probably took us ten minutes however we did stop quite a lot to take pictures and look at the view!
When you get to the castle you are greeted by a guide who just gives you a little bit of background information about the castle, you are then free to look around. There are guides dotted about the place if you do have any questions but they do not hassle you or try to move you on.
Theres plenty to see around the castle and many rooms to wander round. Rooms include The Entrance Hall, Sir John's Room, The Library, The Priory Church, The Garrison Room and The Terraces. All of the rooms are very interesting, there is plenty to see and amazing antiques and pieces of history. The Terraces are also brilliant and the views from the island are spectacular.
One of our favourite places was the church. We are not religious people but there was so much history and so many beautiful pieces in here we spent a good twenty minutes looking around.
The castle was full of paintings of the family who has lived in the castle for centuries. My partner found these very interested and he also was intrigued about the castles history regarding war. He spoke to a guide about this and the guide was full of knowledge which I found lovely as he spoke with such love for the castle and he knew so much.
We spent around an hour looking round the castle. I wasn't sure how much I would enjoy the castle, especially as we had already seen the Island last year but I loved looking round the castle and found it very interesting and great fun. I think it was probably one of our favourite places we visited this weekend and I think we will probably visit again in years to come!
When we were finished in the castle we had a quick look in the shop where they had various merchandise for sale including Cornish products, prices were quite high but they always are in these kinds of places!
We then walked back across the causeway to complete our day.
The castle is open March - October, as are the gardens. The castle is open 10:30-5 daily but it is closed on Saturdays. The gardens are open at various times so it is best to check the website before visiting.
Tickets for the castle only are £7 for adults, £3.50 for children and £17.50 for a family. Access to the gardens only is £3.50 for adults and £1.50 for children. Combined tickets are £8.75 for adults, £4.25 for children and £21.75 for a family. It is free for National Trust members.
If you have any more questions, feel free to ask me or you can contact them direct on 01736 710507, their website address is http://www.stmichaelsmount.co.uk/
We really enjoyed our day at St Micheal's Mount and we thought it was great value for money. Recommended for all, lovely way to see some of Cornwall's history.
St. Michaels Mount.
St Michaels mount can be found just off the coast on the South coast of Cornwall near the town of Marazion. It is easily reached by road namely the A30 and from all directions in Cornwall. The view of the Mount from the main land is quite a spectacular sight rising majestically 250 feet above the sea and it is shrouded on occasions by sea mists that gradually burn off throughout the day. It appears to hover above the mist as if it were floating in the swirling mists. It was apparently at one time joined with the mainland but that was put paid by an extremely high tide which apparently caused the deaths of many people and left the mount as an Island.
There was an iron smelter on the island and the port was used to transport tin to various places this was in and around 350 BC at the end of the Iron Age before the Romans invaded Britain. Approximately around 1070 a small Benedictine monastery was built but it was destroyed by a massive earthquake. The monastery was affiliated with its counterpart Mont St. Michel in France and is similar in appearance. The current church was built into the castle at the top of the mount and is still in use today.
The mount is managed by the National trust but the current owner a descendent of the St. Aubyn family still lives here. It was bought by Colonel John St. Aubyn in 1659 and it is the official residence of Lord St. Levan and his nephew James Piers Southwell St Aubyn actually lives there. The mount has been taken in sieges throughout its history and at one time was seized by soldiers masquerading as pilgrims. It has throughout its history remained a site of pilgrimage since an apparition of St. Michael was seen hovering over the island. There have supposedly been four such miracles on the mount.
The Mount is separated from the mainland by the sea which envelopes a causeway depending on the height of the tide. At low tide it is possible to walk between the mainland and the mount via a well trodden cobbled pathway. There should be no panic however should the tide come in as small boats operate between the mainland and the small island to take visitors back and forth throughout the day.
After a very pleasant stroll across the causeway you reach the base of the Mount. At the base of the Mount there is a small community of islanders living in small cottages who are employed in various roles on the island from running the shops cafe and restaurants and the boats. They also tend the beautiful gardens and man the house for visitors.
There is a very pleasant cafe/restaurant that used to be the pub the St. Aubyns Arms at the base of the mount to have lunch or a snack the prices are quite reasonable but you can be plagued by seagulls looking for titbits or quite cheekily dive bombing if you are unfortunate enough. There is also a National trust gift shop and restaurant and you can buy some exotic plants from the gardens. Next to the pub is the graveyard which is peaceful and calm which plays host to family members of the St Aubyn family and local villagers.
The walk up to the house is quite steep on cobbled pathways but it is through beautiful and colourful well tended gardens. The garden contains sub tropical plants from as far afield as the Canary Islands, Mexico and South Africa. Some parts of the gardens can only be reached by the gardener's abseiling down to reach and tend to the plants and the gardeners seemed to be hard at it when we were there.
