St Michael’s Mount – our own special island
Most people in the UK won’t have heard of Marazion, but many will recognise the iconic shape of St Michael’s Mount, our very own fairytale island and castle. The mount is connected to the sandy beaches of Marazion by a winding causeway, covered for most of the day by the tides.
A fascinating history
Thousands of years ago, the island was a busy port, trading tin with Europe and is widely believed that the island was known to the ancient Greeks as Ictis. In 495, St Michael is said to have been seen by fishermen on top of the island and by the sixth century, it is thought that the island was a major religious centre.
An abbey was built on top of the island and granted to the Benedictine monks from Mont St Michel in France. Through the Middle Ages, the island was a major destination for pilgrims. Subsequently, it has seen several battles for its ownership. In 1588, the first beacon was lit on St Michael’s Mount to warn of the arrival of the Spanish Armada – seven years later, the Spanish returned and burned most of Penzance, Newlyn, Mousehole and Paul. Marazion and the Mount escaped unscathed from the invasion.
In 1659, St Michael’s Mount was purchased by Colonel John St Aubyn (he had been the last military governor of the island’s garrison) and it became the private home of the St Aubyn family who still live there today. In 1954, the Mount was gifted to the National Trust by the St Aubyn family, and is now managed by both the National Trust and the St Aubyn family, who work together in a unique partnership that supports the Mount’s vibrant island community, continuing a remarkable legacy of life and activity which has existed since prehistoric times.
Since 1954, the National Trust is responsible for the Mount’s conservation and upkeep, and the St Aubyn family run the Mount day to day and open it to the public, welcoming you to discover their extraordinary island home.
St Michael’s Mount today
Follow the footsteps of the pilgrims across the causeway or take a ferry boat to the island where you can discover a castle full of myths and legends, fabulous sub-tropical gardens and a real working island community.
The island is always open, subject to the tide of course.
The castle is often floodlit on Summer evenings, make sure you try and see it. The lights, especially reflected in a calm sea, make it appear as if it is floating in the air.
Winter opening times – 28 October 2017 to 16 March 2018
Please note that St Michael’s Mount is CLOSED from Sunday 29 October 2017 to Friday 16 March 2018.
St Michael’s Mount will be OPEN to visitors for the 2018 season from Sunday 18 March 2018.
This winter we are completing our services project to bring the island up to date with 21st century services and technology that will benefit our visitors and the island community. This includes upgrading the castle pipes and drains for mains water, grey water and sewerage.
We will not stop people crossing to the island when the causeway is open. However, please note that there are NO FACILITIES OPEN, and due to extensive building work being undertaken on the island, there may be heavy plant equipment crossing on the causeway and in the village areas.
Please take care and note the causeway closing times as there are no public boats to or from the island during this period of closure.