Guernsey is an island and British Crown Dependency located, under an hour’s flight from London, in the English Channel. Given its location between England and France, the island has for centuries been in the midst of a cultural tug-of-war makes between the two powers, thus creating an extremely rich heritage and cultural identity. Whilst potentially unknown, the island of Guernsey definitely is on the list of destinations for those culture-seeking travellers.
With my plane having landed on a particularly sunny lunchtime, and once I had deposited my bags in my beautiful town centered hotel room, there was only one logical to begin my explorations. Castle Cornet is a 13th century stone castle, which guarded the island’s capital of St Peter Port up until halfway through the 19th century. Despite the cannon sounding off at noon every day, the castle is no longer an active fort and its walls now contain five museums, four gardens, an eatery and a quaint little souvenir shop.
The museums consist of: The Story of Castle Cornet Museum; The Maritime Museum; The 201 Squadron (RAF) Museum; The Royal Guernsey Light Infantry Museum and The Royal Guernsey Militia Museum; with exhibitions detailing Guernsey’s naval history, the tales of Guernsey’s own RAF 201 Squadron, as well the exploits of the Guernsey militia.
After my delightful time at Castle Cornet I headed back to the hotel. The next morning I took the bus over to the west coast of the island to Fort Grey, endearingly known to the locals as the “Cup and Saucer”. This Napoleonic fort is set in the beautiful Rocquaine Bay and, now defunct from any military duty, plays home to Guernsey’s Shipwreck Museum. Brimming full with shipwreck displays, information, and a wealth of history, the museum details the story of the shipwrecks that have occurred in the island’s waters, ranging from centuries ago right up to the modern day. This is definitely a must visit place for all you salty sea dogs out there.
After my time at the “Cup and Saucer” I set off to the single largest construction in the whole of the Channel Islands. During World War II when German forces occupied the island, slaves who had the misfortune of being captured carved the German Military Underground Hospital entirely out of solid rock. The hospital’s dark unnerving tunnels give a unique, albeit eerie, experience and understanding of what it was like to be alive at the time and definitely stand out as one of the highlights of my visit to the island.
My time on Guernsey was so enjoyable, informative and uplifting I truly recommend everyone should experience their own taste of Guernsey heritage.
Emma is an avid traveller and loves visiting unusual places. She works to travel and loves to spend as much time exploring as possible. Check out her blog at www.travelbagel.com
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