Things to see and do in Guernsey
Guernsey TourismAddress: North Esplanade, St Peter Port, GY1 3AN
Telephone: +44 1481 723 552.
Attractions in Guernsey
Overlooking the harbour in St Peter Port stands Castle Cornet. Built between 1206 and 1256 following the division of the Duchy of Normandy, it bears influences from many eras, through to the German occupation of WWII. It houses five museums – The Story of Castle Cornet Museum, 201 Squadron (RAF) Museum, Maritime Museum, Royal Guernsey Light Infantry Museum and Royal Guernsey Militia Museum. From March to November, there is a daily cannon fire at noon and from April to September, the castle also hosts outdoor theatre performances.
Fortifications are scattered all around the coast - among them Ivy Castle near Le Bouet, a Norman stronghold, and Vale Castle at St Sampson. On the West Coast lies Fortress Rousse, an 18th-century tower open to the public.
Out of the 42 miles of cliff and coastal paths on the island, many hikers prefer the south coast cliff walks starting from La Vallette and finishing at Pleinmont. The 270 descending steps leading to the secluded Petit Port, and the 300 ascending steps to the Saints Bay headland are definite highlights. Every May and September, the island also hosts walking festivals with accredited guides leading many walks.
Diving and snorkelling excursions and courses are popular with families and professional divers alike. Divers can enjoy a variety of marine life on the reefs, while seasoned divers can explore one of the many wrecks littered around Guernsey's coast.
Experience German occupation
There are four museums on the island covering the dark history during Germany's WWII occupation of the Channel Islands – the German Underground Hospital at La Vassalerie, the German Occupation Museum at Forest (with a reconstruction of an occupied street), the La Vallette Underground Military Museum at La Vallette, and the German Naval Signal Museum at St Jacques.
Hit the beach
There are 27 beaches on the island to suit everyone. Vazon Bay on the north is the largest and an excellent surfing beach. L'Eree Bay on the west boasts a wide crescent beach of glorious soft white sand. The east-facing Fermain Bay is another beautiful spot for swimmers and sunbathers.
Accessible to walkers only for a couple of hours at low tide, this island is home to flocks of seabirds. Clamber down rocks to Venus Pool, a deep and sheltered rock pool that is sensational and great for a swim.
The Little Chapel at Les Vauxbelets is thought to be the smallest church in the world, with space for a priest and a congregation of five. The exterior and interior walls are entirely bedecked in colourful fragments of crockery, making this a charmingly quirky spot in Guernsey.
Dolmens (Neolithic tombs) are common on the island. Déhus Dolmen in Vale is the best-kept Dolmen in Guernsey with a bearded figure carrying a bow and arrow. Le Trépied, on a mound overlooking Perelle Bay, was reputedly once a witches' meeting place.
A shingle beach, Rocquaine Bay has a small harbour and is the venue of Rocquaine Regatta, a popular summer event featuring a day of activities including raft races. At one end of the bay stands Fort Grey, a tower built in 1804 to defend the west coast. Affectionately nicknamed 'Cup and Saucer', Fort Grey now houses the Shipwreck Museum.
Take a peek into this historic Sausmarez Manor in St Martin. From May to October, there is a ghost tour on some Thursday evenings plus a farmer's market on every Saturday morning with a few stands selling fresh and local produce. Within the compound, there is also a sub-tropical garden displaying beautiful sculptures.
St Peter Port
The island's charming capital St Peter Port has cobbled streets spreading out from its picturesque marina leading visitors to a plethora of attractions including the Guernsey Tapestry at the Gallery in St James Concert Hall and Hauteville House, former home of French writer Victor Hugo. On the south side stands Castle Cornet, an 800-year old castle which now houses five museums. A little further south from there you will find three Victorian bathing pools, the La Vallette Underground Military Museum and the Guernsey Aquarium.
Catch the breaks off the coast of Guernsey, with many locals agree that Vazon Bay, with six surfing spots depending on the swell and wind conditions, is the best area for beginners and seasoned surfers.
Victor Hugo's House (Closed in 2018)
Pay your respects to Victor Hugo at Hauteville House, above the south side of St Peter Port, where he once lived. It was here that he wrote The Toilers of the Sea (which is set in St Sampson). In 1914, the French government gifted Guernsey a statue of Victor Hugo which now stands in Candie Gardens.