Cross the rocky causeway to reach the fairytale castle of Michaels Mount and the extraordinary maritime garden nestled on its own rugged island. Many visitors come to see the fortress that dominates the view from all around Penzance, but few realise the beautiful gardens that await discovery when you lean over the castle walls. The gardens rise from the sea to the foot of the castle, taking steps up the terraces and climbing steep slopes to the grand fortress looming above. Tender and beautiful plants from the southern hemisphere flourish here in the face of the harsh conditions, and the plethora of species are to be found.
St Michael’s Mount is 3 miles east of Penzance and is one of the treasures of Cornwall. Set on an island a few hundred yards off-shore from the ancient town of Marazion and in the heart of Mounts Bay, the castle – now owned by the National Trust – has for centuries been the home of the St Aubyn family. Originally, the building was a Benedictine Priory which had religious links with the equally famous Mont St Michel in Normandy, France. Today, the Island and Castle are open to the public every weekday and most weekends during the summer and on a limited basis during the winter. While access to the island is easy at low tide when the granite causeway is opened for pedestrian crossings, there are ferry boat services running at high tide during the summer.
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