During our visit to Cornwall in July we went to see St. Michael's Mount, a tidal island, close to the Cornish town of Marazion, Cornwall’s oldest town. On the island, there's a castle and stunning subtropical gardens.
It was a strikingly beautiful day as you can see on the photos. We arrived at high tide, so we had to go to the island via boat but could walk back later during low tide. There was some sort of Carnival going on in Marazion, a group of drummers was playing on the beach and a brass orchestra made for good atmosphere at the island.
St. Michael’s Mount is also the counterpart of Mont St Michel in Normandy, France.
The Mount was named after St. Michael, the Archangel, who was said to have appeared to local fishermen in the 5th century. There’s more on the early history in Wikipedia and on the Mount's website.
The chapel within the castle, a fifteenth century building, is also devoted to St. Michael. It has an embattled tower, with a small turret which served for the guidance of ships.
The 1755 Lisbon earthquake caused a tsunami in which the sea rose six feet in 10 minutes at St. Michael’s Mount and rose and fell for five hours. In the 18th century it became a flourishing seaport with three schools and three public houses but declined when the nearby Penzance harbour was enlargened and took over. It was fortified during the Second World War.
The castle is the official residence of James and Mary St. Aubyn (the 12th generation of the St. Aubyn family). In 1954, Francis St Aubyn gave most of St Michael’s Mount to the National Trust. He retained a 999-year lease for the family to live in the castle and a licence to show the historical rooms to the public.
Some 30 islanders, mostly staff working in the castle, live in a couple of seafront cottages.
The island even has an own underground railway which is still used to transport goods from the harbour up to the castle. It was built by tin miners around 1900, replacing the pack horses which had previously been used.
The Royal Family seem to like the Mount, as it's called by the locals, too. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh paid a visit in May, 2013.