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By Guest Blogger Jamie Hunts

If decide to do as many visitors to Guernsey do, and take a walk along the island’s magnificent coastline, you eventually come to realise that there sure are a lot of fortifications and castles dotted around the place for such a small island. And you would be right in thinking so! Guernsey is an island of only 25 square miles in size, however you will find more than 20 different fortifications, castles, and war museums.

This is mainly due to Guernsey’s strategic position in the English Channel between France and the UK, and the subsequent historical struggles between the two nations for control of the Channel Islands. Simply take a leisurely stroll along Guernsey’s west coast, a challenging trek along the southern cliff paths, or a short walk with the family across the northern common, and you will come across a multitude of different fortifications and castles.

With over 20 there are too many for me to list one by one, however here are some of my personal favourites which I feel would highlight a trip to Guernsey.

Image courtesy of VisitGuernsey

Castle Cornet. Image courtesy of VisitGuernsey

Castle Cornet

Castle Cornet is probably the most visible and obvious choice on the island of Guernsey. The castle itself is nearly eight centuries old and has guarded the entrance to St Peter Port’s harbour in the capital of the island ever since its inception.

Whilst no longer a functional fortress, the castle is now home to five separate museums and four historic gardens, as well as the obligatory souvenir shop and café for refreshments. A cannon is still fired from here everyday at noon to let islanders know the time.

The German Military Underground Hospital

This is the site of the largest single construction in the whole of the Channel Islands. Slaves under the oppressive regime of the German Nazi forces carved the underground hospital out of solid rock when the island was occupied during World War II.

The eerie tunnels give an insight into what life was like during these tough times for islanders, and serves as an ever-present reminder of what grim deeds the inhabitants of Guernsey had to persevere through during the war.

Image courtesy of VisitGuernsey.

Image courtesy of VisitGuernsey.

Vale Castle

The second largest castle on the island, Vale Castle sits on the north eastern shore of Guernsey atop a hill. Research suggests that this site has a history which stretches all the way back to the Iron Age. The castle offers stunning views both over Guernsey, and out to sea where you can easily make out the islands of Herm and Jethou.

Every summer at the end of August the castle plays host to a live music festival known as The Vale Earth Fair, with a variety of genres and stages set up around and inside the castle itself. It is an experience that you will definitely enjoy.

Fort Grey

My final suggestion is Fort Grey on Guernsey’s west coast. Built at the beginning of the 19th century, this tower was designed to provide a defensive point against any naval attack, mainly intended by the French. This tower is locally known as ‘The Cup and Saucer’ due to its uncanny resemblance and is now the home of a shipwreck museum, given the west coast’s treacherous track record for vessels sailing too close to the rocks.

These are but four of Guernsey’s many magnificent historical structures, all of which are well deserving of a visit. The island itself is a treasure trove of historical facts and finds, and if you are that way inclined, I strongly recommend you make a note of stopping off here on your travels.

Fort Grey. Image courtesy of VisitGuernsey.

Fort Grey. Image courtesy of VisitGuernsey.

Jamie Hunts loves living in Guernsey and loves even more the idea of spreading the message about his wonderful island home. Jamie recommends using Visit Guernsey to learn more about a holiday to Guernsey.

    2 Comments

  1. Never been to the channel islands despite how near England they are – I’ve read a lot of articles about Jersey but much less about Guernsey so found this really interesting!

    • Glad we could provide some inspiration for you! I’ve heard much about Jersey as well but haven’t been myself – Maybe it’s time to do a little Channel Island hopping!!

      Meet you there!
      Megan Claire recently posted…How To Spend 5 Days in Sydney, AustraliaMy Profile

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