The ancient market town of Marazion is, not surprisingly, a place of picturesque streets with galleries and gift shops, Cornwall’s oldest town. Looking out to Mount’s Bay, it is by far the best place to see iconic and impossibly romantic St Michael’s Mount which sits just 500 metres from the coast.
Head down the A30 through Devon and Cornwall. On a single carriageway stretch just before Penzance, you will see the Newtown Roundabout sign. Take the second exit from the roundabout, then turn left at the end of that road. St Michael’s Mount will be on your right.
If you’re driving to West Cornwall in a plug-in electric vehicle, see our list of charging locations here.
The nearest railway station is Penzance, which has a reliable, regular mainline service linking directly to London, the Midlands, northern England and Scotland. A sleeper service is available from London Paddington to Penzance (and back) so you can let the train take the strain and wake up refreshed. Car hire is also available from Penzance Station.
Marazion sits opposite St Michael’s Mount so it is an understandably popular little place. There is a short-stay car park on King’s Road, while there is well-organised parking at Folly Field long stay (and very reasonably priced) which has beach access, or try Marazion Station. Folly Field is the car park to use if you are making your way to St Michael’s Mount. Be aware that National Trust members also have to pay.
For such a small village, Marazion has a mountain of food choices:
The Fire Engine Inn provides an award-winning pub atmosphere with excellent food. Quality and freshly made, it also sells locally-sourced drinks. A family-friendly place, dogs are also welcome. You might also be lucky enough to catch its live music events.
The Copper Spoon is a cafe offering vegetarian and vegan food for daytime sustenance, which welcomes dogs and muddy boots. It’s also big on coffee, cakes and comfort food, just what you need when exploring.
The King’s Arms offers a Cornish take on traditional pub food. Food is freshly cooked and locally sourced, and it also offers a selection of Cornish ales.
At The Godolphin, its beachside restaurant Shutters has fabulous views to the iconic St Michael’s Mount. Food is seasonal and freshly made, including a catch of the day offered. It doesn’t come any fresher. Their cocktail menu is inspired by the jewels of the sea.
St Michael’s Mount appeals to all ages but there is something super-special about crossing to such a majestic island, either on foot or by boat. Families can follow in legendary giant’s steps at low tide, while ferries are available at high tide. Be warned, in rough seas, the ferries do not run.
The soft, sandy beach is also great for exploring. A second beach accessed from Leys Lane is perfect for rockpooling.
There is a clean, fun play park on the Folly Field (no dogs allowed) and another on the football field at the top end of the village. Nearby, Red River is great for paddling in the lovely fresh water, so let them play in nature’s most beautiful surroundings.
However, for a different adventure, around 10 miles away is Flambards Theme Park with indoor soft play and sky-high thrill rides, depending on children’s ages. There are also indoor attractions where you can step inside old cobbled streets with 50,000 genuine artefacts (you can book indoor attractions only if you enjoy history more than action).
Ocean High offers lessons and coaching, plus paddleboard and kayak hire for those with higher adrenaline levels. Run by marine biologist, Lawrence Smith, they also run Eco SUP (stand up paddleboard) tours around the superb St Michaels Mount and Mounts Bay. They have qualified professional instructors for kitesurfing and paddleboarding.
Or try the Hoxton Special, which offers kite-surfing lessons, power kiting, and kiteboarding. They also offer SUP, Paddleboard and Kayak Hire as well as Yoga sessions. You are really spoiled for choice here.
There are various arty shops in Marazion (see shopping) but the village is also just up the road from Penzance which houses the beautiful Penlee House Gallery and Museum, set in a Victorian house with a park, and the Cornwall Contemporary Art Gallery. Newlyn Art Gallery is just the other side of Penzance, conceived as an exhibition centre for the famous Newlyn School.
A sandy beach and a rocky beach are great for exploration. Marazion beach has sand and pebbles, lovely clear water, parking and a play area nearby and it is lifeguarded during the high season. Serene in the evening, the beaches are amazing for sunsets, so, with the backdrop of the castle on the mount, this spot always has people clamouring for their cameras. If you walk awhile, you will find rocky coves which you may even have all to yourself. You are not far away from Penzance’s art-deco seawater lido, The Jubilee Pool.
St Michaels Mount seen at low tide with the causeway leading from the sandy beach at Marazion and showing Penzance across the bay in the background. ©National Trust Images David Noton
Marazion has a little museum, situated in the old fire brigade’s headquarters, which is perfect to keep dry during a shower. It has a quirky, eclectic mix of local history items and admission reflects its small size. It was also once the town’s gaol, so you can see an old cell and an exhibition dedicated to a battleship, HMS Warspite.
Or check out the embroidered knee pads of All Saints Church. The artwork and kneelers are stunning. Pop in and out of the shops, or maybe take a little journey to larger Penzance for the museums and galleries.
There is an annual swim around the island event in August (fully booked for this year but worth a watch). If you can take your eyes off St Michael’s Mount, you will see Marazion through local eyes, with its quaint streets, old cottages and grand merchants’ houses, for it was a busy tin trading port. Just walk and look.
If you are a serious walker who likes moderate to strenuous walks, why not try the walk to Porthleven? It is pretty flat and easy as far as Praa Sands so if you struggle with the uphill, only go so far on the coastal path for magnificent views of St Michael’s Mount. Car free walks to Praa Sands are described here.
The walk from Marazion to Penzance is easy. It is virtually level along the sea wall. Suitable for wheelchair users and pushchairs. Great for dog walking, too. If you wish, you can also walk along the front at Penzance, past the Jubilee Pool and head down to Newlyn, another fascinating place featured in Lamorna Ash’s book Dark, Salt, Clear.
Back in 2014, dramatic storms removed lots of sand from the Bay revealing evidence of an ancient forest from 4,000 to 6,000 years ago. St Michael’s Mount was originally known as ‘Karrek Loos yn Loos’ (Grey Rock in the Woods) which now makes sense! The Mount was the scene of a number of alleged miracles. In 1257, it was granted a charter by Henry III, making it the oldest chartered town in Cornwall.
In Marazion, summer tends to be short, cool, and windy. It is often cloudy, too. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 5°C to 18°C and is rarely below 1°C or above 22°C. The best time to visit for warm weather is early July to early September.
There are two public toilets. One is at Folly Fields car park, and the other is tucked away in The Square.
One of Cornwall’s best-loved villages, Marazion is famous for its view of St Michael's Mount. Be inspired by our collection of self-catering holiday cottages...