Marazion, located 3 miles east of Penzance is a great place to visit. As well as two long sandy beaches the bay is home to St Michael’s Mount. The iconic island and its castle are connected to the shore via a granite causeway. This is open for pedestrian crossings at low tide. So, if you want to walk out to the island, you’ll need to time your visit to coincide with a falling or low tide, check tide times here. It’s free to walk out to the Island but a charge is payable to climb the Mount and explore the buildings.
Marazion was originally known as Marghasyewe. There has been a settlement here since 306BC.
Today, Marazion is one of the most popular destinations in Cornwall. Hundreds of thousands of visitors a year pay to climb up to St Michael’s Mount, with thousands more just taking a walk on the causeway.
OS Explorer 102 Map. This part of Cornwall is covered by the Explorer 102 Ordnance Survey map. The map displays the area of Land’s End, Penzance, St Ives and the South West Coast Path. With this map, you also get a code for use on your iOS or Android smartphone or tablet. The Explorer Map is available in both the standard paper version and weatherproof ‘Active’ version.
The beach at Marazion is a perfect family beach that has clean, safe water. There is plenty of parking nearby (TR17 0DA will get you to the car park near the Station House). A lot of people visit the town just to go to St Michael’s Mount so the beach never gets really busy. In summer there is a lifeguard patrol and the small town of Marazion behind the beach has lots of amenities which include toilets by the beach, cafes and restaurants. There are two pubs at either end of the beach which both overlook the bay, the Godolphin Arms in front of the Mount and the Station House at the other end of the beach.
The beach is mostly sandy with a few pebbly patches. There are rock pools in front of Marazion Harbour and next to Castle Rock. The long, sandy beach is very safe and continues a further two miles west towards Penzance via Longrock Beach and Eastern Green Beach. The South West Coast Path follows the same route.
Dogs are not permitted on the beach during July and August between 10:00 am and 6:00 pm.
The most striking feature of the beach is the view over towards St Michael’s Mount. This makes a very impressive backdrop. At low tide you can walk out to the Island via a granite causeway, a path once walked by pilgrims. In summer at high tide, a boat ride will take you over to the Island’s historic castle.
Visiting St Michael’s Mount
St Michael’s Mount is now maintained by the National Trust. You can walk out on the causeway for free but you need to purchase a ticket to visit the island. The ticket gives access to an ancient castle fortress built in the 14th Century, the remains of a 12th Century church, lush subtropical gardens, lawns, and a harbour village. There are also a couple of shops and cafes. The castle itself is accessed by a steep climb up the Pilgrim’s Steps.
The Mount is dedicated to the Archangel St Michael who, according to legend, appeared here in 495.
Originally the building was a Benedictine Priory. This had ties with the equally famous Mont St Michel in Normandy, France. It then became a fortified castle and actually saw action in the English Civil War.
Much earlier in its history, the island was a major port. According to Roman historians, the Mount was the Island of Ictis, which was the centre of the Cornish tin trade during the Iron Age.
After the Civil War, the Mount was purchased by Colonel John St Aubyn. His descendants subsequently turned the fortress into a magnificent house. The St Aubyn family still Iive there today. In 1954, Francis St Aubyn, 3rd Lord St Levan, gave a large part of the island and a significant fund for its upkeep to the National Trust. The St Aubyn family have a 999-year lease to live in the castle and they run the visitor business in partnership with the National Trust.
For more information and tickets visit www.stmichaelsmount.co.uk
Finally, if you are visiting Marazion for the day, stay until dark. The castle is often floodlit on summer evenings. The lights, especially when reflected in a calm sea, give the Mount an almost magical appearance.
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