It is certainly out of bounds for people with physical abnormalities or those with a degree of unfitness. You can hire a wheelchair suitable for walking over the sands to reach the base of the island as a normal wheelchair would have difficulty being pushed over the cobbled causeway. The views of the sprawling bay on the mainland and the village and harbour below are beautiful.
The living quarters were built throughout its occupation and updated during the Victorian era. The house contains beautiful artworks and other interesting artefacts dating back to medieval times. I am not going to discuss these as I think it is far better for you to discover them yourself suffice it to say they are very interesting rooms.
The chapel is still in use today and family christenings take place here and other services each Sunday. There is a magnificent rose window which is very colourful and a beautiful example of the glassworker's skills from the 15th century. Behind the altar there are some carved alabaster panels which are over five hundred years old. Around the church are coats of arms and memorials to the St. Aubyn family.
Would I recommend a visit here?
Yes I would definitely recommend a visit as It is one of the most beautiful properties managed by the National trust and quite unique and unusual. One should allow approximately four to five hours to allow you to walk across the causeway and up to the house and Chapel. . It would give you plenty of time to reach it and admire the views and the peace and tranquillity of the island. However it is important to remember that once the tide comes in it does tend to come in quite fast and you should keep an eye on timings for returning back to the mainland.
The castle is open from March to October.
10:30 - 5PM but closed on Saturdays! (Seems a bit daft to me closing the castle on a Saturday)
May to June: Mon-Fri from 10.30am to 5.00pm
July to October: Thurs-Fri ONLY from 10.30am to 5.00pm
Combined garden and castle.
Free entry to National trust members.
Parking is available quite near by and their rates are very reasonable for the day.
ST MICHAEL'S MOUNT CORNWALL
This is a property owned byThe National Trust.
In my opinion it is the most beautiful & remarkable property that they own.
It is located at Marazion, a village near to Penzance which is getting on for the tip of Cornwall.
This is 'must see' - don't miss it if you are in the vicinity. On a sunny day, it can't be bettered for views, history & pure magic!
For information on opening times, tide times - oh yes you will need to know the tide times!
Visit http://www.stmichaelsmount.co.uk. There you will find lots of information about admission fees & how to get there etc.
As you will most likely be approaching from the A30 travelling westwards, follow the A30 past Hayle and towards Penzance, looking out for the signposts to Marazion.
As you are travelling along the A30 & as you drive along the rise near Nancledra, you will be met with the most amazing spectacle - a fairy castle set atop a beautiful island just off the coast! It's a pretty amazing sight & one that never fails to impress & inspire how ever many times you pass it. There is a lay-by or you can just stop & peer over the hedge to take photos. To me it is all part of the magic of the visit.
If you are approaching from any other direction it is worth looking up the directions on their website or putting the postcode TR17 0EF into your Sat Nav. Alternatively give them a ring on 01736 710507 or Email firstname.lastname@example.org
A word of warning about using Sat Nav in Cornwall. Mine is only two years old, but there have been so many road improvements & new roads that I frequently find the Sat Nav suddenly shows a blank screen where it thought roads should have been & some dotted lines. 'Jane' the Sat Nav lady gets thoroughly confused & will send us in different directions! If you know roughly the names of towns & villages you will be traveling through, you can follow signposting & the Sat. Nav. should eventually pick up the route & carry on as requested.
It's very easy to find the car parks, you can't miss them. It's worth giving the first one a miss however & trying for a space in the next one which is actually nearer to the Causeway & the Mount & to the village if you want to stroll there to the pub or shops. Also Bicycle racks are provided in the Slipway car park.
Find yourself a parking space & pay the fee. Unfortunately although The Mount is National Trust owned the car park is not, so members will have to pay. There are no concessions either for disabled badge holders whether or not you are showing a tax exempt disc.
At this point you might like to buy everyone an ice cream or a cuppa from the various kiosks, to tide (sorry for the pun) you over the long walk across the causeway, if it is low tide.
Sorry dog owners but you are not allowed to take your furry friends on to the island.
~~Cross to the island~~
Starting from the Godolphin Arms, you will see the causeway stretched out in front of you. It looks longer & more daunting than you will have thought, when viewed from here.
The causeway is cobbled & can be very slippery if wet, so wear appropriate shoes both for this & for the steep climb up the side of the Mount to the castle. A visit can be misery if you are wearing the wrong shoes!
Although the website tells you the walk is only a few minutes, in actual fact I always find it to be quite a long walk, so if you are not feeling fit enough, might be better to take a boat. You need to time it right, as if the tide is coming in, by the time you are half way across, you could be paddling & running out of time. The water reaches about 5' but the currents are strong & dangerous, apparently mostly as the tide is going out.
