Dominating the Cornish Coastal Path for walkers arriving in Marazion is the castle on the mount.
Home to the St Aubyn family, who live a 21st century existence and work hand in hand with the National Trust to preserve this beautiful and historical monument, which has served as a Benedictine monastery, a tin and copper port and a fortress in both the Hundred Years War and the Civil War.
While climbing the ancient paths, look down on the beautiful subtropical gardens and up to the battlements, turrets and towers of a fairy-tale castle accessible only by foot at low tide from Marazion, derived from the Cornish “Marghas Byghan” meaning “little market” (the earliest recorded one being in 1070 when Robert, Count of Mortain was given the right to hold a market on each Thursday).
The village grew up around the isle of Ictis, St Michaels Mount being the legendary Isle named by the Romans. It was the safest landing point for many miles before the construction of nearby Penzance harbour, and is probably why it became the destination point of St Michael and his followers when they landed on the north coast and walked across the peninsula en route for Europe.
Present day walkers, approaching Marazion from the St Michaels Way Footpath, are following in the footsteps of pilgrims over the past thousand years and will come into the village from Marazion Marsh, a large reed bed designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest playing host to a vast number of animal, bird and plant life.
It’s hard to tear yourself away from gazing at the spectacular seascape towards Lands End in the west and across Mounts Bay to the Lizard in the east. When you do however, check out the Town Hall in the market place which houses Marazion Town Museum, once a local gaol, and a house where Charles II is reputed to have stayed when making his escape after being defeated at the Battle of Naseby.
The house is easily located from an inscription, as well as the unusual feature of balls on the roof, placed there to deter witches from landing. The long, safe and sandy beach at Marazion is a playground for many activities, including windsurfing, kitesurfing and sailing.