Castle in the Sea.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

St. Michael's Mount off the south coast of Marazion near Penzance is one of those dreamy bucket list destinations. If you type Cornwall in to just about any search engine or Pinterest, you'll find countless images of this mysterious and magic-like castle looming from the sea. 

As soon as I saw it peeking up over hills and houses through the bus window, I couldn't help but feel butterflies of excitement. Photos really don't show just how massive and impressive this island and castle are in person - it was like stepping into a Disney movie! It's a medieval CASTLE on an ancient island IN the ocean. Come on. 

At high tide, boats regularly ferry back and forth from the shore right onto the island's tiny harbour. A one-way fare is £2 for adults which is a bit steep for a 60 second boat ride, but hey...if there ever was an example of supply and demand in motion. There's no other way to get to the mount at high tide without a boat unless you're up for a swim!

The island has way more to it than just the castle that sits atop the hill. The harbour area is dotted with gift shops, a few cafes, and to my surprise - homes. The population of the National Trust -owned parish is around 30, and I'm assuming most of them work for the mount.

Before making my way up to the mount I stopped at a cafe for a classic cream tea, I was in Cornwall after all! I shoved my pride aside and did my scones jam-first, wondering if I'm just a Devon girl at heart...

The trail up to the castle is relatively steep and uneven, but it wasn't too bad as there were plenty of things to stop and look at on the way. Dating back to the 12th century, St. Michael's Mount is steeped in folklore and history. Legend has it that King Arthur slayed a giant on these shores and this location also emerged through the story of Jack the Giant Killer. 

The Giant's Heart, a not-giant heart shaped stone embedded in the path. Legend says if you stand on this stone and stay still, you'll be able to hear the giant's beating heart. No such luck, but I did hear some seagulls. 

The fortress has been used for centuries, from Richard I to the War of Roses, the Cornish Rebellion, the English Civil War, and much more. Even a high-ranking Nazi official had their eye on it during World War II as a potential place to live. 

As the day went on and low tide started to appear, you could slowly see the causeway starting to emerge from the ocean. During your visit through the fortresses many rooms, you are prompted with friendly guides that answer any questions you have an accompanying pamphlets to break down all the facts and figures about the objects in the room. 

A piece of Napoleon Bonaparte's hair and a bit of his sash he wore at the Battle of Waterloo.

There are a few outside terraced areas that overlook the sea and town, including a look down over the meticulously manicured gardens. They weren't open during my visit, but I bet they are busy during the warmer months. 

A model of St. Michael's Mount made entirely out of champagne corks. My type of people. 

Good to know the Queen and I can share shoes. 

By the time I had moseyed my way up, down, and all around the island, low tide had arrived and the granite causeway was open for walking. Part of it was damaged during a bad storm a few years ago, hence the construction vehicles ruining the whole "mystical castle vibe" in some of these photos.

The teeny town of Marazion didn't have much going on while I was there, a few shops here and there and not a bunch of people out, but it was worth a quick walk through for the quaint doors and charming town hall alone. 

A car ride from St. Ives will take you a mere 20 mins. However, being vehicle-less, I took the bus which clocked in a little less than an hour from bus stop to bus stop including 1 change. If you aren't familiar with the bus system it would be incredibly confusing and maybe worth a taxi if you're splitting it with friends, but luckily I've had enough fails with the countryside buses where I have a few tricks up my sleeve to get me from A to B. 

A day spent out at St. Michael's Mount can't be missed if you find yourself in Cornwall!

Post a Comment

Latest Instagrams

Disqus for

© What the Elle. Design by Fearne.