St Michael’s Mount Penzance
National Trust
Marazion
Cornwall TR17 0HS
 
 

St Michael’s Mount just off the coast of Cornwall begs to be visited.  The small rocky island is crowned by a medieval castle and church. At low tide a cobbled causeway connects the mainland at Marazion with the island.  As the tide comes in the causeway disappears and the only way back is by boat. 
 
The island is a fascinating mixture of private home, sub-tropical terraced gardens, village community and historical monument.  St Michael's Mount is still owned by the St Aubyn family, but visitor access is controlled by the National Trust (NT). 
 
The present church was built in the 15th century on top of the earlier priory church. It has a splendid alabaster reredos and a magnificent stained glass rose window.  In one angle of the embattled tower, is a small turret, which served for the guidance of ships.  A beacon was lit here to warn of the approach of The Spanish Armada
 
The castle is the official residence of Lord St Leven.  Many relics, chiefly armour and antique furniture, are preserved in the castle. 
 
Challenging causeway and cobbled path walk
The island is only 400 yards (366 metres) off the coast but the cobbled causeway and the steep cobbled paths on the island make the walk quite challenging so wear sensible shoes.  The paths are not suitable for prams or wheelchairs. 
 
Because there is much to see and do on the island be prepared to spend a day visiting.  This means that at least one way will be by boat, weather permitting.  It is advisable to telephone 01736 710265 to check whether it is safe to cross to the island.   As can be seen, it is going to be an adventurous day out. 
 
Accommodation - Search & Book through Expedia here:    External Link
 
History 
Prior to the 11th century the island and Mount’s Bay were part of the mainland.  From 350 BC the Mount was a key port for the trading of tin to the rest of Europe. In 495 AD a vision of the Archangel St Michael appeared on the Mount and a monastery was built. 
 
According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle the sea breached the coast in 1199 and flooded the wooded valley to form the bay and isolate the Mount. Apparently inundations had occurred in previous centuries. 
 
St Michael's Mount originally French Owned
Around 1070 William the Conqueror granted the Mount to the Benedictine monks of Mont St Michel in France. The oldest buildings on the island are the 12th century remains of the Benedictine priory. 
 
As an alien monastery, St Michael’s Mount was the focus of numerous struggles by English earls to wrest it from French control.  In 1424 King Henry VI granted St Michael’s Mount to Syon Abbey.  In 1548 during the reign of King Edward VI the monastery was dissolved and the Mount clergy pensioned off. 
 
St Michael’s Mount was sold by Queen Elizabeth I to Sir Robert Cecil.  He sold it to Sir Francis Bassett whose brother held it for the Royalists during the English Civil War until overcome by the Parliamentarians in 1646. 
 
In 1647 Colonel John St Aubyn was made Captain of the island.  Twelve years later he purchased the island to make it his private home and it has remained in the family ever since.  The medieval harbour was rebuilt in 1727 and around 1770 the ruined Lady Chapel was converted into two drawing rooms. 
 
The family now lives in the Victorian Wing of the castle (built 1873-78).  Most of the estate staff, gardeners and boatmen live on the island in the village surrounding its harbour. 
 
Plan Your Visit
Accommodation - Search & Book through Booking.com here:   External Link

 

 
Opening Dates and Times
- Castle
Admission is by guided tour only.
Summer (April-October):   Tours every day except Saturday. Last admission 45 minutes before closing.

Winter (November-March): Closed.
Call Estate Office   Tel: +44 (0)1736 710 507 for details
 
- Gardens
Summer (April-October):   Thursday & Friday10:30-17:30 hours
 
Winter (November-March): Closed.
Call Estate Office for details

Check National Trust website (link below) for further information.
 
Admission Costs
Check National Trust website for costs.
 
Facilities
Note: There is no accommodation available on the island.
Toilets
National Trust shop and Island shop (not National Trust).
Refreshments (Not National Trust) at The Sail Loft Restaurant and The Island Café - both licensed.
 
Disabled Access
- Limited Access
It is a steep climb to the castle up cobbled and uneven paths with no handrails.  Paths are not suitable for wheelchairs.  Passageways in the castle are very narrow and there are many steps. A Sandchair is available for loan by arrangement. Please check the National Trust website for further details.
 
Contact & Further Information
Telephone   +44 (0)1736 710 507
Telephone   +44 (0)1736 710 265 (tide information/general enquiries)
Website   St Michael's Mount Website    External Link
 
Getting There
The National Trust website has a Map and excellent Web:   'National Trust How to get here' information    External Link
 
- By Car
The causeway to St Michael's Mount is half a mile (800 metres) south (off the A394) at Marazion. 
 
- Parking
There is ample parking in Marazion opposite St Michael's Mount . It is privately operated and there is a charge. National Trust Members are not admitted free.
 
- By Ferry
When the tide is in, you can take a trip on the St Michael's Mount amphibious vehicle, which leaves from the Slipway car-park in Marazion. For details of boats, call Tel:  +44 (0)1736 710507 or visit Web:  St Michael's Mount/ getting here    External Link
 
Google Map - St Michael's Mount