Cornwall with Kids: St Michael’s Mount Review, National Trust

St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall, run by the National Trust, is a really magical destination to visit with the kids – time your visit perfectly and you’ll even get to walk on water! 😉 It’s definitely a must do day out if you’re exploring the South West of England on a UK staycation. So here’s my review of this unique day out, including everything that you need to know about what to expect, getting to and from the island, entry costs (and how to visit for free!), photos, plus the practical info that you’ll want for a family visit.


What’s St Michael’s Mount like?

Getting to the island

St Michael’s Mount was at the top of my list of places to visit with the kids during our trip to Cornwall. A castle on an island that you have to cross the water to reach – what’s not to love?! Accessed by a causeway at low tide, or by boat when the tide is in, the journey across adds to the sense of adventure and magic surrounding the island.

Honestly, I think that getting to and from the island was the most exciting part of the day for Finn and Lola! We queued by a mound, which we paddled across to, and then hopped onto a speedboat to cross the water. They loved it!

Cornwall with kids, day out, St Michael's Mount, National Trust, photo of island, frugal mum review

It was absolutely baking hot on the day that we visited and, riding the speedboat across the gorgeous Cornish waters, you could easily have mistaken our UK staycation for a Mediterranean adventure.

Cornwall family attractions, St Michael's Mount, National Trust, photo of frugal mum children on speed boat, review

The queuing was the only downside on the way across. We waited quite some time for a boat, and then again when we reached the island while they checked everyone’s tickets. Aside from this it was straightforward, and we climbed the cobbled steps to explore the castle.


Exploring the castle

The castle itself is a mix of architectural styles, reflecting its long history dating back to the medieval period. Exploring its rooms and corridors offers insights into the lives of the people who lived and worked there over the centuries. The late Queen even enjoyed a visit there too!

Cornwall with kids, St Michael's Mount, National Trust, photo of frugal mum children in castle, review

The castle at St Michael’s Mount is small (as castles go!) and we definitely found the outside more interesting to explore than the interior. It’s a lovely place to visit, and the views are just incredible – we found ourselves wanting to be outside in the sunshine looking across the stunning Cornish ocean.

Cornwall with kids, St Michael's Mount, National Trust, photo of frugal mum view, review

St Michael’s Mount boasts beautiful gardens that cling to the slopes of the island, providing a tranquil space to wander and take in the stunning views across Mount’s Bay. Sitting down on the grass at the bottom of the castle, the scenery is just beautiful – it’s the perfect place to rest your feet and enjoy a picnic. There’s a cafe there too, but the queue was very long so we gave up on our quest for ice-cream and had one back at the beach after our visit.

Cornwall family attractions, St Michael's Mount, National Trust, frugal mum photo of view, review


Getting back to the beach

We really wanted to experience the best of both worlds – to boat across and ‘walk on water’ across the causeway to get back to the beach – so we timed our visit with the tides. The kids thought it was so cool to walk back across the cobbled path, which was still somewhat covered by the sea when we crossed. The only thing I would say is that even on a warm day the water was so cold! 😆 Our feet were numb by the time we reached the beach.

Cornwall with kids, St Michael's Mount, National Trust, photo of causeway, sea walk, cobblestones, frugal mum children

For the kids, getting to and from the island was definitely a highlight of the day – I think they probably enjoyed it more than the castle itself if I’m honest!

We really enjoyed our visit to St Michael’s Mount, helped enormously by the gorgeous sunshine that day! It was a unique day out – it’s a real gem on the Cornish coast. The beach opposite is lovely too so, if you visit on a warm day, bring your swimwear and some buckets and spades for the kids, soak up the sunshine and make a day of it.


Visitor and Practical Information

What should I know before I visit St Michael’s Mount with kids?

Like Tintagel Castle, St Michael’s Mount can also be very popular with tourists, particularly during the summer months. This means that it’s worth planning your visit carefully to avoid crowds and make the most of your time on the island. Considering that we visited on a term-time weekday in June it was still really busy, so that’s definitely something to think about as I imagine it must be even more so during the school summer holidays!

For visitors with young children, I’d definitely avoid taking a pushchair – it would be hard going with both the boat and the causeway, plus the steps in and around the castle would be bothersome with a buggy too.


Where should I park to visit St Michael’s Mount?

There are carparks further along the beach so, if you’re driving, it’s easy to park there and walk along the sand to where the speedboat is positioned for the trip across the water, or you can walk across the causeway if the tide allows.


How much does it cost to visit St Michael’s Mount?

Entry cost and family money saving tips:

A family ticket to visit St Michael’s Mount castle and garden is £66 (accurate April 2024) – though it varies with the time of year. On top of this, you also need to pay a couple of quid each for the boat ride, so it’s not an inexpensive day out.

Cornwall, St Michael's Mount, National Trust, frugal mum review, cornwall with kids

However, with a National Trust membership you can visit all of their sites at no extra cost – which might be worth doing if you’ll visit other places across the UK too. Family membership costs around £10 per month, so you only need to use it a few times to make it cost effective.

For home educating families, you can get a year’s National Trust family membership for £50 – which can be used term-time. This can be done via email or over the phone – after a paperwork delay, I called to sort our membership and it was really quick and easy to organise. For us a year’s membership cost us less than a trip to St Michael’s Mount would have been, so it was certainly worth signing up.


Can you visit St Michael’s Mount for free?

If you already have a National Trust membership then your visit to St Michael’s Mount (including the castle and the gardens) would be included for free. With a valid membership, all you’ll need to pay is for the boat – which was £8 for our family of four – if you’re planning to get to / from the island without walking the causeway.

If you’re holidaying out of season then you can also access the harbour and village at St Michael’s Mount for free during opening hours from 01 October to 30 April. (Though this doesn’t include entrance to the castle etc, but you can visit the island itself.) This is available to everyone, even if you don’t have a National Trust Membership.


Useful Information:

Address: St Michael’s Mount, Marazion, Cornwall, TR17 OHS

Facilities:  Cafe, toilets, picnic areas


If you’re visiting Cornwall with the kids then you’ll want to check out these articles too…

Where are the best places to visit in Cornwall with kids?

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Cornwall with Kids: Trelawne Manor Review, John Fowler Holidays, Looe

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Cornwall with Kids: Tintagel Castle Review, English Heritage

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Cornwall with Kids: St Nectan’s Glen Waterfall Review, Tintagel

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Cornwall with Kids: Is the Eden Project worth visiting? (Honest review!)

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And for lots of frugal family fun this summer, take a look at…

Cheap days out with the kids: 20 ways to have fun on a budget in the school holidays!

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UK family travel on a budget: 25 ways to have a cheap staycation holiday!

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How to home educate on a budget: UK discounts, freebies & homeschooling tips – cheap travel, resources, activities & days out!

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