St. Michael's Mount

Penzance Travel Blog

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View of St.Michael's Mount from Marizion town centre

So, it's not just Land's End but St.Michael's Mount is also another big draw in the Cornwall area. Infact, this IS the trademark postcard emblem of the Penzance area, much like the Clock Tower and Buckingham Palace symbolise the heart of London. I had vaguely seen it yesterday when I got out of the Penzance station, but the magnificence of this place didn't strike because it was too misty and perhaps I was in  a rush to check in to the hostel. Of course, I remember it's sight as clear as daylight from the different pictures I'd seen of it on the Internet... but the best view came when I was going by bus to St.

Ives. The skies had begun to clear, and the castle was looking radiant, sitting atop an island, all by itself, you really can't help marvel at such wonders.

So, with a hearty meal of pasties @ St.Ives and a clearer sky, I got down from the bus at Marazion - that's the tiny market town that houses St.Michael's Mount, roughly 3-4 miles away from Penzance. I got down at the Marizion town centre stop, I was hungry again (!!) so I made my way for some traditional Cornish cream tea (jam first, then the clotted cream!) at a local tea shop. This tea shop had great sweeping views of the island, very nice. The weather was quite warm, the sunshine crisp and the crowd picking up although not too crowded.

City centre of Marazion
Cornish cream te is excellent. I'm not going to pretend like I can notice the difference in quality between cream made here vs Devon or other parts, but it's really tasty. Who knew that this would become my addiction for the next 3 days?!

I walked down to the island, very pleasant walk... and reached the coast. The sky was totally clear, the mist all gone and the Kodak moment was right in front of me, inviting me to take in the sights. The tide wasn't low yet, so I had to go by motorboat which costs a minimal 1.50 GBP. A castle now sits on this island, but the name comes from the Benedictine monastry that was originally gifted by Edward the Confessor in the 11th century. Today, the castle contains various armour, furniture and paintings. It's maintained by the National Trust, which includes the souvenir shop and the rsnt.

the best cream tea in town!
Also, St. Aubyn family retain a 999 year lease to live in the castle and a licence to operate the visitor business

I took some photos around the island, before paying my fee and climbing up the steep slope to the entry of the castle. There was some work going on on one end of the castle. I didn't think much of the castle...infact I found the whole layout quite confusing. I don't remember all the details of the rooms too well, simply because there's no direction on where to go, what to see next and more importantly, some corridors are just blocked, some open, it's all very confusing. But the highlight was seeing the Tidal Clock in Sir John's Room which not only tells the time but also shows the movement of tides. Also, the Church was pretty cool - it contains 3 alabaster panels of over 500 years old, no one knows how they came to be here and home to the famous Rose Window.

Cornish cream tea with a castle view...could this picture BE any more touristy?!

It had gotten pretty windy. The sweeping views of the Atlantic coupled with the general opulence of an English castle, made the whole thing very photoworthy. There weren't too many crowds. By the time I was half way done with wandering around the castle and the lovely garden (including palm trees), I could see that the low tide had set in. People were now walking back to the coast, it really had a different feel. Very nice.

I walked back and spent some time watching a movie on the history of the Castle. It was quite interesting... by this time it was past 4pm and you could see the crowds walking back home. I wasn't that hungry anyway (LOL, surprise surprise!) so I decided to skip eating at the rsnt and walked back on the walkway to the mainland. It was so crowded by this time.

Ready to make my way up the hill
.. lots of people lazing around the beach, around Marizion, people parking their cars in the large carparks by the motorway and relaxing on their holiday chairs.... it was really beautiful. It's so different seeing this part of England from the England I'm typically used to, where everyone seems to be rushing around. The sky was still clear, the weather getting very Colorado and a general weekend holiday-ish mood in the air.

I wasn't really sure whether I wanted to walk back to the hostel, to Penzance bus station (and catch a bus to the hostel) or just walk. I then thought, there really isn't much to do when I get back. There's not much to do in the city centre (Market Jew Street, drab street...what's with all the hate for the Jews, guys?!!) and unlike London, its not like I'd have a fancy rsnt or a theatre play to catch.

After reaching the island by motorboat
Not to mention that the weather was perfect for walking. So I decided to walk along the coastline from Marizion to Penzance. This whole area is quite populated, lots of beaches and carparks and hence, lots of people enjoying a warm Sunday afternoon.

I reached my hostel about 2 hrs later, after a lovely relaxed walk...me and my iPod. My roommate Tom had also arrived from his day out, so we went to nearby Alexandria Inn's Beer Garden for a pint of Guiness. We'd love to have more, but at 3 GBP a pint (6$), wasn't worth it! So off we went back to the hostel, I cooked that night and met 2 German ladies also staying at the hostel...discussed various cool things to see and do in the area, and watched some telly as well. That's what I'm really loving about this trip - the total lack of nightlife means I either relax/socialise in the hostel and the warm TV room rather than using it as just a bed to sleep at night (which is the case in London).

Atop the castle
I slept that night around 1030pm after talking to Stuart (the owner of the hostel) about t'row's trip...the BIG DAY - a visit to Tintagel Castle. Stuart's description of getting there seemed a nightmare, he said "start early!". But it really seemed worth it.

Overall what I'm liking so far about this trip is the total lack of structure, the ability to breathe and pace myself the way I want to, and the fact that these are towns/villages that so much became inundated with tourists rather than some places which were built FOR tourists. All this means is I just need to have sunshine and bus service, and I really don't have to worry about opening/closing hours of any attraction as such!

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View of St.Michaels Mount from Ma…
View of St.Michael's Mount from M…
City centre of Marazion
City centre of Marazion
the best cream tea in town!
the best cream tea in town!
Cornish cream tea with a castle vi…
Cornish cream tea with a castle v…
Ready to make my way up the hill
Ready to make my way up the hill
After reaching the island by motor…
After reaching the island by moto…
Atop the castle
Atop the castle
Lovely view of Marazion from the C…
Lovely view of Marazion from the …
In and around the castle
In and around the castle
the steep steps leading upto the C…
the steep steps leading upto the …
the gardens at the base of the isl…
the gardens at the base of the is…
Palm trees...and sunshine..is this…
Palm trees...and sunshine..is thi…
the souvenir shop
the souvenir shop
Random shot of the island
Random shot of the island
Returning to the mainland via the …
Returning to the mainland via the…
Sunday evening... kids play during…
Sunday evening... kids play durin…
I swear... an autorickshaw in Engl…
I swear... an autorickshaw in Eng…
with Tom at the Alexandra Inn
with Tom at the Alexandra Inn
Penzance
photo by: Vikram