Exploring St Michael’s Mount

And picturesque St Ives (Apr 2014)

On our second day in Cornwall, we planned to drive down to the South part, and had to be selective. I had heard from a few friends that the St Michael’s Mount was a must go. Off we went! The drive on the way is beautiful with the autumn trees slowly showing up the first signs of spring flowers.

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St. Michael’s Mount is located on an island just off the coast of Cornwall in the South and home to the St Aubyn Family. There are pit stops on the way there for photo taking from the mainland, and we left our car on the carpark just directly opposite the foot path leading up the St Michael’s Mount.

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View from one of the parking spots.

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Little town just across from St Michael’s Mount

We couldn’t resist stopping by Philips Pasties first to fill our tummy before walking to St Michael’s Mount. When in Cornwall, this is one of the must eats, to put it in our Singapore local context, it’s like a giant curry puff and has different fillings inside, the most iconic being the beef one which uses the finest cuts of “skirt” beef and lean Cornish beef mince.

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The castle of St. Michael’s Mount has been home to the St. Aubyn family since 1647. I read that for nearly thirty years, Stanley Ager, one of the most esteemed butlers of the twentieth century, worked there and ensured that St. Michael’s Mount was an impeccable place to live and a gracious and welcoming one for guests to visit. It seems several of the men whom he trained at St. Michael’s Mount went on to serve in the Royal Household at Buckingham Palace and at British embassies throughout the world. Totally reminds me of Mr Carson in Downton Abbey, my favourite show.

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One important advice is to wear sturdy comfortable walking shoes with thick enough soles when walking to St Michael’s Mount, because of all the cobbled stones, which makes it rather wobbly to walk on, plus the slope up to the castle. Thank goodness Y carried me heh heh. The walk up was bit long but still pleasant as we could see breathtaking views of the island and beyond and the weather was perfect that day. We also came across a cute heart shape rock on the pathway which had its own special name called “The Giant’s Heart”.

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Me and the Giant Heart rock!

We managed to finally reach the house and take a tour of its fascinating rooms and gawk at the immaculate shining silverware on display, and the 14th century church at the highest point. Y really loves silverware so yes we spent a while just staring at them. I just wonder how inconvenient it was for the St Aubyn family to go out everyday, I guess they didn’t have to and there’s horse and carriage if they really had to go out. Naturally MC was way ahead of us but we finally caught up with her. I can imagine Stanley Ager and his team of staff polishing this silverware daily.

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This was probably their living/ reading area.

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Magnificent dining room

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View of the chapel

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Chapel’s quaint interiors

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Y and I admiring the view from the top. Sigh!

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Beautiful sunny skies as we leave St Michael’s Mount.

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Y and my shadow

They also have a gift shop which we couldn’t resist buying things from. I bought a book written by Stanley Ager and Fiona St Aubyn “The Butler’s Guide to Running The Home and Other Graces”. A great read to remember this place.

By the time we finished with St Michael’s Mount, it was around 3 plus in the afternoon and we decided to drive to nearby St Ives, a beautiful fishing harbour town to enjoy the view and have some classic afternoon tea and scones.

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Amazing beaches at St Ives

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Doesn’t this look like a painting almost – thanks to some filters on my Leica C!

We took a stroll through the town and came across a building that claimed to be the oldest house in St Ives. The only thing to note is all the shops in Cornwall seem to close by 5pm.

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We finally arrived at the St Ives Tea Room which is known for their gluten free options in their afternoon cakes selection and Tregothnan Estate Cornish tea. We couldn’t resist trying their Victoria Sponge cake which I found a bit dry and not as airy as it should be, I probably also have tasted better scones but it was good enough with the clotted cream and jams and with that amazing view the tea room looked out to.

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Love the classic british phone booths!

And our second day in Cornwall ended with a beautiful view of St Ives bay. Sigh! We could have stayed on this lawn forever if not for the long drive back from here to dinner and the hotel.

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