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
4 November – 18 December 2019
Castle Open on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays only for Guided Tours. Tours held at 10.30, 11.30, 12.30, 13.30 at 14.30
29 – 31 December 2019
Castle Open Free Flow 10.30 – 16.00
Last castle admission at 15.00
During the winter months, the Sail Loft restaurant and Courtyard Shop will be open 10.30 – 16.00 on days that the castle is open.
PLEASE NOTE: The Garden is closed for the winter
When the tide is in during the winter season, the amphibious vehicle, the St Michael, will depart from Marazion Car Park slipway. Tickets can be purchased from a mainland guide. One way fares are £3.00 for adults and £1.50 for children. The amphicraft will run, when the tide is in, between the mainland and island at 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 13:00, 14:00, 15:00 on days when the castle is open. Please note: The last public amphicraft from the island to the mainland is at 16:00.
Plastic free accredited