What these walls have seen…
The clash of the portcullis and the hatching of plans in the study, the tolling of bells in the ancient priory and the hustle and bustle of the servants’ quarters. With shades of the past in every room and new discoveries waiting around every corner, dig deep into the Mount’s history, experience a different kind of family home or simply let your imagination run wild.
WINTER OPENING 2019
4 November - 18 December, 10.30 - 16.00 (Mon, Tues, and Weds ONLY - Guided Castle Tours ONLY at 10.30, 11.30, 12.30, 13.30, 14.30)
29 December - 31 December, 10.30 - 16.00 (Freeflow)
Stoop through ancient doorways and glimpse the castle’s changing faces – from priory to fort, iconic castle to family home. Wander century-old corridors and unravel the history of the St Aubyn family, who have lived here since the 17th century. Discover treasures from the Mount’s past, from religious roots to times of siege and conflict. Where will your journey take you?
A family home for centuries, our castle holds mementos, memories and moments of magic at every turn. From monks seeking solace in the priory, to HM the Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh visiting in 2013, every resident and every visitor can share in the story.
What will you discover inside?
The Entrance Hall
Pass through the heavy medieval doorway to the castle and you’ll be in the entrance hall. Cast your eyes upon the travelling chest of Colonel St Aubyn who was appointed Governor of the island in 1647 – tasked with keeping the surrounding neighbourhood peaceful at the end of the Civil War. From the St Aubyn’s coats of arms on the wall, to a collection of muskets and weapons, take a moment to pick out other curios that you see lining the walls…
Sir John’s Room
With light pouring in and views stretching out to sea, this room is a place for peaceful contemplation. Originally a kitchen, then a study, it houses an historical tidal clock. Very useful as family members planned their trips to the mainland and beyond in time with the tide.
Originally part of the twelfth century monastic buildings, from 1780 you’d find the castle’s residents relaxing here. Playing intimate games of chess, draughts or cards or taking time to read from the selection of leather-bound books that still line the walls.
From sparse monastic fare as the priory’s refectory to more rollicking feast days around the Captain’s table, as the Chevy Chase room became the Great Hall of the castle. Gaze upwards to the hunting scenes playing out in the plaster frieze and walk through the dappled light thrown by the stained glass windows, gathered from chapels and priories around Europe, some of the panes from as early as 1500.
The Smoking Room
The Smoking Room has its own exotic treasures and stories to tell. A mother of pearl chest from Zanzibar thrown from a window of the Duke of Parma’s house, snuff boxes and gambling counters, and a date etched on a window pane by a St Aubyn daughter who wanted to check the authenticity of her diamond engagement ring before she accepted the offer.
The Priory Church
Standing strong and serene through the ages, our chapel at the Mount’s summit dates back to the 12th Century and is still used for Sunday services today. 500 year-old alabaster carvings of biblical scenes and a 15th Century granite Lantern Cross, now shelter in the safety of the priory walls.
Blue Drawing Rooms
Set foot in the drawing room and savour portraits by Gainsborough and Reynolds, intricately carved busts and vases and four hand-crafted Gothick Windsor chairs made to celebrate a family wedding. Imagine Queen Victoria sitting to take tea on the sofa with the housekeeper during an unannounced visit in 1846, when the family were away.
The Map Room
Uncover the whereabouts of mythical Cornish giants in a 16th century picture map and marvel at a model of the Mount accurately crafted from champagne corks by a family butler in the 1930s. Keep your eyes peeled for the mummified cat, one of the weird and wonderful curiosities bought back from the family’s travels to Egypt.
The Long Passage
Once the site of the priory cloister and now an elegant passageway from one side of the castle to the other.
The Garrison Room
Meet the magnificent Samurai Warrior and witness armoury and weapons brought back by members of the family, or islanders, from their military service and travels around the world.
High upon the castle walls, the terraces offer up picture-perfect panoramas from Lamorna to the Lizard. Peer over the battlements at the gardens clinging to the cliff face by the sea edge, and designed to be admired from above as well as from the ground.
A hunt for a giant’s stone heart, the armour of a samurai warrior, a mummified cat and a real life castle waiting to be discovered. Watch young minds race as our island guides tell tales of history, legend and a living, breathing island. Take our castle quiz as a family and let your little ones’ curiosity engage them, as they learn what makes this castle so special.
Find out when the castle is open learn more about the history of the Mount or plan your visit here today.
Let us be your guide
Did you know that the island’s children take a boat to school? That the Mount once had its own dairy with cows grazing outside? Or that St Michael is the patron saint of fishermen and high places? Take a tour as a family and watch your little ones light up as they learn about our living, breathing island. Our expert guides are full of stories, legends and facts all ready to share – and they like nothing better than questions from curious minds.
Secrets and mysteries around every corner
Climbing up or wandering around, our castle’s made for adventure. Hunt for the giant’s stone heart as you climb to the summit. Hear the history of the chapel, and the secrets that lie beneath its pews. Or keep your eyes peeled for some of the castle’s wonderfully weird family treasures – including a mummified cat or the Zanibar chest saved from a falling window.
Want to dig even deeper? Take our quiz, seek out the clues in every room and discover what makes our castle so special. Collect a quiz when you arrive at the ticket office.