Island closed from 13:00 Friday 14th June due to poor sea stateClick here for further info.
National Garden Scheme Open Day Sunday 23 June.Click here for further details and tickets.

The Garden Terraces

This beautiful, fragile, terraced garden was designed in 1878 for Sir John St Aubyn, (later the 1st Lord St Levan ) and would have delighted his family of eleven people.

Aloes and Agave rear out of the bedrock, Tulbaghia’s wave their delicate heads, and binding threads of rosemary, lavender and Lampranthus tumble down the terraces. Come and experience life beyond the castle walls…

Stroll among the steep, sloping terraces and you’ll spot all manner of unlikely plants, which thrive in this curiously mild microclimate. Despite the gales and salty winds that you’d expect here, frosts are a rarity and the rock acts as a gigantic radiator – absorbing the heat by day and releasing it at night

Don’t miss:

  • Our Victorian ‘Seagull Seat’, the perfect place to absorb the bay views from the top of the west terraces
  • Exotic succulents nestled among the granite bedrock in the east terraces and west terraces
  • A trip through time in the walled garden, designed by two daughters of the fourth baronet in 1780

Preserving their delicate beauty

The private gardens on St Michael’s Mount were built in 1887 for a family of 11. Last year just shy of 150,000 visitors were welcomed into them. 

The castle is robust, the gardens are fragile and therefore have restricted opening times: Mon-Fri 09:45 - 15:45.  However, the gardens have been designed to be seen from above as well as from within and the incredible view from the castle battlements shows off the rich tapestry of the terraces below.

National Garden Scheme - June 23rd

The formal gardens on St Michael’s Mount belong to the St Aubyn Family and have been built over the years since the initial creation of the walled garden in 1780. The St Aubyn Family will open the gardens on Sunday the 23rd June, when the island is open, to support the National Garden Scheme. All visitors, including National Trust members, are required to buy a ticket for this event and all the proceeds will be donated to the National Garden Scheme.

The National Garden Scheme (NGS) gives its visitors unique access to over 3500 exceptional private gardens in the UK. It raises impressive amounts of money for nursing and health charities through its admissions, teas, cakes and plant sales.

Thanks to the generosity of garden owners, volunteers and visitors the NGS have donated over £63 million to nursing and health charities over the years and made an annual donation of over £3.1 million in 2022. The NGS are the biggest fundraiser for Marie Curie, but other core beneficiaries include Macmillan Cancer Support, Hospice UK and The Queen’s Nursing Institute. 

Restoration in Progress

Over 200 tonnes of scaffolding have been meticulously erected on the south elevation of the castle above the garden terraces. Each piece was carried by hand across the island, up cobbled paths, and over rocky outcrops, then expertly assembled to withstand the elements for the next two years. This scaffolding allows us to inspect and repair fascias, windows, guttering, and wind spurs. The windows, made of a unique mix of glass, bronze, and oak box frame, are set directly into the granite and need careful maintenance due to exposure to extreme weather. The last time this essential work was carried out was 18 years ago, making this a rare and significant project.

What happens during the winter season?

The inevitable wear and tear, from so many pairs of feet, on the steep paths, narrow terraces and above all on the grass, necessitates a closed period between September and May for the gardening team’s skilled attention.

The cliff faces will be abseiled down and cleared of bracken and weeds. The grass paths will be aerated and re-turfed or seeded whilst the ground is still warm. Dry stone walls will be repaired and various horticultural jobs will be undertaken in the narrow, terraced borders.

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