St Michaels Hotel and Spa is situated in the heart of Cornish maritime and industrial heritage sites.
Cornish heritage stretches from the tin mines perched precariously on the cliff edges in far west Penwith to the towering clay tips that surround the Eden Project in St Austell. Not just an area for tin mining Cornwall has the remnants of industrial heritage dating back to the times when the Celts traded gold, lead and tin with the Phoenicians and the Romans. Cornwall is also home to some of the most magnificent stately homes and castles in the UK. Many of the stately family homes in Cornwall were founded on the wealth created by copper, tin and shipping.
Castles in Cornwall
Many built on existing Iron Age earthworks, William the Conqueror ordered a raft of castles to be built across the country, with many fine examples still standing in Cornwall. Scroll down for a taste of our Norman heritage. Henry VIII also made his mark on our costline, when under threat from Spain.
The museums throughout Cornwall, and our World Heritage Sites have impressive thought provoking exhibits that highlight the impact Cornwall has had on the world, we have tried to include as many sites as possible and will continue to add more -we hope you enjoy Cornwall as much as we do!
St Michaels Mount
With St Michaels Mount being the most iconic of all Cornwalls sites, a castle perched on its own island hilltop.
Now owned by the National Trust.
St Michaels Mount is truly unique; a tiny rocky island filled with astonishing history and natural beauty, yet still a living working community of people.
Comprising of a medieval castle, and a church built in 12th Century, parts of which are open to the public. Castle open 16 March - 2 November daily except Saturday 10.30am - 5pm. Gardens open weekdays May & June, Thurs & Friday only, July - October. Picture © National Trust
Godolphin House, Goldophin near Helston.
Owned by the Godolphin family for centuries. The Godolphins are one of Cornwalls oldest aristocratic families. The House has recently passed to the National Trust. Situated between Helston and Penzance, not far from St Michael's Mount, you will find Godolphin, one of Cornwall's most beautiful and romantic old houses, lying hidden at the heart of its 550-acre estate. Occupied by the family from the early Middle Ages, their original small, fortified house or castle was replaced in the 15th century with a grander design. This was added to in subsequent years to become, by 1664, the largest and most fashionable house in Cornwall. Large parts of the 17th-century house still survive today. Garden open 17 March - 2 November, 1pm - 5pm Monday - Saturday. House please ring for details. 01736 763194. Picture © National Trust
Lanhydrock House near Bodmin
Lanhydrock House near Bodmin is also National Trust property and has a stunning seventeenth-century gatehouse and long gallery. One of the most fascinating and complete late 19th-century houses in England, Lanhydrock is full of period atmosphere. The gatehouse and north wing (with impressive 32yd-long gallery with plaster ceiling) survive intact from the 17th century, while the rest of the house was restored in 1881 to include the latest advances in country house planning, design and technology. The garden has a stunning collection of magnolias, rhododendrons and camellias, and offers fine colours right through into autumn. All this is set in a glorious estate of 364 hectares (900 acres) of woods and parkland running down to the River Fowey, with numerous footpaths. Garden ipen daily year round, 10am - 6pm. House opens 15 March - 2 November 11am - 5.30pm. Tuesday - Saturday. Also open Bank Holiday Mondays and Mondays throughout August. Shop and refreshments available all year, telephone for specific details. 01208 265950. Picture © National Trust
Trerice near Newquay
Trerice near Newquay is a 'hidden gem', tucked away in the Cornish countryside . This stunning Elizabethan manor is set in a beautiful secluded spot, the house contains fine fireplaces, plaster ceilings, oak and walnut furniture, interesting clocks, needlework and Stuart portraits. The highlight of the interior is the magnificent Great Chamber, with its splendid barrel ceiling. The garden has some unusual plants, an orchard with old varieties of fruit trees and an experimental Tudor garden, developed in partnership with the local primary school. In the hayloft behind the Great Barn is an exhibition on the history of the lawnmower. Visitors are welcome to play Kayles (Cornish skittles) and Slapcock (Tudor badminton) on the Bowling Green. House, garden, shop & tearoom open 9 March - 2 November 10.30am - 5pm Sunday - Friday. Picture © National Trust
This Iron Age settlement was originally occupied almost 2,000 years ago.
The village consisted of eight stone-walled homesteads known as ‘courtyard houses’, found only on the Land’s End peninsula and the Isles of Scilly.
The houses line a ‘village street’, and each had an open central courtyard surrounded by a number of thatched rooms.
There are also the remains of an enigmatic ‘fogou’ underground passage.
Check here for opeing times www.english-heritage.org.uk/server/show/nav.15238 picture © English Heritage Photo Library
Launceston Castle, Launceston.
Set on a large natural mound, Launceston Castle dominates the surrounding landscape. Begun soon after the Norman Conquest, its focus is an unusual keep consisting of a 13th-century round tower built by Richard of Cornwall, inside an earlier circular shell-keep. Within, the large central chamber is now reached via a dark corridor.
