St. Michael's Mount - A Tour of the Castle
For admission prices and further information on group bookings and concessions please Click here or contact St. Michael's Mount, Marazion, Penzance on Tel. (01736) 710507. For Tide and Ferry information, Tel. (01736) 710265. Also online at www.stmichaelsmount.co.uk.
The island in Mount's Bay near Marazion, west of Penzance - grid ref SW515300 is thought to have been the site of the ancient island of 'Ictis'. This being the major tin exporting port of the 'Cassiterides' - the tin islands trading with the Phoenicians or Greeks of the eastern Mediterranean from about the 4th Century BC. Dedicated to the Archangel St. Michael, the Mount is approximately 400 metres offshore, and can be reached at low tide by a stone causeway. [See the writings of Diodorus - the Sicilian Greek historian of the 1st Century AD]. Local legend has a more colourful explanation: the Mount was built by, and home to, the giant 'Comoran'. He would come ashore and steal sheep and cows from the mainland and return to the Mount to eat his meal. He was supposedly killed by a local boy, later called Jack - the Giant Killer.
The building on the Mount is actually is a Benedictine Priory built by Bernard of Le Bec, Abbot of Mont St. Michel (Normandy), in 1135. The Priory marks the southernmost part of the St. Michael's Way in Cornwall - A route for pilgrims from Ireland to St. Ives on through St. Uny Lelant to the Mount and thence on to Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain. It stands 230 feet above sea level and dominates the whole area. Home to the St. Aubyn family since 1659, previous owners of the Mount included Sir Francis Basset and the Earl of Salisbury - Sir Robert Cecil. Access to the Mount is by Causeway on foot at low tide or by boat [fare about £1.50 each way] when the Causeway is covered.
Please note dependent on the state of the tide, boats may leave from any of the THREE embarkation points on the mainland for the island...these are Top Tieb, Gwelva or Chapel Rock. If in doubt, ask!
You can explore the Castle and Grounds in season, buy a postcard at the shop and post it in the Victorian postbox (No. 119 St. Michaels Mount). There is a small cafe here open most days throughout the year offering excellent hot drinks for the weary walker. If the tide has turned when you are ready to return there are normally ferries running back to the mainland....Check the noticeboard near the harbour or ring (01736) 710265 for details. The Mount is open on Mondays, Wednesday & Fridays between November and March for those 'out-of-season' visitors, with guided tours at 11am, 12pm, 2pm & 3pm. It is suggested that you telephone before you travel as day to day arrangements may vary.