Setting just two miles above Penzance and in the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Beauty, Marazion is a pretty little shop town with views of St. Michael’s Mount. There are numerous restaurants, galleries and stores, as well as a beach and half-mile causeway to the castle. The little island in the sea is owned and operated by the National Trust, offering tours, tea and amazing views. The weather and tide has a bearing on access, so some pre-planning is necessary. However, the town itself is delightful and with two beautiful beaches it’s a great place to stop in for a few days.
Interestingly, Marazion claims to be one of the oldest towns in the United Kingdom, pointing to the 1257 charter granted by Henry III and reaffirmation by Queen Elizabeth I in 1595, though some might debate the first charter. The name itself is a bit of a mystery, but it is believed that markets were held in Marazion as early as 1070, and that Marazion was bigger and more important than Penzance. The name could possibly derive from Marghas Byghan, meaning small market or Marghas Yow, meaning Thursday market.
While shipping and trading were of great importance to the area, once tin and copper mines were established, greater wealth came to the area. Local wheals such as Prosper, Crab, Rodney, Tolvadden and South Neptune dominated the skyline and produced much heath until the late 1800s.
By the end of the mines the Victorian holiday makers were coming in droves to see the beautiful beaches of Cornwall. Marazion was a popular place due to St. Michael’s Mount and continues to bring in about 300,000 people each year.
Local businesses have won awards for their hospitality, including the Godolphin Arms Hotel and Ben’s Cornish Kitchen, which has won two restaurant of the year awards for 2016. Cycling and sailing are two of the most popular outdoor activities. Shopping includes galleries, clothing, antiques and collectibles, jewelry, pottery and much more.
The surrounding area still contains the ruins of engine houses used for mining and are worth a trek out of town. Agriculture is a major industry in the area and due to the mild climate of Cornwall unusual produce can be grown and there are often crops thriving through winter. Fields of daffodils can be spotted in early spring and are worth a drive outside of Marazion to see.