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Thursday, June 27, 2013

St Peter Port, Guernsey : A charming harbour town

Guernsey, located off the coast of Normandy in the English Channel, is a British Crown dependency. Together with the island of Jersey, they are collectively known as the Channel Islands. St Peter Port is the capital of Guernsey and most Guernsey holidays begin from St Peter Port as it is home to the main port on the island.

You can get into the island either by air or by sea. Condor Ferries operate services to St Peter Port from Poole, Portsmouth and Weymouth in the UK. You would be surprised to know that currently the island does not have any railway services except for a 2 mile coastal railway line run by Alderney Railway. Travelling within the island is very easy though; with a reliable and regular bus service connecting all the major places. Alternately you can hire a bicycle or motorcycle and explore the island on your own. Car travel is also comfortable but you need to take into account that roads are generally narrow in most places.

St Peter Port is a small quaint town with steep and narrow roads. Some parts of the town have level land while some areas are hilly and have a few cliffs.



 
 
The St Peter Port harbour is one of the most picturesque marinas I have seen. Not only does it provide an industrial hub and commercial facilities, but it also is a leisure centre with numerous private boats and yachts moored at the marina. The marina also offers facilities for sailing and fishing.


There is loads to do in St Peter Port. Read on to find out about the main attractions in the town.


One of the main attractions in St Peter Port is undoubtedly Castle Cornet. Lying around 600 metres east of the coast of St Peter Port, the castle has been guarding the town for nearly 800 years. It has a long history right from the time of its first fortification in 1200s to its occupation by the French in 1339. It has also been the home of the Governor of Guernsey for some time and during World War II was occupied by Germans. The castle includes four museums and also has a restaurant.



Guernsey Museum and Art Gallery home to a permanent collection as well as regular themed exhibitions is situated in Candie gardens. Worth a visit if you are keen to learn more about the island.



The Guernsey Tapestry Museum, open throughout the year is the place to head to, if you wish to learn about the history of the island. There are 10 embroidered panels in the museum which illustrate the 1000 years of history of the island.


The La Vallette Underground Military Museum inside a German underground oil tanks storage complex is a must see if you are interested in WW2 history. Though poorly lit in some sections, it has an impressive collection of artefacts ranging from medals, silverware, uniforms and weapons.



Clarence Battery - Just a short climb from the Underground Military Museum is Clarence Battery, the remains of Fort George. This was the island's main fort at the time of the French Revolution and you can see some of the remains still intact. It is also a good view point, providing panoramic views of the harbour and the coastline.


Other attractions in St Peter Port include:
- Guernsey Aquarium
- Hauteville House: Victor Hugo's residence of exile, which has now been converted to a museum.
- There are many churches in the town of St Peter Port with the town church being an important one.




The town has a lively yet relaxed High Street. There are lot of places to shop around or to just indulge in some window shopping. The fact that you get tax free bargains is enough to tempt you to pick up some jewellery or electronic goods.





If you are looking for something more adventurous, then take a rib(rigid inflatable boat) trip or go diving. You could also plan a day trip either to Herm or Sark. Whatever you end up doing, you are sure to have a wonderful time in St Peter Port.



For more information, you could contact the Tourist Information Centre in St Peter Port, which is located very near the sea front. The team there will be happy to help you out.
Guernsey Information Centre
North Plantation
St Peter Port
Guernsey -  GY1 2LQ
Tel: +44 (0)1481 723552
   

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