Cornish Coastal Path West: St Ives to Penzance
Walk on the Cornwall Coastal Path West from St Ives to Penzance.
Looming from the waters of Mount's Bay, this abbey-crowned, tidal island is one of Cornwall's most iconic sights. There's been a monastery on the island since at least the 5th century, but the present abbey was mostly built during the 12th century by the Benedictine monks of Mont St Michel. The abbey later became the family seat of the St Aubyns (who still reside here), and is now under the stewardship of the National Trust.
Highlights include the rococo drawing room, the original armoury, the 14th-century priory church and the abbey's subtropical cliff gardens. Recent excavations have also uncovered important Bronze Age finds, including an axe-head, dagger and metal clasp, now on display inside the castle. You can also see one of the island's three remaining pillboxes, built during WWII when fears of German invasion were at their height.
St Michael's Mount is connected to the mainland and the small seaside town of Marazion by a cobbled causeway. You can catch a ferry (adult/child £2/1) at high tide, but it's worth timing your arrival for low tide so you can walk across on the causeway, just as the monks and pilgrims did centuries ago.
The 513 bus covers the 3 miles between Marazion and Penzance, three times a day.