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The Harbour & Village
It’s thought that during classical times, the island formed a trading centre for the tin industry. More than 2,000 years ago, Phoenician ships may have sailed into the Mount’s harbour and exported Cornish tin to the rest of Europe.
Life on the island – then and now
The island’s population ebbed and flowed, but by the early 1800s, the Mount was thriving commercially and the village was alive with activity, home to over 300 islanders with 53 houses and four streets.
Pubs welcomed sailors and fishermen, a school taught the island’s children, a parish policeman kept the peace, the dairy churned butter and the green saw villagers gather to play bowls. It was said that at times you could walk from one side of the harbour to the other stepping over the boats that were moored there. There were net lofts, stables, a pilchard press and even a Victorian change house, where castle residents could wriggle into their swimsuits for a sea dip.
Today, around 30 islanders still live here, travelling to the mainland for schools, shopping and employment.
Walk in royal footsteps
Royal visits to the island have been captured in time by casting the actual footprints of visiting kings and queens. To walk in the footsteps of royalty, keep an eye out for the bronze casts of Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth and King Charles, set amongst the harbour cobbles.
Discover more with the online island tour
When visiting, look out for the online island tour created by Lord St Levan. It’s simple! Just scan the QR codes at the Pilgrim Steps with the camera on your smart phone to get information on the rooms, artefacts and family life within the castle walls.
Opening hours and accessibility
The harbour village is open and freely accessible on the days we are open between 01 October and 31 April. Please see our dog policy for information on when dogs are welcome to visit the harbour village.
This is a working harbour with ferry boats, high walls and steep drops. Parents must be responsible for the safety of their children at all times.