Explore St Michael’s Mount, a quaint tidal island in Mount’s Bay, near Marazion and Penzance. Uniquely situated 500 metres from shore, it’s only accessible by foot during low tide along a man-made granite walkway. With a population of 30 this island has beautiful gardens, a charming harbour as well as a medieval castle and a church that was first constructed in the 12th Century by French monks.
Stoop through ancient doorways and glimpse the castle’s changing faces, from priory to fort, iconic castle to family home. Wander century-old corridors and unravel the history of the St Aubyn family, who have lived here since the 17th century. Discover treasures from the Mount’s past, from religious roots to times of siege and conflict.
Despite the gales and salty winds, the Gulf Stream tempers the climate on the Mount so that frosts are a rarity and the rock acts as a gigantic radiator – absorbing heat by day and releasing it at night, creating a micro climate in which all sorts of unlikely plants flourish. Puya, agave and aloe rear out of the bedrock, agapanthus wave their heavy heads, and binding threads of rosemary, lavender and coronilla tumble down the terraces.
Eating – Sail Loft
Set in the island’s old sail loft on the fringe of the village, the cafe looks out over the ancient island harbour. The Sail Loft, with the influence of head chef and avid forager, Gregory Milne, has embraced the local, seasonal and sustainable ethos of St Michael’s Mount’s food and beverage offerings.
The Sail Loft serves a wide selection of light lunches, home-made breads and cakes, as well as daily specials, using the best local, seasonal and sustainable ingredients. Enjoy tucking into a dish of fresh, locally landed fish, seasoned with herbs from their very own Kitchen Garden. Or treat yourself to our Cornish sharing platter and enjoy a variety of produce that our area has to offer, from home baked ham, local cheese, mackerel pate, homemade chutney, salad and crusty bread.
Eating – Island Café
Located on the eastern side of the island, near to the garden entrance, is the Island Cafe, with an indoor dining area and the ever-popular outdoor area. With the outdoor seating offering expansive sea views towards Marazion, the interior of the café is now host to a refreshed look. Once the castle laundry, the building has since been transformed, with further renovations having taken place over the winter months. Start your morning with a breakfast roll and pot of coffee – fuel for the day ahead. Or pop in at midday and enjoy a wholesome, traditional Cornish pasty.
Shopping – Island Shop
Once housing the Mount’s barges, the Island Shop has now been transformed into a gift shop boasting a variety of products. If you are searching for melt in your mouth Cornish fudge, nautical lifestyle gifts reflecting our location, a swashbuckling gift for the little one, or Marazion made mead, to name a few, you have come to the right place.
Shopping – Courtyard Shop
Located in the old blacksmith’s forge, the Courtyard Shop hosts a large range of local books, artisan gifts designed by Cornish artists, handmade jewellery, preserves made on the Mount, and two of their bespoke ranges, including the Illustrated Garden and 1793 Collection.
The Barge House Visitor Centre is located on the harbour front. This facility opened in 2016 and was designed and built in partnership with the National Trust, and is a focal point for all of our visitors, in particular those who are unable to take the climb to the castle, or around the garden. The Barge House offers a window into the beauty and spirit of the Mount, and provides valuable insight into the Mount’s history and geography.
Find the castles opening times here.