The castle long remained a prison and George Fox, founder of the Quakers, suffered harsh confinement here in 1656. A display traces 1,000 years of history, with finds from site excavations. picture © English Heritage Photo Library
Restormel Castle near Lostwithiel
The great 13th-century circular shell-keep of Restormel still encloses the principal rooms of the castle in remarkably good condition. It stands on an earlier Norman mound surrounded by a deep dry ditch, atop a high spur beside the River Fowey. Twice visited by the Black Prince, it finally saw action during the Civil War in 1644. It commands fantastic views and is a favourite picnic spot. picture © English Heritage Photo Library
Tintagel Castle, Tintagel.
With its spectacular location on Cornwall's dramatic and windswept Atlantic coastline, Tintagel is a place of magic and myth where the legend of King Arthur was born. This historic spot is rich in flora and fauna and provides a breeding ground for sea birds, lizards and butterflies. Tintagel Castle is Cornwall's most iconic site. A strong hold of the Earls of Cornwall, the castle was built in the 13th century. Now in ruins, it still has the power to inspire. picture © English Heritage Photo Library
Discover the wartime secrets of Cornwall’s greatest fortress. Pendennis Castle was built by King Henry VIII to defend against possible attack by Spain and France. Throughout its 450-year history, Pendennis Castle has faced new enemies, right up to the Second World War. See a Tudor gun deck in action, and experience the sights and sounds of battle in the interactive exhibition at the Royal Artillery Barracks. Explore the cells of the WWI guard house, and relive the drama of an enemy attack on the WWII observation post. Then descend through secret tunnels to the big guns of Half Moon Battery. Explore centuries of war time history or simply relax and enjoy the scenery. Approx 15 minute walk from the hotel. Check here for opeing times www.english-heritage.org.uk/server/show/nav.11391 Picture © English Heritage Photo Library
St Mawes Castle
The best preserved and most elaborately decorated of Henry VIII’s coastal fortresses, St Mawes was built to counter invasion
threats from France and Spain.
Its counterpart was Pendennis, on the other side of the Fal estuary.
The clover-leaf shaped fort fell easily to landward attack by Parliamentarian forces in 1646, and was not properly refortified
until the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Take the St Mawes Ferry from Falmouth to visit this castle.
Check here for opeing times www.english-heritage.org.uk/server/show/nav.11392
Picture © English Heritage Photo Library
Trelissick Gardens, Near Truro
This National Trust property is situated in an outstanding position at the head of the Carrick Roads, the deepwater estuary of the River Fal. Garden on many levels with year round colour and interest, Cornish apple orchard, traditional summer house. Tender and exotic plants, camellias, magnolias, rhododendrons & many rare hyrdrangeas. Large estate has park, woodland and riverside wlask with panoramic views. Year round events including theatre and music. Parks and walks open year round.Garden open 2 - 31 January 11am - 4pm, 1 February – 2 November 10.30am - 5.30pm, 3 November - 31 December 11am - 4pm. Picture © National Trust courtesy of Scan Air.
Trengwainton House and Gardens, Penzance
Lush and sheltered temperate garden famed for tender exotic plants. The very mild climate at this National Trust property renowned for its collection of trees & shrubs which makes this a plantsman's dream garden. Series of walled gardens with unique sloping beds. Fantastic magnolia garden with flowers open during prime flowering period in early spring. Open 10 February - 2 November 10.30am - 5pm Sunday - Thursday. Also open Good Friday.Picture © National Trust.
Royal Cornwall Museum – Truro
Cornwall's oldest and most prestigious museum, famed for its internationally important mineral collection. Forthcoming exhibitions include drawings by Leonardo da Vinci, a Henry Scott Tuke retrospective and ‘Poldark’s Cornwall – The Life and Times of Winston Graham’. The museum also houses an lovely collection of Ancient Egyptian artefacts including a cartonnage mummy case of 26th Dynasty priest As Ta Ef Nakt. 01872 27 22 05 or royalcornwallmuseum.org.uk Picture - Henry Scott Tuke "the Lighthouse" courtesy of Royal Cornwall Museum.
Geevor Tin Mine, Pendeen, nr St Just
Geevor Tin Mine, situated in the village of Pendeen near St Just, was the last mine to work in West Penwith, it closed in 1990. Until then tin was mined over centuries from workings that stretched far out under the sea. Set in dramatic coastal scenery, Geevor is now the largest complete mining site in Britain where visitors can follow the story of the mining and processing of tin.
Levant Mine and Beam Engine, Pendeen, nr St Just
This National Trust property is the only Cornish beam engine anywhere in the world that is still in steam at a tin and copper mine, the famous Levant engine is housed in a small engine house on the edge of the cliffs. You can take a short underground tour through the miners' dry tunnel, and the winding and pumping shafts are also on view, as is a restored electric winding engine. A film tells the story of Levant mine and the miners who worked here.Telephone for opening times on 01736 786156. Picture © National Trust