St Michael’s Mount was one of the places I was most looking forward to visiting on my Cornwall trip, so you can probably imagine how disappointed I was that the weather turned out to be so awful on the day we visited.
If you are not familiar with St Michael’s Mount, it’s a small tidal island in Mount’s Bay, home to a working community of local people, as well as an iconic medieval castle. The island is linked by a granite causeway which is only accessible during low tide. At high tide there are ferries that run back and forth between the island.
This is what it would look like on a beautiful summers day:
(Image source: Flickr)
And this is what it looked like when I visited:
When we pulled up to the car park, the National Trust attendant informed us that the tide was coming in so if we wanted to walk across to visit the castle we’d have to move pretty quickly. I would have been better off taking the above photo before visiting the castle as we had a clearer view then, but I didn’t think we had enough time. Unfortunately by the time we left the fog had rolled in so the castle wasn’t even visible anymore.
It was a pretty miserable walk across to the island, and then up the hill to reach the castle. I was glad I had invested in a pair of Hunter wellies before the trip! It was a relief when we finally made it inside and had the opportunity to dry off.
The castle is still home to the St Aubyn family. When Francis St Aubyn gave most of St Michael’s Mount to the National Trust in 1954 he retained a 999 year lease for the family to live in the castle and a licence to show the historical rooms to the visiting public.
Usually the gardens are open in summer but unfortunately not on the day we visited, so we had to settle for admiring them from above.
Before the fog rolled in the view was still pretty clear…
But still incredibly wet!
In addition to visiting the castle you can also explore the Mount’s village, which is home to 35 islanders. Guided tours of the village and harbour are run twice daily and had the weather been a bit better I think this would have been a great way to learn more about the families living here and the history of the village.
Hopefully one day I’ll be back in this part of Cornwall and will have a chance to re-visit St Michael’s Mount under better conditions!
- St Michael’s Mount is usually open Sunday-Fri between March and October. It is closed on Saturdays (like most places in Cornwall!). Visits are dependent on weather and sea conditions.
- Entry is free for National Trust members, otherwise its £9 to visit the castle, or £12.50 to visit the castle and gardens
- There is a designated car park in the town of Marazion which is clearly signposted. Parking charges apply, even for National Trust members
- Paths around the island are steep, cobbled and uneven so sturdy footwear is a must
- A ferry service operates at high tide. A one-way fare costs £2 for adults and you can buy the ticket on the boat