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Guernsey’s Heritage

From prehistoric burial sites which stand camouflaged in the shadows of Napoleonic sea defences and WW2 gun batteries to castles, forts and watch towers, Guernsey’s unique history is etched into its dramatic coastline. History lives here in Guernsey and is all around us.

The island may only be 25 square miles but it’s home to some of Europe’s significant heritage sites. The States of Guernsey has restored many of the fortifications and some are open to the public. Here’s our pick of the top three heritage attractions that you may wish to consider visiting when next in Guernsey.

Castle CornetCastle Cornet

Built in the 13th century, originally on a small island off St Peter Port, its purpose was to defend the island against the French. Castle Cornet has been wonderfully preserved and remains a living monument to centuries of tradition. The castle has several museums including the Story of the Castle, history of the Royal Guernsey militia, 201 Squadron Museum and an excellent Maritime Museum; which features Guernsey’s colourful maritime history from prehistoric times to the present day. Fishing industries, ship-building and naval history are also portrayed.

Open daily 10am – 5pm, from late March through to October. There is a gift shop, the Refectory Cafe overlooking the harbour and well maintained gardens, including four period gardens. Castle Cornet is well worth a half day visit and it’s particularly spectacular if arriving just before midday, as soldiers in full costume set off the historic noon canon.

Castle CornetLa Vallette German Underground Museum

Having won many awards this Museum has an appropriate location set amidst the complex tunnels built by the Germans near to La Vallette bathing pools. The original purpose was to store fuel for the U-Boats. The museum features military and occupation memorabilia and is open daily (except Tue/Wed) from April – October, 10am – 5pm (March – November).

Guernsey Museum & Art Gallery at Candie GardensGuernsey Museum & Art Gallery at Candie Gardens

Having opened in 1978 to combine the collections of three former Island museums, it was purpose built based on the original Victorian bandstand which stood on the site. Set in the beautiful Candie Gardens on a hillside overlooking St Peter Port, this award winning Museum maps out the island’s ancient history from the time it first became an island right up to the 21st century. In the Discovery Room the whole family can enjoy hands-on activities from the past and dressing up in the Time Warp. Amenities include a gift shop and café, an audio visual theatre whilst other highlights include constantly changing art exhibitions throughout the year. The Museum is open April – October, 10am – 5pm (until 4pm November – March). There is good wheelchair access.

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Posted by S-J