Discover a magical castle in the sea….our expert’s guide to visiting St Michael’s Mount.
Picture this: you’ve just returned to your luxury holiday cottage after a day you’ll never forget…you’ve crossed the ocean to a magical island, heard intriguing tales of Cornish history, hunted for sea-life and had a lovely time on Marazion beach before enjoying a tasty meal in a seaside restaurant. As Cornish holiday experts, we’re happy to let you into a little secret about St Michael’s Mount.
In West Cornwall, there’s a magical castle on an island surrounded by the sea! If you’re planning the itinerary for your family holiday to Cornwall, the National Trust’s St Michael’s Mount, should be at the top of your bucket list.
Read to the end to find out why St Michael’s Mount is a must-see attraction for your family holiday in Cornwall, what events are taking place at the mount this summer and details of how you can plan your visit.
What makes St Michael’s Mount so magical?
A visit to this amazing Cornish attraction near Marazion will be an unforgettable experience for the whole family. Across the cobbled causeway, an historic castle and beautiful exotic gardens are just waiting to be discovered.
St Michael’s Mount is an enchanting place, steeped in medieval history and intriguing tales. Start your adventure at Marazion, near Penzance, where there is a spacious car park, a children’s play area and a beautiful beach, perfect for enjoying an ice cream with a view.
Your onward journey will very much depend on the tide times: if the tide is low you can cross the sea on the giant’s causeway and at high tide you can venture across the waters by boat.
Whether you make the crossing by ferry or on foot, the views will be breathtaking, so don’t forget your camera!
When is the best time to visit St Michael’s Mount?
If you want to include St Michael’s Mount in your family holiday itinerary, the summer holiday is the best time to visit. Throughout August, there’s a plethora of events taking place in the castle, in the gardens and on the beach. Your young adventurers will be in for a treat during the school holidays when the varied event schedule will keep them busy and fuel their imaginations.
On Tuesdays in August, listen to tales of fishermen and treasure maps, which will inspire the kids to get crafty with different materials. On Fridays they can discover wildlife by taking part in the rockpooling event to hunt for hermit crabs, starfish and other interesting creatures living in the sparkling waters surrounding the mount. On Sundays, the little ones can listen to stories about Cormoran the Giant and get creative with crafting their own giants.
A wonderful team of narrators will entertain visitors with intriguing stories, bringing history and folklore to life every afternoon in August on the lawn. These half an hour story-telling sessions will fill both children and adults with wonder: tales of giants and mythical creatures based on Cornish myths and legends. Best of all, events are included in entry to the castle, so you’ll have more cash left to splash out on a family meal!
If you’re planning a romantic break in Cornwall, or simply want to escape the crowds, September and October are the perfect months to visit the mount. There is more space to explore, the weather is still mild and autumnal Cornish sunsets are spectacular.
How many magic coins does St Michael’s Mount cost? St Michael’s Mount Prices
Family entry to the castle is £25, or just £37.50 if you would like to visit the castle gardens as well. You can find details of all admission prices here.
If you’re wondering whether or not to include the gardens in your visit, just take a look at the image below….all sorts of unlikely plants grow in the garden, due to the sub-tropical climate created by the Gulf Stream and the warmth of the rock which absorbs the heat during the day and radiates the warmth out during the night.
You can pick up a leaflet to discover more about why the castle gardens are so unique, and an I-Spy card to help children learn about sub-tropical species.
Is a magic carpet needed to travel to St Michael’s Mount? How to cross the St Michael’s Mount causeway
No magic carpet needed; the mount is accessible by foot or by boat, depending on the tides. The Mount is usually open from 10.30am-5pm , although it is closed on Saturdays. It’s worth checking the specific dates before you visit; and you’ll want to check the St Michael’s Mount tide times and causeway opening times too, so you can plan your journey to the mount.
Don’t worry if you miss the closing of the causeway, you won’t be stranded! A regular boat service takes visitors over to the mount and back for a small fee of £2 per adult or £1 per child per per journey.
This service runs every day except on Saturdays, when the mount is also closed. The castle, shops and cafe are open every day except Saturday. It is also worth noting that dogs are welcome on the island, on a lead, but are not able to go into the castle, grounds or gardens.
Before you cross the sea to the magical castle, you need to get to the beautiful Cornish town of Marazion. If you’re arriving in by car, there is a large car park close to the mount which is cash only, or if you are travelling by rail, the closest train station is Penzance. Take the St Ives branch line to St Erth and then catch a westbound train to Penzance. Both of these routes go through spectacular scenery, so be sure to look out the window!
There are also Cornwall Explorer bus services from Penzance, Newlyn, Porthcurno, Lands End, Sennen, St Ives and Marazion.
Do we need to bring our own magic beans to eat? Restaurants on St Michael’s Mount and nearby
Your island adventures will probably work up a bit of an appetite, but you don’t even need to leave the island to get refreshments; you can enjoy local Corish produce at the Sail Loft restaurant or in the Island Cafe.
Indulge in an ice cream or cream tea or sample a delicious Cornish pasty or some fresh seafood. If you would rather dine away from the island, whilst still enjoying stunning views of the mount, try the Godolphin Arms or the Cutty Sark Restaurant in Marazion, or check out the famous Waterside Meadery in Penzance.
How can we make the rest of our holiday just as magical? More adventures in West Cornwall
Once you’ve explored the mount, why not continue your adventure and view the island from a different perspective? Ocean High Watersports offer stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking and kiteboarding, with something to suit all age groups or abilities.
What could be better than enjoying views of the mount from the water? Alternatively, you could walk or cycle the waterside pathway from Marazion to Penzance, where you can go for a dip in the Jubilee Pool, explore the shopping centre or embark on a boat trip with Mermaid Pleasure Trips.
To complete your Cornish bucket list, we suggest a visit to the Minack Theatre, a day out at Land’s End and a walk around the traditional Cornish fishing villages of Newlyn and Mousehole, where you’re sure to find souvenirs to remember your special holiday, as well as opportunities for taking plenty of seaside snaps.
If you’re happier staying in and around St Ives, you can take a boat trip out to Seal Island or across St Ives Bay towards Godrevy Lighthouse. Paradise Park in Hayle is a great family day out, or if you’re blessed with wall to wall sunshine, you probably won’t want to leave the gorgeous sandy beaches of St Ives.
If you haven’t yet booked your luxury cottage, browse our handpicked selection of cottages in St Ives and the surrounding areas and start planning your holiday to Cornwall.