I have a confession to make. I watch way too much Walking Dead (if such a limit exists). So much so that when I recently went to St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall I couldn’t help but think how perfect it would be as a place to escape to should the zombie apocalypse happen.
For those of you who have never been, St Michael’s Mount is a tidal island just off of the coast of Marazion (Cornwall) with a man-made causeway that joins the two. The causeway isn’t always available and once the tide comes in the causeway disappears leaving the teeny tiny island, that houses one heck of a castle, completely surrounded by beautiful, but very cold, water.
After waking up in the Air Bnb, I stared out of the window and watched as the sea mist dissipated, the sun began to rise and St Michael’s Mount slowly came into focus. It stood there magnificently above the layer of early morning mist and I just knew it was a place I had to visit.
So after whipping up some breakfast I grabbed my camera and set off to explore. I parked at a nearby car park and took a lovely, but extraordinarily windy stroll along the beach to the causeway. The tide was in when I got there which meant I had to take a long and harrowing sea voyage to get to the island… And by long and harrowing I mean it took a rather pleasant four-minute journey to get across.
The boat pulled into the harbour and we all scrambled out of the boat eager to explore, placing the £2 fee into the hands of the Captain as we left his vessel.
Upon disembarking, I was immediately swept along by the wind making the walk towards the castle that little bit easier. Unfortunately, that’s where the ease ended.
The walk to the castle is all up hill, and whilst I don’t mind walking and I’m not unfit, I am incredibly clumsy and the path to the castle is almost entirely cobbled… Which made for a very comical walk to the top!
The shutterbug in me couldn’t resist making multiple stops at the various elevations, so it took a short while to get to the top, but the walk itself was actually quite pleasant. It’s in no way friendly for disabled visitors, but there are a bunch of handrails to assist the *ahem* clumsy amongst us.
After taking way too many photos of the canons and spending a bit too much time discussing whether the canons worked and if in fact, they would actually be a decent weapon against the zombie invasion, I eventually made it into the castle.
Walking inside was like a step back in time because many of the original features have been preserved and old battle armour was displayed for the masses to see. For me, the outside is where the castle really shines though.
Beautiful architecture looking over the most beautiful of gardens makes it the perfect place for a shutterbug to do their thang, especially as the sub-tropical gardens are just as impressive when viewed from above. Dating back to the 14th century the castle is not only rich in history and folklore, but it’s also incredibly rich in beauty and boasts the best panoramic views of Cornwall’s coastline.
After roaming around the courtyard and admiring the beautiful stained-glass windows in the chapel, I hopped down the cobbled stones to explore the gardens.
St Michael’s Mount has been in the St Levan family since 1659 but was handed over to the National Trust in 1954 by Lord St Levan. Rumour has it that the mount was once a hub of trade and the recent unearthing of bronze-age artefacts has further cemented that belief.
There are three pillboxes on the island which were once seen as an eyesore by the St. Levan grandparents, but they had a functional purpose as they were used as bunkers for soldiers in the Second World War. But nowadays they’re covered in moss and the windows inside act as a frame to the most beautiful of landscapes.
The grounds of St Michael’s Mount are huge and each section of the garden is based upon a different elevation making it the most beautiful place to wander around on a sunshine-filled day.
After stopping for a bite to eat I saw the ominous dark clouds rolling in and figured it was a good time to head back to the mainland. And even though as I jumped on the (open-top!) boat the heavens opened and I got thoroughly drenched… it was a beautiful way to spend an afternoon. So if you’re ever in Cornwall I highly recommend a visit to St Michael’s Mount!
Location: St Michael’s Mount, Marazion, Cornwall.
Price: Castle and Ground Access: £11.50 Ferry: £2 one way.