Mount's Bay
Mount's Bay

A wide, sweeping bay with the enigmatic isle of St Michael's Mount set as the jewel in the crown. The Mount probably gave its name to the bay, which stretches from Gwennap Head in the east to Lizard Point in the west, a distance of 42 miles.

The most popular destinations to visit around Mount's Bay include the village of Marazion, which gives access at low tide to the Mount. The attractive fishing village of Mousehole is well worth a stop, as is the bustling town of Penzance.

The broad expanse of Mount's Bay seems a peaceful place, protected from Atlantic gales, but in stormy weather, it is a hazardous place for ships, and over 150 sailing ships went down here in the 19th century alone.

Though the weather is always a threat along this stretch of coast, in 1625 a different kind of threat appeared in the form of Barbary pirates; Turkish raiders who seized 60 men, women, and children who had sought shelter in the church at Munigesca, and carried them away to be slaves.

There are high, rugged cliffs, particularly near Lizard Point, and sand dunes between Marazion and Penzance. Near the latter, you can make out evidence of a fossilised forest at high tide.

Penzance is by far the largest settlement, with the fishing villages of Newlyn, Paul, Mousehole and Lamorna to the west and Marazion, Perranuthnoe, Praa Sands, Porthleven and Mullion to the east. At Paul, just inland from Mousehole, you can see the grave of Dolly Pentreath (d. 1860), the last person to speak Cornish as her native language.

We've visited the Bay on several occasions, and my favourite villages are Porthleven and Mousehole. Mousehole is known for its picturesque harbour and traditional 'stargazey' pie. If you enjoy sunsets, though, come to the beach at Marazion!

By far the most popular historic attraction in the area is St Michael's Mount, site of stately home and garden built on the remains of a medieval castle and monastery.