I’m becoming a regular at St Michael’s Mount! I’ve written about this stunning island castle before, but even though this was my third visit it was unlike any other. As we visited during the week, I got to see the St Michael’s Mount gardens for the first time. The castle also changes so much with the weather and tides (at high tide it’s an island, low tide it’s at the end of a cobblestone causeway on the beach) that no trip is the same.
But let’s rewind to the beginning: a long train journey from Plymouth to Penzance, and we arrived at the shore of St Michael’s Mount in gale force wind, heavy fog, drizzling rain, and with rather doubtful attitudes…
Luckily the Godolphin Arms, a great hotel and three story restaurant with huge glass windows overlooking the Mount, was open for business. We settled down for some ginger beers and lunch to warm us up and wait out the rain…
^^ can barely see the castle!!
^^ Dreaming of an Isles of Scilly trip someday…
^^ gluten free hamburger available!
^^ local crab caught in Newlynn Cornwall
And as we finished up the last of our hamburger (me) and crab sandwich (my mom) we looked out the window to see the sun blazing through!
The tide was still high (and the wind still blowing) so for the first time ever I took the ferry out to the island instead of walking the causeway. Only £1.50, but the tiny boat seriously rocked with each wave on the short journey. In fact, they canceled the ferry right after our trip across because the water was so choppy!
Happy to be on solid ground, we went to get our tickets for the castle and garden.
Adult tickets are £9 for the castle, £6 for the garden, or £12.50 combined.
The garden has really odd hours – it’s only open during weekdays during high season, and during low season just Thursday and Friday. More info on tickets, hours, and tide schedule here.
We started the long ascent to the castle – my mom recently had knee surgery so that, combined with of course doing a masters in a healthcare area, made me more aware of how really inaccessible St Michaels Mount (and many sights in the UK) are. There is no golf cart or buggy for mobility impaired people – everyone must climb if they want to see the castle. The stones are uneven, there is a steep gradient, and while there is a railing it is not consistent and switches between sides.
Still, my mom persevered and we slowly and steadily made it up to the castle! I was actually really surprised at the amount of people I saw doing the climb with canes or other mobility issues – I guess that is testament to what an inspiring sight this is that people really persevere and sacrifice to make it to the top!
^^the champagne cork replica of the castle made by a former butler
^^ my mom being pensive from inside the armory room
After a wander through the castle and admiring the views, we made our way back down to enter the gardens. We (ahem mostly my green thumbed mother) stopped to smell the flowers quite a bit on the way down, though.
^^ island cat guarding his window in one of the island’s inhabited cottages
From ground level there is a separate entrance to the island gardens. We took a long stroll around the base of the gardens and admired the complex and layered plants. According to my mom, they are mostly South African succulents in origin, probably brought to the UK during trading and thrived in the warmer southwest climate. Translated to in my non-gardener head: pretty flowers!
^The garden expert herself! ^View back towards Marazion from the island
^There is a little plant shop by the entrance. I loved these tiny succulents growing in tiny watering cans!!
After our garden exploring, the tide had let out enough that the causeway back to shore was open!
It was a really lovely day (after the whole fog/gale/almost shipwrecking in a teeny tiny ferry thing) and I’m so glad I finally got to see the gorgeous and unusual gardens tucked away in St Michael’s Mount.
Until next time!
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