St Michael’s Mount is a beautiful old castle that sits atop a looming mount in Mount’s Bay Cornwall. It mirrors Mont St Michel in Brittany, and has unenviable position right at the centre of the bay, clearly visible from all sides, from Mousehole right round to Marazion.
Visiting St Michael’s Mount
We visited on a sunny day in August. At this time of the year, the Mount opens at 11am and we got there early about 10.30 thinking we’d get ahead of the crowds, but when we got there, the main 2 car parks were already full and so we parked in the overflow car park. Parking was well organised with stewards on hand to direct us.
Access to the Mount is via a causeway when the tide out, and in August, this was between 11am and 4pm roughly. At other times you can get a boat back and forth. We walked along the cobbled causeway and made our way to the Mount. It’s surprisingly large when you get there with a number of houses, alongside the estate offices, coffee shops and other facilities and of course the castle.
Lots to see and do at St Michael’s Mount
Not surprisingly, with it being August, it was busy. We queued to get our entry tickets. If you’re a National Trust Member and you make yourself known to the staff, you can get passported through and not queue, but only if you have your membership card with you. The staff at the Mount don’t have the facilities to check the NT database, so you will need to have your NT membership card.
We then made our way up to the castle up past the Giant’s well, the Giants loveheart. There was storyteller entertaining younger children on the grassy area. We queued for about 20 mins up a long windy path to actually get access to the castle but it was well worth it.
There are lookout points along the way, so you can stop for a few moments and gaze out across the expansive beautiful bay. The different colours in the sea are mesmerising. It is a bit of a climb up, at times rocky & uneven path.
The Castle at St Michael’s Mount
Having been home to monks I expected the castle to have more of a monastic feel. but I was surprised to discover that it is actually a living house, home to the St Aubyn family who still live there on a day to day basis. It’s well decorated & beautifully preserved with lots of historic artefacts.
It must be a truly magical place to live surrounded by heritage, stunning gardens & 360 degree views of the sea stretching right to the horizon. With many window seats from which to spot invaders, the odd armada, or to just sit and enjoy a book.
I was also surprised at the sheer height of the building, you don’t get a feel for just how high up the castle sits, when you drive past at a distance in the car. So probably not for feint hearted or for you if you suffer from vertigo.
The chapel is well worth a visit for the beautiful stained glass windows. Sunday services still take place in the Chapel every Sunday from late May to late September.
All these years we’ve been coming to Cornwall, we must have driven past like a million times. For me, St Michael’s Mount is a bit of a beacon, rising proudly up out into the bay, and the first thing you see when the train from Paddington finally pulls into Penzance station. I can’t believe we didn’t visit sooner, but so glad we finally did this year.
Gardens at St Michael’s Mount
The gardens weren’t open to the public on the day we visited which was a shame as from what we could see of them from the castle, they looked stunning. I’d like to come to back one day just to visit the gardens., and this time maybe take a boat over.
If you’re planning a visit, do check the St Michael’s Mount website for opening and tide times, events etc. As I mentioned, the path up to the castle can, in some places, be a bit steep, and cobbled so might not be suitable for visitors with mobility issues. Car parking for the day cost £5.00.
If you go at the right time you can walk across to St Michael’s Mount via the causeway. At other times you can get boat back and forth.
Cornwall is a beautiful county with so many places to visit. We’ve spent many Summer’s camping in Cornwall, and last Summer we spent 10 days camping in and around Land’s End. You can read more about our days out in Cornwall here
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