Getting The Overview
For the best views of the town, its harbours, commercial docks, the other islands and the local shoreline to the south you need to visit Castle Cornet (see my "Things to Do" Tip). The castle walls, towers and gun emplacements offer a variety of panoramic views and even a few slightly unusual ones.
More pics on travelogues to follow.
Cross the sea
Take a bus round to the south west corner of the island. Here you will find the little island of Lihou which is only connected to Guernsey when the tides are right and the causeway appears.
Its fun to pick your way over the causeway and explore the island which has only one building on it. It was used for target practise by the germans during the occupation. The house has been repaired now and is in use.
Check the times and make sure you head back before the tide comes in or you will be stuck for the night.
Memories of WW2
St Peterport is built on a steep hill, and there are little paths and stairways which take you up and down and all over the terraces. These are fun to explore.
There are lots of restaurants and places to stop for a coffee. Unfortunately the shops tend to be the standard british high street shops - so not very inspiring.
Take a walk right out along the very long pier at sunset and watch the light change on the water.
Be warned, the town centre gets very busy and noisy at the weekends as the teenagers of Guernsey descend for the evening. They all seem to own noisy souped-up cars which rev up and down, so if you want to sleep its best to get a hotel which is not on any of the main drags.
A Two Part Tour Of Castle Cornet - Part #1
"A Brief History"
Castle Cornet is definitely a must-do here in St Peter Port. This is no fairy tale castle with elaborate banqueting halls and four-postered bedrooms but rather a proper working castle constructed for the defence of the town's harbour.
The original castle was built in the 13th century, on what was then an islet unconnected to the main island, primarily as a defence against French attacks (Guernsey having becoming an English protectorate following the Norman invasion).
For the following 700, or so, years the castle's role and ownership fluctuated as wildly as the seas that surround it.
In 1338 the French beseiged and captured it (although not the town or the main island) and held it for about seven years before the English recaptured it.
During the Tudor period, with the French still casting covetous eyes at the Channel Islands, Henry VIII had the fortifications substantially strengthened to keep apace with the developments in weaponry.
During the English Civil War the castle bizarrely became besieged by the English whilst in the charge of the Royalist governor Peter Osborne. Guernsey had allianced itself with Cromwell's Parliamentarians but Osborne literally "stuck to his guns" and the siege lasted almost nine years before the hardships endured finally overcame the defenders' resolve.
The Napoleonic Wars saw further threats by the French and further improvement of the fortifications and firepower but the castle was now considered too small for the task of being the harbour's only defence and in 1812 the nearby Fort George was built.
Cornet still had the important position overlooking the harbour and so was maintained as an artillery post and continued to be used as such by the Germans following the capitualtion of the Channel Islands during World War II.
In 1947, two years after WW2, King George bequeathed the castle to the islanders and since then it has become one of the area's main tourist attractions.
16th/17th Century gun emplacements.
The Sea-facing Walls
Musket steps which allowed the front-ranked riflemen to fire off volleys at attackers whilst the other ranks reloaded.
The castle was built upon the natural rock fortifications and the early stronghold probably consisted of a simple tower, a church and some outbuildings surrounded by low walls, a moat and a drawbridge.
The castle remained an island until the 19th century when the harbour walls were revamped to include a walkway to the main gate.
The Medieval main tower built after the recapture of the castle from the French.
Whilst much of the castle's structure is remarkably well preserved there are some parts which have become ruins.