As well as beautiful beaches, great food and unforgettable scenery, Guernsey boasts a truly fascinating history dating all the way back to the Neolithic period.
During WW2 the islands were invaded by the German army and occupied for five years. During this time many families were separated and reminders of the occupation can still be seen around the island today. Guernsey annually celebrates its freedom on Liberation Day on 9 May, which is a bank holiday on the island. There is always a programme of events based in St Peter Port, as well as additional events around the island. Discover more about the German occupation, as well as tales of ancient burials, smuggling, shipwrecks and more, by visiting these unmissable heritage sites.
Uncover Guernsey's Heritage
Coastal fortifications: Guernsey's coastline may well be best known for its golden sandy beaches and dramatic cliffscapes, but it is also littered with some intriguing fortifications. Many were built to guard against invasion from Napoleon's army and then adapted by the occupying German forces during WWII. Head out on a coastal walk or a trip to the beach, and explore Guernsey's coastal forts and towers as you go!
Castle Cornet: One of St Peter Port and Guernsey's most iconic structures, imposing Castle Cornet has loomed over the capital for more than 800 years. Not only is the castle itself a fascinating attraction, it also houses five museums and four historic gardens, so ideal for heritage lovers. Be sure to time your visit to watch the firing of the noonday gun! The Castle opens seasonally from early April until the end of October, between 10am-5pm. A guided tour takes place at 10.30am.
Candie Gardens: This rare example of a late 19th century public flower garden is one of the British Isles' oldest known heated glass-houses. In the gardens, aside from beautiful flowers, lawns and fish ponds, there is a museum, art gallery, cafe housed in a Victorian bandstand and a statue of Victor Hugo.
Guernsey Museum at Candie: Home to permanent exhibitions showing the Archaeology of Guernsey along with treasures from around the world and around 200 works of art. In addition, there is a rolling programme of temporary exhibitions each year. Open late January to the end of December.
Hauteville House: The French writer, Victor Hugo, spent almost 15 years in exile in Guernsey during the 19th century and his St Peter Port house is well worth a visit. See where he spent his time writing his masterpieces and personally decorated the house. Open from April to September (except Wednesdays). Advance reservations required.
Little Chapel: Possibly the smallest church in the world modelled on the shrine at Lourdes and decorated in shells and pottery. A visit to the beautiful island of Guernsey simply would not be complete without visiting this iconic landmark! Open year round.
German Underground Hospital: The German Underground Hospital and Ammunition Store is the largest structural reminder of the German Occupation existing in the Channel Islands. This maze of tunnels (over 75,000 square feet) is almost invisible from the surface, except for the entrances, and lies beneath a low hill in the heart of the Guernsey countryside. Open April to October (with daily opening from May to September and Tuesday to Thursday opening in April & October).
German Occupation Museum: This fascinating museum provides a unique insight into life in Guernsey during the occupation. Exhibits include an authentic recreation of an occupation-era street along with lots of Nazi memorabilia. Open April-October.
Sausmarez Manor: The Islands only stately home, Sausmarez Manor is a time capsule of the history of the family which have owned it for more than 800 years. Although still lived in, you can take a tour of the house (from Easter or April to October) and also on site are a celebrated sculpture park, a 9 hole pitch & putt course, a subtropical woodland garden and a miniature railway.
Fort Grey & Shipwreck Museum: Known locally as the "Cup and Saucer", Fort Grey is an iconic Martello Tower on Guernsey's west coast at the southern end of Rocquaine Bay. It was built in 1804 as a defence against French invasion and now contains the island's Shipwreck Museum, where you can uncover intriguing stories of nearby wrecks which came to grief on this beautiful, but treacherous coast. Open daily between early April until the end of October from 10am–4.30pm.
Dehus Dolmen: Situated in the north of the island, Dehus Dolmen is a prehistoric burial chamber from the Neolithic period. It dates back as far as 3500BC, and is believed to be the tomb of a Celtic chief. Look out for the fascinating stone carvings, which depict a bearded man and a large bow, known as the “Guardian of the Tomb”.