St Michael’s Mount Island Castle and Minack Open Air Theatre, or “How to impress a Canadian”

Our Canadian guest this July wanted to “see castles”, (there are not many of those back home). St Michael’s Mount with its wonderful history and situation at Marizion seemed a good choice. We would throw culture into the mix in the form of the uniquely English and eccentric open-air Minack Theatre at Porthcurno. Together they would make a fascinating day out.

Conveniently the causeway at St Michael’s Mount was emerging from the sea as we arrived and we were able to walk across to the island without having to remove footware.

St Michaels Mount3St Michaels Mount2

It was an extremely blustery day but the light was bright and the surrounding views from the castle’s tower and battlements superb.

St Michael's Mount TowerSt Michaels Mount view

The church and priory were built by monks in the 12th century but the years have seen it change to fort, iconic castle and to family home. It is still used today by the St Aubyn family, who have lived here since the 17th century. The harbour and cluster of buildings house 30 people who live and work on the island. The National Trust provides a wealth of historical displays about life on St Michael’s Mount and, of course, essentially, plenty of cafes and icecreams. http://www.stmichaelsmount.co.uk

From there we drove the short distance along the coastal road through the pretty fishing village of Mousehole to Porthcurno where the Minack Theatre is built into the cliffs above the beach. The Minack Theatre was the brain-child of Rowena Cade who created it with her gardener, at her home Minack House in the early 1930s. The story is fascinating and an example of what can be achieved through determination and vision. http://www.minack.com

minack stage2

A quick stroll on the beautiful white sand beach, fish and chips from the pub and then back to the car to collect rugs, cushions, woolly hats and coats. All were gratefully used during the evening- you have been warned! The sun setting on the sea provided the Minack with an astonishing backdrop. Seagulls entertained the crowd, pre-performance, by gracefully dive-bombing the water to catch their evening fish.

Minack Stage

The black night, the lit stage, magically suspended the performers and audience in the world of the play. It’s an experience NOT to be missed.

We loved it. Our Canadian friend loved it; and took home some truly unique English memories of an extraordinary day out on the Cornish Coast.

Helen White

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