Have you ever been to St. Michaels Mount?
It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve visited in my life and how many times I’ve driven past, just seeing St. Michaels Mount in the distance is magical. If it’s not already on your bucket list, then it should be. It truly is a must visit.
If you’re not heard about it before, St. Michaels Mount is a famous castle that sits in the sea just off Marazion in Cornwall. Steeped in history, myth and legend, there are many tales to hear about this family home and once monastery.
The Tale Of St. Michaels Mount
Legend says it was once home to a giant, but history weaves a different tale of this war surviving, ancient castle. All of this can be found out as you step inside the historic rooms on the Mount.
My favourite of them all, and a story that I’ve now passed down to my daughter, is that it was once home to a giant!
Of course it wasn’t, but even the mount has embraced the myth and has immersive ‘giant’ seeking spots all the way up to the top. Here’s Evie pretending to be a giant, holding up the mount.
St. Michaels Mount sits a little bit away from the mainland. If you’ve never been to the mount before, there are two ways to arrive. During low tide it can be reached by a cobbled causeway and during high tide, weather dependant, it can be reached by boat.
We were lucky to arrive at low tide, so we could spend some time playing on the beach before we made our way across the causeway. The beach is full of little stones and sea glass. It makes a great spot to stop and look for treasure.
After finding some gold, Evie quickly became immersed in her adventure to find giants. As she stomped towards St. Michaels Mount, she kept turning around to make sure that her giant shadow friend was following her.
Lunch At St. Michaels Mount
Over the causeway, St. Michaels Mount looks like any other seaside village in Cornwall. It is home to a little hamlet of houses and a cute little harbour full of local fishing boats.
It’s not until you turn around and look up, that you realise you’re somewhere really special. Before we started our ascent to the castle, we stopped off for a light lunch in the ‘Sail Lofts’ cafe. There are two cafes to choose from on the grounds and a couple of shops to explore as well.
The Sail Loft does a whole range of sandwiches and baguettes, as well as hot food like soups and jacket potatoes. We weren’t bowled over by the menu choices, but it was enough to fill us up and send us on our way.
After lunch, our giant adventure truly began. We started our climb to the castle, meeting some of the local cats along the way, and keeping our eyes peeled for any giants.
It’s a long uphill walk to the castle, which can be a nightmare with a toddler. But the journey is broken up by lots of things to see. During summer there are activities available on the lawn and all year around, the staff offer you ‘hipsters’ to wear, which makes carrying little ones a lot easier as no prams are allowed.
The Giant Of St. Michaels Mount
Cornish legend has it that a fearsome giant called Cormoran built and lived on St. Michaels Mount. Slain by a local lad who was hereafter known as Jack the Giant Killer, Cormoran’s remains are said to be at the bottom of ‘The Giant’s Well’. In real life castle history, this well was actually the main source of water for use in the Castle up until 100 years ago.
The myth of the giant who once lived here is so lovely for children. Evie was convinced the giant was still in this ‘well’ and had to stop on both the way up and the way down to check on him. She was very disappointed that he couldn’t come out and play.
The little stopping points on the way up, are great for kids imaginations and they break up the journey and make the steep hill climb, a lot more doable.
We particularly loved stopping by ‘The Giants Heart. This took me back to my own childhood when my dad used to say to us; ‘If you stand on the heart and put your hand over your chest, you can feel the giants heartbeat.’
I found that so magical when I was little, it’s only now that I’m older that I’ve realised I was actually feeling my own heartbeat.
A heart shaped stone marks the spot of ‘The Giant’s Heart’. But it’s a little bit tricky to find, in amongst the other stones. It is said (by my dad and others) that when you stand on the stone with your hand on your heart, you can still hear the faint thudding of the giants heartbeat from where it’s buried in the granite far below.
Even as a local, I still find the views on the climb up breathtaking. There is something so incredible about seeing the coastline like this, especially on a warm, sunny day when you can see just that little bit further.
All the way up to the front doors of the castle there are picture points like this, where you can just stop and admire the scenery.
On the day we visited, so many people were sitting down basking in the sun and just enjoying the views. It was such a perfect day, you wouldn’t even believe it was October.
Our giant adventure, took us right up to the castle and in through the doors. The castle is open to the public 6 days a week, sometimes less, dependent on the weather.
Inside St. Michaels Mount
Did you know that the majority of the castle is still a private home? You actually don’t get to see much of the inside of St. Michaels Mount. But, you do get to see enough to enjoy the experience.
Inside you get to see the drawing rooms, a formal dining room, a smoking room, the library, a garrison room, plus a church and a little bit more. You don’t get to see any bedrooms, bathrooms or the kitchens, but as the mount is still lived in, most of the castle is private. It must be incredible to live here!
Inside, you are met with grand, but smallish rooms, so in keeping with the castle. Even though there is a guide in each room to give you information about what you see, we decided to make it more fun for Evie and made up our own stories about the castle, and the giants that once lived here.
Each room seamlessly interconnects with the next. No matter how busy it is, you can easily flow through and not miss anything. We were lucky to come on such a quiet day and ended up having most of the rooms to ourselves.
Each room feels so ancient and is steeped in family, Cornish and world history. What always amazes me though, is that for a castle, it is surprisingly warm and cosy throughout.
Halfway through the tour of the rooms, you end up outside on the very top of the castle. It’s here on the South Terrace that you get the best views across the English Channel and down the Cornish coast. You can walk around the outside and can see 360 degree views of the sea and the mainland behind you. And the views, are breathtaking.
It’s hard to believe that the mount was once connected to the mainland. From up here we could see that the tide was already coming in. It wouldn’t be long till the causeway would be no longer accessible.
After a good look around the castle, we didn’t find any giants, we headed back down to the causeway. We were just in time! The tide came sweeping across while we were half way down. We just about managed to jump across as the water started lapping over the middle.
Within a few minutes of stepping across, the whole causeway was under a small layer of sea. The people who were behind us had to turn back and wait for the boats to start. I couldn’t get over just how quickly the tide cuts the castle off from the mainland.
But, if it ever happens to you, it’s still such an experience getting to take a boat ride, either to the castle or back to the mainland.
Have you ever been to St. Michaels Mount before? What’s your favourite spot in Cornwall? Let me know below!