Boats are available to take you across if you don't fancy the walk. They leave from about three different landing points, mostly at high tide, and the car park attendant will be able to tell you where to go. I think the fare is only about £1.50.
~~Arriving on the island~~
When you get to the other side & are on the island, you are free to wander past the old cottages, still inhabited by the Island workers (gardeners, boatmen, handymen etc). You can watch the boats in the harbour or visit the gift shop, the cinema or the cafe/restaurants.
Interestingly there is an island cemetery & an underground railway which goes all the way from the harbour up to the Castle but no access is allowed to these. It's all part of the fascinating history of The Mount.
If you are planning to make the climb to the top, this is when you go to the ticket office as you need to pay if you are visitng the castle or the gardens.
The cost of admission is pretty much in keeping with all National Trust properties. £7 for adults or £8.75 for a combined ticket to the Castle & the Gardens. Children's prices about half that.
You may want to consider that if you frequently like to visit National Trust properties, it would be worth signing up now for membership which you can do at the entrance, & this will take you in on the day to the Castle & Gardens & also of course cover you for all National Trust visits for the rest of the year including their car parks. If this sounds good to you, I would think about joining online before you go, as you get 3 months free membership plus a pair of binoculars!
After you have gone through the ticket office & paid your entrance fees, you start the steep ascent to the Castle above. Before you arrive at the Castle entrance you will need to negotiate the pathway which is cobblestone & very steep incline. If you have a pushchair or wheelchair I'm afraid you will need to leave it behind as there is no way you will be able to get it up there & once in the Castle the floors /rooms are not all on the same level. You will definitely want to climb to the roof terrace to enjoy the amazing views & unfortunately this can't be done with wheels.
I am tempted to tell you a lot of history, but I know it does get boring when reading a review to have to wade through all those details if you only wanted to find out an opinion of the visit in general.
It is very easy to find on various websites if you would like to read all the historic details. Just put St Michael's Mount into Google & it will come up with many sites full of historic interest.
The Mount has obviously been through decades of interesting history & ownership. The St Aubyn family is now in residence although I believe they actually reside in accommodation at lower ground level.
So, you wander round the Castle taking in all the magnificent rooms with their furniture, portraits & armour etc & looking out of the windows at the views all around you. If you are into that kind of thing you will enjoy the tour round the Castle -there are various important rooms which you will see. One of them is the Chevy Chase dining room - it seems to be impossible to find out why it was thus called. I have even emailed to enquire but so far have had no reply. Hopefully I can add that bit of information if I hear from them.
As mentioned before, there is a roof terrace which is an absolute must, especially if you are a keen photographer or even if you like to take snapshots for the family album (or hard drive these days, where they will never be seen again!) There are various interesting places to take photos of the kids, like cannons etc. I doubt you are allowed to photograph inside; this is usually a stipulation of the National Trust.
Afterwards you have the long climb again, this time downwards.
If you have paid for the gardens you have more walking to do! A lot more!
Back down by the harbour you have the choice of The Sail loft restaurant for a meal or the café for a cream tea - well earned after all that hard climbing!
If you need to nip to the loo, this is your chance!
There is also the cinema & the gift shop run by the National Trust. The usual things are for sale, china knick-knacks etc plus plants - very nice but overpriced - but it is in a good cause we have to tell ourselves as we hand over our hard earned cash!
Take the causeway or a boat back to the car park area & sit outside at the pub with a nice refreshing drink & reflect on your lovely visit to St Michael's Mount, while you look back at the Island.
~~Other things to note~~
On one of our visits we took a boat trip from the harbour. This went all the way round the island. It was very interesting to see the castle & the Island from the back view & hear the talk on the history from that perspective. I would recommend that trip.
This is a most enjoyable day out but if you are disabled however or have little ones who must be in a pushchair, then it's not for you.
If you look at their website, you can find details about hiring a sand wheelchair which might help you to get across to the island, but of course that would be of no help in climbing to the Castle.
Perhaps go over by boat, then wander round the harbour & shops etc, & maybe take the trip around the island.
Interestingly, there is no other way up to the top. The Family in residence live at a low level & if they need to go further up to the Castle, there is no lift even for them!
Finally, don't forget it's a good idea to phone in advance to check on opening times, tide times & weather conditions etc. Its very situation leaves it open to the elements.
All being well, ENJOY!!
PS I have now received a reply to my email about the Chevy Chase room.
Apparently the room takes it name from 15th century ballads (known as border ballads) which told the story of a battle between two families on the Cheviot Hills who hunted on the hills & Chase. It was a battle between the English & the Scots who came out the winners & 1500 were killed.
The plaster freeze around the room shows various types of hunting & this is where the room gets its name.
The ballad itself has sixty plus verses and would have been told as part of the evening entertainment.
