After leaving Carbis Bay, heading for Penzance, we decided to drive around the Penwith peninsula and stop at Land’s End – the most westerly point of mainland England. We are not easily disappointed, but unfortunately Land’s End was pretty disappointing to us. Expecting tales of important historical significance and stunning views, we were met with a £5 parking fee, a tourist-trap complex and the view of a miniscule lighthouse off in the distance. I’m guessing there are some superb walks along coastal paths (?) and I enjoyed the story of the nearby First and Last Inn, which was once frequented by ship wreckers and smugglers, bringing brandy, silk and tea in from France. However, quite frankly, the whole thing was pretty appalling – a 4D film experience about King Arthur, a small petting zoo, never-ending tourist shops and junk food and a fee for a photo of the “Land’s End” sign post (not pictured)?! In my humble opinion, it was the epitome of tourism-gone-wrong. We would have left sooner, but for the one bright spot – the girls enjoyed the playground there.
Thankfully, the day got much better from there. Brett and I had coffee in Mousehole harbor, while the girls built a sandcastle on the beach. Mousehole (not pronounced how you think) is simply adorable.
After lunch in Mousehole we still had enough time in the day to visit St. Michael’s Mount. There is something quite spectacular about a castle on an island. This one sits on a tidal island – a piece of land connected to the mainland by a causeway that is only exposed during low tide. We were there during high tide, so we took a boat to get across. Currently a partnership between the National Trust and the St. Aubyn family (past down many generations), it is a little piece of history worth exploring. Although once a monastery and important pilgrimage destination, The Mount has survived its share of sieges and combat during war times. Today it is brimming with stories of the past. And you can count on the National Trust to make it fun and educational for children, with legends of giants and a scavenger hunt throughout the grounds.
After a cream-themed snack (cream teas and Cornish ice cream), we had just a short drive up the hillside to our farm-stay.