Where better to start our 2023 blog than at St Michael’s Mount!
It is one of Cornwall’s most famous landmarks and is one of our favourite destinations with our students.
So to St Michael’s Mount…
Situated in Mount’s Bay, St Michael’s Mount has a long history rich in legend and with links to its sister island Mont St Michel, 200 miles away off the coast of France.
Both sites were said to have been visited by St Michael and are part of a long tradition of early churches and monasteries being located in isolated places with their origins going back over thousands of years.
St Michael’s Mount is a tidal island which creates an ever-changing landscape to navigate across the 200 metres to the island.
At low tide, you can walk along the causeway to reach the Mount. And then, as the tide comes in, there is a regular boat service to carry you across the short stretch of water. For those who like a little more of a challenge, it is fun to walk the causeway as the tide comes in with the water around your feet!
Once on the mount, the target is the Chapel of St Michael.
This is the oldest building on the island and dates back to at least the 15th Century. Over the years, the castle like house has been built around the chapel. Walking around its rooms is fascinating and there are always new stories to discover. Throughout the building, you will find National Trust guides who love telling you stories of what has happened in these rooms over the past 500+ years.
In its history it has been visited by kings and queens, including Queen Elizabeth II in 2013. In fact, her footprints have been left in gold near the harbour so you can follow in her footsteps!
The journey up to the castle takes you up an ancient pathway, you feel like you are stepping back in time as you pass through the garden up to the mount.
For those with keen eyes, look out for the Giant’s Heart, embedded in the rocky path.
Legend has it that this is the heart of Cormoran the Giant who caused havoc with the local community in Penzance and Marazion. Eventually, a local lad – Jack the Giant Killer – sorted out the giant once and for all and the people could live in peace again. (Read more about Jack & Cormoran here: https://cornishbirdblog.com/a-giants-heart/)
Once you’re past the giant’s heart, it is not much further to get to the top of the Mount. The amazing views across the bay open up. With Penzance in the distance, it is one of the most beautiful views in the world. Relax and soak it all in. While exploring the house, look out of the windows to see how the views change. And then at the top of the castle, of course, the best views of all.
Our tour of St Michael’s Mount takes around four hours. This gives you plenty of time to walk around the Mount, explore the castle and also enjoy an ice-cream in the garden.
There’s also time to relax on the beach and enjoy a little wander around Marazion if you would like to.