I’ve always admired Mont St Michel in Normandy from afar. Images of the grand castle teetering on the top of the lush green mound, contrasting starkly with the sea, have always found and their way onto my travel Pinterest boards.
But until we visited Cornwall in July, I had never realised we had something similar right here in Britain. On our last full day in Cornwall, we set off to see it with our own eyes.
Cornwall’s St Michael’s Mount in Marazion was owned by the same monks until 1424, and so while it is much smaller, it shares a similar history, shape and tidal island status as its French sister.
At high tide, the island is only accessible by boat. But at low tide, this curious islet can be reached on foot, via a manmade causeway across the shallows.
The mound was originally located around five miles from the coast in a dense wood, but in 1099 it is believed that waves surged and filled the area, devastating local towns in its wake.
Andy and I spent a good four hours or so exploring. Of all the attractions we visited in Cornwall, it was our favourite. And the gardens, as well as the fairytale setting, were a big part of this.
The islet has a microclimate thanks to the Gulf Stream, which allows succulents, agave and aloe plants to thrive.
Succulents are amongst my favourite types of plants, but I’ve rarely spied them in the wild in the UK, so it was a sight to behold.
St Michael’s Mount felt more historic and authentic than many of Cornwall’s family attractions, and Marazion itself had so much understated elegance that it felt almost like a small fishing village from the South of France, than a little British seaside town.
It was easy to understand why its most famous legend involves a giant’s heart being embedded into the mount forever.
Have you ever been to anywhere like St Michael’s Mount or Le Mont St Michel? I’d love to hear about similar landmarks in the UK or overseas. Comment below!