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Top ten must sees at the Channel Islands Heritage Festival 2015

25th November 2014 Print
Channel Islands

The Channel Islands will hold its first pan island Heritage Festival from 3rd April – 11th May 2015. The festival will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the islands' liberation from the occupying German forces during WWII. As the only part of the UK to be German occupied during WWII, the scar left on the islands is substantial with observation towers on the coastline, Nazi bunkers, underground tunnels and hospitals and hundreds of war relics now housed in the island museums. Throughout the five week festival there will be special openings of these historical sites, exclusive tours and occupation themed guided walks, culminating in Liberation Day on 9th May.

The top ten must sees during the festival are:

1. Secret Tunnels at Castle Cornet, Guernsey

The majestic Castle Cornet sits in the harbour of Guernsey's capital, St. Peter Port and dates back to 1206. During the Heritage Festival, from 3rd- 6th April, the castle's secret tunnels will open to the public for the first time. The tunnels have a rich and varied history including being used as bunkers by German occupying forces during WWII and by the Ministry of Defence during the Cold War. A number of guides will be giving 15 minute tours of the tunnels over the Easter weekend. Entry and the tour costs £10 per adult and £2.50 per child.

2. Jersey War Tunnels

Jersey War Tunnels are a network of tunnels one kilometre in length that were dug by slave workers during the occupation. The tunnels tell the story of Jersey's occupation during WWII with a collection of thought provoking galleries detailing the occupation history from resistance, through to starvation and eventual liberation. During the Heritage Festival from 3rd– 10th May, there will be aweek of celebrations in the tunnels with a Vintage Fair, talks by occupation veterans and wartime cooking demonstrations. Entry costs £11.50 per adult and £7.50 per child. There are also discounts for senior citizens and students.

3. Naval Signals H.Q., Guernsey 

The headquarters of the German Naval Commander during the occupation was located in a bunker in the grounds of La Colinette Hotel in St. Peter Port and can be visited today. The H.Q. was responsible for all radio traffic to and from Germany and the other islands and was active until 9th May 1945. The bunker has been restored to appear as it would have looked in the 1940's. Admission is £3.50 for adults and £2 for children.  

4. Channel Islands Military Museum, Jersey

The museum is housed in a former German bunker which once formed part of Hitler's Atlantic Wall defences. The rooms and corridors are full of occupation artefacts showing visitors what life was like on Jersey during the war. Entry is £4 per adult, £2 for children (5-12) and free for children under 5 years old.

5. Pleimont Observation Tower, Guernsey  

The impressive tower which has a view of the south west coast was built by the Germans in 1942 as a part of a series of similar towers. It has been fully resorted to reflect how it looked during the occupation years and the view from the top is breathtaking. Entry is £3 for adults and £1.50 for children.

6.  Jersey Occupation Trail

The occupation trail maps out Jersey's many scars resulting from the occupation. This is due to Hitler demanding that the Channel Islands be turned into 'impregnable fortresses', resulting in an inordinate amount of tunnels, concrete bunkers and fortifications – all which can be visited on the island trail. The occupation trail can be downloaded from

7. La Valette Underground Military Museum, Guernsey  

The museum is located in part of a complex of tunnels built by slave labourers during the occupation. The tunnels originally served as a refuelling station for U-boats but now house military and civilian memorabilia. Entry is £5 per person.

8. Occupation Tapestry Gallery, Jersey

Included in a visit to Jersey's Maritime Museum is the award-winning Occupation Tapestry. The artwork was made by the people of Jersey to celebrate the anniversary of the island's liberation from German occupation. Entry is £4.20 per person and free for children under 6 years old.

9. Guernsey's sister islands of Herm, Sark and Alderney

Guernsey's smaller neighbouring islands of Herm (20 minutes by ferry from Guernsey), Sark (50 minutes by ferry from Guernsey) and Alderney (15 minute flight from Guernsey) each have an occupation history of their own to tell with special events during the Heritage Festival. Join an archaeology team in Alderney from 3rd-4th Apriltoclear out and conserve some of the WWII fortifications (no cost), hear about Sark's liberation with a guided tour on 10th May (no cost) and learn about Herm's centuries old history with a guided walk on 13th or 20th April (£7.50 per person).

10. Noirmont Command Bunker, Jersey

Noirmont Command Bunker is a well-preserved German Naval Command Bunker that controlled the coastal artillery Batterie Lotheringen from 1944-45. On two floors, this impressive bunker contains numerous displays and exhibits, including various gun emplacements and an observation tower. Entry is £2.50 per person and children go free.

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Channel Islands