Saint Michaels Mount is the most famous landmark in Cornwall. It is a small craggy island situated 500 yards offshore and can be visited by causeway at low tide or at high tide there is a boat that will take you across from mounts harbour for a small fee. The mount features a medieval castle built in the fifteenth century to fight off attack from French pirates, a church and beautiful gardens and is still a lovely living and working community today. The mounts claim to fame is that in 1587 a beacon signal on the mount was lit to warn the rest of the country that the Spanish armada was fast approaching.
I have been to Cornwall many times and always visit St Michaels Mount; it really is a lovely place. The site it owned by the national trust and you are able to look around the castle and the surrounding gardens at a reasonable price - they even do a special family ticket. If you can visit at low tide its a lot more entertaining as you are able to walk along the causeway out to the mount which is an experience in itself, be careful though and wear sensible shoes because the rocks can be very slippery. There are great views of the Penzance coastline from the top of the mount, approximately 230ft above sea level, offering great photo opportunities.
It's a great tourist attraction for the whole family.
Opening Times: 10-30am - 5.00pm
Admission: Castle: Adult £6.00, Children £3.50, Family £16.50
Gardens: Adult £3.00, Children £1.00
Location: Marazion, near Penzance
Thanks for reading.
(This review is also posted on Ciao under the same name).
St Michaels Mount is for want of a better word an island off the coast of Cornwall, just off the coast, close to the town of Marazian. Getting there is easy as once you get to Cornwall (No mean feat if you don't like driving), but I digress, once your near to Marazian on the A30 the Mount is signposted. A word of advice of advice though is to drive past the first car park and drive into Marazian as there is a car park nearer to the Mount than this one and it was £1 not £2 as is the first. Its also a lot closer to the causeway, the town centre and the boats. Very handy if you intend to go shopping in Marazian after you?ve visited the Mount. This huge lump of rock is now owned by the National Trust but the island is open to the public at large and you only have to pay of you go across on the boats (£1 for adults) or if you wish to visit the castle. Admission to the castle is £4.60 for adults and as usual I forgot to check the price for kids! Access to the island is by either boat or by walking across the causeway which links the mainland to the island. The causeway cannot be walked over during high tide as although the water isn't very deep, 5 feet I am informed, but there are strong under currents as the tide goes out. If you have to take the boat the journey takes approximately 5 minutes and as I said before costs £1 for adults. Dogs are not permitted onto the island. Visitors should time their visit with the tides so they can walk across the causeway and tide information is available on 01736 710265. Once on the island whether you walked or got the ferry you end up in the harbour, the arrival by ferry is better as you seen the island from a better view than by walking. The harbour itself contains the Ticket office, Cinema, Sail loft restaurant, the NT shop, the gift shop and the entrance to the castle. If you wish to go to the castle and are not a National Trust member you will have t
o go to the Ticket office first and purchase your tickets, these are then shown at the castle entrance to gain entry. So you know what's on the island, but what?s the history I hear you cry? Well, originally the island was used as a Benedictine priory in the twelfth century and daughter house of the famous St Michels mount in Normandy, France. From the twelfth century the mount has been the scene of many military sieges, a well known place of pilgrimage and from 1660 until today, the home of the St Aubyn family. The entrance to the castle is quite a walk up a long and winding cobble stone path, which is definitely not suitable for pushchairs, and there are quite a few changes of floor level once you get in to the castle. If you can walk up a flight of stairs then you?ll be okay! The castle is split into many rooms each with period decoration and furniture. I am still at a loss why there is a room called the Chevy Chase room? Perhaps somebody can enlighten me? As well as the rooms the castle also has an amazing roof terrace which gives views over the island and the gardens down below. Around these balconies are cannons pointing out to sea to ward off any incoming invaders. The cinema shows a brief history of the island, the shop sells miscellaneous nik-naks and the tea rooms sell creams tea's (yum) and beverages at a reasonable price. To sum up this is a well maintained property with plenty to see and do with beautiful views. St Michaels Mount is certainly worth a visit even if its just to walk the causeway. In my opinion the views really make this a nice place to visit and the house contents where about as interesting as piles! Go for the views, they really make this place special.
St Michael's Mount opposite the village of Marazion in South Cornwall is my favourite of all National Trust properties. It is connected to the mainland by a stone causeway which was accessible only at low tide until recently when local fishermen decided to take visitors in their boats for a small fee.
The mount is 250 feet high and on top of it sits the superb castle built on the site of a Benedictine Priory. From here there are magnificent views towards Lands End and The Lizard peninsular. The mount was dedicated to St Michael after claims of miraculous sightings of the saint by local fishermen in the 5th century. It was converted into a private home in the 17th century and houses a 14th century church.
St Michael's Mount is a matching image to Mont St Michel off the Normandy coast which is also well worth a visit and was the highlight of a recent holiday in Normandy.