Charming holiday in Guernsey
A surprise is always magical. It gives you that strange feeling under your feet, like the ground disappeared.
When, instead, you know that you will get a surprise, but you have to wait for it, you have that sense of emptiness in your stomach, until you finally find out. When the surprise is the destination of your holiday, the emptiness is later filled with constant excitement, especially if you find yourself being with your favourite person in one of the places of your “To visit” list.
My amazing boyfriend surprised me, taking me first to London, which is amazing to visit even just for a few hours as a layover, and then to Portsmouth, to take the ferry to Guernsey.
When I mention this island to people, they have no idea where it’s located, so don’t worry if you have no idea of what I’m talking about: you are not alone!
How I found out about this place? It’s thanks to a book: “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” (You can read my book review here)
You will probably know about it by now, since the movie inspired by the book is on Netflix in some countries. If you haven’t already, go watch it!
For our tour around the island, we took inspiration from Roger Charles Berry’s book “The Guernsey guide to ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’ “ and visited many of the places that are mention in Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows’ novel.
Today, I want to take you to Guernsey, showing you the beautiful places we have seen over there and let you discover how charming this island is.
From 30 June 1940 to 9 May 1945, the island has been occupied by Germans troops during World War II.
Around Guernsey there are many proofs of how these 5 long years have left a scar on the island, and one of these is the Occupation Museum.
From uniforms to weapons, vehicles and pictures of poor victims, this place gives a 365° view of what was going on in Guernsey’s streets.
I didn’t take any picture of this place. It’s important to know our past, but delving into it in that brutal way gave me a sadness that I’d rather forget.
Dolmens: Le Creux ès Faïes & Le Trépied
These to prehistoric graves were two of the many stops we did during our bus tour around the island (Busses 91 and 92)
It was quite interesting to look at these, and realise how way back the history of this island goes.
On the northern shore of the island, you can visit this fortress built in the 19th century to protect Guernsey from a French invasion.
During World War II, this fort was used by the Germans, and the area included three coastal defence guns, anti-aircraft guns and mortars.
Fort Doyle has an amazing view of the sea, the perfect spot to take a break after a long walk, listen to the sound of the sea and enjoy the beauty of Guernsey.
The Underground Hospital
If you manage to forget for a moment the events during which this structure was built, the Underground Hospital is quite fascinating.
With 7.000 square metres, this is the largest construction on the island and has been built by slaves taken to Guernsey by the German occupation.
The works of the Underground Hospital began in 1940 and were done underground to avoid been seen by planes.
The Underground Hospital wasn’t though only that: this structure also had a cinema, an operating theatre, the ammunition store and the mortuary.
The Little Chapel
If you are into mosaics, you have to see this place. The Little Chapel in St. Andrew is the smallest functioning chapel and it’s completely covered in pieces of china.
This eccentric structure was built in 1914, with the intention of creating a replica of the Rosary Basilica in Lourdes.
The current version of the chapel is actually the third version that the artist created!
The first attempt was destroyed because of bad taken criticism and the second was demolished because the Bishop of Portsmouth, who visited the place in 1923, couldn’t fit through the door!
The Guernsey Aquarium
Don’t expect sharks and dolphins, but this aquarium will fascinate you with fishes, which is 75% of local origins. The Aquarium is hidden in tunnels used during World War II.
Saint Martin’s Parish Church
At the main gate of this church, stands a female figure shaped stone menhir, La Gran’mère du Chimquière.
It is a tradition for new brides to place flowers on her head, for good luck.
Constructed in 1848, this monument commemorates the surprise visit of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1846 to Guernsey, the first by a reigning monarch.
This tower will gift you with a really nice view of St. Peter Port, but remember the key! You will have to pick it up at the Guernsey Museum!
When taking back Victoria Tower’s key to the museum, I noticed something amazing: props from the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society film!
Here in the pictures, you can see one of Dawsey’s letters to Juliet and the books that are mentioned in the movie:
- Anne Brontë a life and Izzy Bickerstaff goes to war, novels written by Juliet
- Tales from Shakespeare, book which Juliet buys for Dawsey
- Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen and Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, both seen in meetings of the society
- Everybody’s Lamb, Juliet’s old book that Dawsey buys and in which he finds her address (The book that made everything start!)
and finally, the finished manuscript of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society!
Books about Guernsey:
*By buying from one of these links, I will receive a small percentage from Amazon. Please, use these links if you are interested in one or more of these books. Thank you!
If you are interested in the book “The Guernsey Guide to ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’ “, you can find it at the Guernsey Tourist Information Centre in St. Peter Port!
I’ve been back home for quite a while now, but I can’t stop thinking about Guernsey. I truly fell in love with this place, and I definitely recommend it for your next holiday!
Have you ever been to Guernsey? What was your favourite spot of the island?
Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed this brief trip to the British Channel!