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Whilst it may not have the fairytale grandeur of other European castles the ruggedly utilitarian Castle Cornet nevertheless has an interesting and varied 700 year history, having been variously involved in the wars against France, the English Civil War and finally the WW2 German occupation of the Channel Islands.
After WW2 King George VI gifted the castle to the Islanders for developement as a mueum and tourist attraction. The castle's main exhibition tells its belliferous story using an array of exhibition types. These include detail-perfect life-size reconstructions of castle life, multi media and interactive displays as well as the more formal museum-style enclosed cases.
The castle's structure and buildings, which range from early Medieval English to WW2 German, give substance the historical tale and during the main season the local "History in Action" Theatre Company hold performances most days at appropriate locations within the grounds.
As well as the castle's history there are also three other museums: those of the 201 Squadron RAF; the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry and a Maritime Museum which charts the Island's seafaring relationship over the years.
There's the usual museum shop and a cafe whose terrace has great views seaward over the ramparts. As an added bonus you also get the best views over the town and harbours from various points around the site
Adult admission might sound a little expensive at £8.00 but the ticket is valid for two days (I think) and to fully appreciate the castle, its grounds and the four museums you should allow at least three to four hours which, in my opinion, makes it excellent value for money. There's no separate charge for photography but they do request that you don't use the flash.
Full details of opening times and prices are given on the website, whilst my travelogues below offer a short guided tour.
Updated Jul 25, 2010
Address: Castle Cornet, St Peter Port.
For an interesting cafe/restaurant with great views over the harbour and out to the islands of Sark and Alderney the Terrace Garden Cafe is the prime spot.
This is a proper continental-style cafe where you are as welcome to sit with a coffee (or a beer) as you are to try the delish-looking Thai food which forms the basis of the restaurant menu. Despite its location The Terrace is equally popular with locals as it is with visitors and so prices are reasonable and service is swift and friendly.
Updated Jul 20, 2010
Address: Cornet Street, St Peter Port
In was only on the island for less than 24 hours and so can't comment on every pub but I did like the Thomas de la Rue. On the UK mainland this would be an unatmospheric town centre circuit pub with louder than loud chavs and yuppies competing for dominance.
Here though, despite having the same sort of fixtures and fittings and the same sort of frontage as, say, a JD Weatherspoons, this pub manages to creep up a notch or two on the classiness scale.
Nice upmarket touches abound and the place has a relaxed ambience complimented by friendly and personal service. It also stocks the Jersey-brewed "Liberation Ale" which is one of the main localish brewery's offerings and an excellent pint it is too. Good session beer, clean-flavoured and a nice hoppy finish.
According to the website it's also quite a lively nightlife bar at weekends but I was only there early evening midweek and so can't comment on that.
Updated Jul 1, 2010
Address: On The Eponymous Rue!
The legendary fish & chips at Cobo Bay is a fantastic way to end a long summers day. The sunset is spectacular and Cobo Bay is one of the most scenic beaches on the island. Recommended by locals it is definitely one of the top things to try in Guernsey.
Written Sep 19, 2007
Address: Cobo Bay
Guernsey does have its own brewery, although not every pub sells it. Pop into the Randalls brewery in St Julian's Avenue, although I believe the brewery is on the move to the seafront soon.
The tour is very informal but very informative - and of course there is a shop at the end to try out the wares.
We made a point of trying to visit only the pubs which sold Randalls rather than all the imported beer. Apparently the tourists drink far more Randalls than the locals, which I think is a shame.
Updated Jul 16, 2007
Address: St Julian's Avenue
Hire a bike from one of the St Peterport hire shops and explore the island. Guernsey has used up a lot of its land for agriculture of some sort, and left it not very interesting to be honest.
However the west coast is lovely and south of St Peterport is still untouched by the invasion of greenhouses.
There is a book you can buy apparantely from local shops, Cycle Tours , which gives a dozen or so routes to take you round Guernsey. I have not tried it but would buy it if visiting again.
Updated Jul 14, 2007
You need to catch the ferry over to Herm. Once you arrive buy some water then set out to walk round the island. It took us about two hours and parts of it are strenuous.
We travelled north first to go round the lovely beaches before climbing up to go round the cliff edges of the southern shore.
Eventually you will get back to the ferry area where you can indulge in a well earned icecream or lunch.
Written Jul 14, 2007